I am sitting here doing some reading, and a student pointed me to the following insight in Augustine's The City of God, on the ordered peace of the city of God. Very thoughtful from Augustine, the Doctor of Grace:
So the peace of the body is an ordered harmony of its parts. The peace of the irrational soul is an ordered satisfaction of its desires; the peace of the rational soul is an ordered agreement of thought and action. The peace of body and soul is the ordered life and health of the living being. The peace of mortal man and God is an ordered obedience in faith under the eternal law. The peace of men is ordered harmony; the peace of an ordered household is the ordered harmony of those who dwell together, in commanding and obeying; the peace of the commonwealth is a similar harmony of its citizens. The peace of the heavenly city is a most ordered and most harmonious fellowship in enjoying God and one another in God. The peace of all things is the tranquility of order.
Augustine is always worth re-reading!
I am still enjoying (immensely!) a time of study at Tyndale House Cambridge. The last few days I have been translating Latin texts for a volume in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. I have discovered a Reformation-era biblical commentator named Benedict Aretius (1505-1574). He was a Reformed man who appears to have served mainly in Bern, Switzerland. In his commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4:4. Here is verses 3 and 4: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor . . . "
In commenting on verse 4 Aretius writes: "For indeed the vessel [i.e., the body] is polluted with an appetite of illegitimate thought, as the Lord Christ says."
Now, I suppose that one could take Aretius to be using "vessel" more in terms of the person as a whole. But that would not necessarily countermand what struck me. When one has an "appetite of illegitimate thought" one does indeed pollute the "vessel"--whether the vessel is construed as simply the body, or is denoting the person as a whole. Either way, one's thought life effects every aspect of one's being--the body included. When one dwells on sinful thoughts, and does not control one's thought life, one is harming or polluting the "vessel."
Interestingly, the English Standard version and NIV translate the Greek word here as "body," while other translations (NAS and King James) translate the Greek word as "vessel."
But here is what struck me: If we are simply working with biblical categories here, there is no obvious "problem" or crisis with how mind and body relate. If one's thoughts are polluted, they pollute all of who we are. I think it is imperative for Christians to allow such biblical categories and presuppositions and frameworks to have their way with how we think. And especially for students in academic settings. There is no reason to allow non-biblical and non-Christian categories set the rules for how intellectual inquiry is conducted. This may mean being lonely, and being set aside by contemporary fashions, but so be it. I will take Paul over Descartes any day.
Still thoroughly enjoying research leave time at Tyndale House, Cambridge, England.
Doing some translating work today. The following is from a Reformation-era pastor/scholar, one Erasmus Sarcerius. In his commentary on 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, where Reformers spend a lot of time, Sarcerius writes of the evil one:
"The devil is effective in his unbelief."
He is indeed.
As I sit on work on a project related to the Reformation, I stumbled upon this by Martin Bucer (1491-1551), the Protestant Reformer who would spend time in Strasbourg, Cambridge, and elsewhere. I liked what he had to say about a good liberal arts education, and how it helps someone going into ministry. He writes:
As a sound liberal education in the arts makes a great contribution to understanding, teaching and defending the Scriptures, the Fathers made this too a requirement in ministers and included it in the examination.
I found this in David F. Wright's edited volume, Common Places of Martin Buber, published in 1972. It originally appeared in Bucer's The Restoration of Lawful Ordination for Ministers of the Church.