Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

ANE Middle Eastern Religions: Outline

Several authors. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed. “Ancient Middle Eastern Religions.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.  Pages 60-95.

The effort is underway to develop and appreciate the ANE context per se and with Genesis (amongst others) in view. A bibliographical effort is also underway.  This much, man is incurably and inescapably "homo religiosus."  Deo volente, more to follow in days ahead. Man knows he's broken "by nature," seeks appeasements by his own native hardwiring (variously) and creates efforts in pursuit of a given deity's/deities' favors. We might also add that there are African, Indian and other religious faiths. But, herein, we review Egyptian, Arabian, Syrian and Palestinian, Mesopotamian, Iranian, and Asian Minor orientations (Hittites, Hattians, and Hurrians).

Why this in an Anglican Prayerbook forum? Isn't it off topic? Not really. (1) We are not anti-intellectuals, especially for those of us from "High Church" traditions (e.g. doctrinally and confessionally "High Reformed" traditions). (2) Biblical exegesis is done with "grammatico-historical" contexts in mind. (3) ANE studies immediately begins to provide cures to any generational hubris, e.g. "romanticization" in the 19th century of a Goth medieval period by the Tractarians, or, by others chatting about Christ's Church as if it began with the Celts rather than its ancient origins in Paradise, Paradise Fallen and the ANE context. We could go on. (4) Furthermore, the covenant children, grandchildren and rank-and-file Churchmen need their clerics to "feed them the best findings" and the best exegesis possible.  Pastoral care in all this?  Why, of course. Treat the pew with profound love and respect…and teach, teach, and teach. If they want fluff, the nation is full of places for that.  In time, however, thougthful Churchmen will learn. Nuff said.

The Cultural Context

·        General Considerations

·        Middle Eastern Worldviews and Basic Religious Thought

1.      The concept of the sacred

2.      View of man and society

3.      Views of basic values and ends of human life

4.      Myth as the basic mode of religious thought

5.      The role of magic

·        A Survey of Ancient Middle Eastern Religions

1.      Egyptian Religion

a.      Nature and Significance

b.     Sources of Modern Knowledge

c.      Religious Beliefs

d.     Forms of Egyptian Religion

e.      Religious Symbolism and Iconography

f.       Historical Development

2.      Arabian Religions

a.      Nature and Significance

b.     Sources of Modern Knowledge

c.      The Historical Setting

d.     Pre-Islamic Deities

e.      Religious Objects, Practices and Institutions

f.       Monotheism in Arabia

3.      Syrian and Palestinian Religions

a.      Nature and Significance

b.     Sources of Modern Knowledge

c.      Historical and Social Background

d.     Mythology and Religious Phenomena

e.      Practices and Institutions

f.       Religious Art and Iconography

4.      Mesopotamian Religions

a.      Historical Development

b.     The Literary Legacy: Myth and Epic

c.      Mesopotomian  Worldview as Expressed in Myth

d.     Institutions and Practices

e.      Religious Art and Iconography

f.       Conclusions

5.      Iranian Religions

a.      Nature and Significance

b.     Historical Developments

c.      Mythology

d.     Worship, Practice and Institutions

e.      Conclusion

6.      Religions of Asia Minor

a.      Sources of Modern Knowledge

b.     Prehistoric Methods

c.      Religion of the Hittites, Hattians, and Hurrians

d.     Religions of Successor States

e.      Conclusion

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