Douglas Hall is likely the most influential North American theological interpreter from a Reformation perspective, especially with reference to Luther. He continues to filter his thought through his teachers Tillich and Niebuhr—but he is his own man and carries his inquiry toward the demise of Christendom.
President Obama’s speech in Newtown on December 17 included this pivotal question: “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” The president is bristling here at the way our political discourse reflexively leaps to claims about individual rights and freedoms.
According to Albert Schweitzer, the quest for the historical Jesus ends with the questers looking down a well and seeing their own reflections. Could the same be said of a search for the historical Satan? With few exceptions, we have tended to see Satan in the face of the other.
Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, who wrote psycho-historical accounts of both Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi, became interested late in life in how Jesus changed the trajectory of history. Following the lead of New Testament scholar Norman Perrin, Erickson published an essay, “The Galilean Sayings,” which examined the sayings of Jesus. He reached two conclusions from his study: that humanity is one universal species, and that by responding to the teachings of Jesus one could discover an inner, numinous core that connects one to something larger than the self. Of Jewish background, Erikson occasionally attended church with his Episcopalian spouse but never claimed to be a believer (Theology Today, April).