The Tragedy of Asa

King Asa of Judah made a strong start, purging the land of idols, altars, and images, and winning a war against the ginormous Cushite army led by Zerach. It all unraveled in his final years. From his thirty-fifth year to the forty-first year, when his reign came to an end,  Asa was plagued by war and eventually suffering from a disease. Things start to go badly with another war. […]

Justified by the King

What appears to be Paul’s first recorded statement on justification comes in Acts 13, in a sermon at Pisidian Antioch. It’s can serve as a summary of Paul’s letter to the Romans, and throws some important light on the themes of that letter. Paul begins his sermon  with a quick survey of Israel’s history. Addressed to “men of Israel,” the sermon traces the history of Israel […]

Biblical Allusion and the Meaning of Othello, Part II

Iago as Tempter The answer to our first question — whether or not Othello is really great tragedy — has already pointed the way to the answer for the second question — Was Othello a noble Moor or a fool? The two questions, of course, are necessarily related. The fall of a fool would hardly make for tragedy, great or otherwise. At best, it might […]

Biblical Allusion and the Meaning of Othello

Understanding Shakespeare’s Biblical references is vital for the interpretation of many, if not all, of Shakespeare’s plays. For Othello, it is especially important, not only because the interpretation of the play is contested among various approaches — feminist, homosexual, post-colonial, Marxist, Freudian, new historical, and others — but also and more importantly because, as I believe I can demonstrate, Shakespeare called attention to his Biblical […]

Attaining Unity: A Reply to Mike Allen

Mike Allen of Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, scores some points in his review of The End of Protestantism. He lodges the fair complaint that my rhetoric sometimes outruns my evidence. He argues that more stress on the present reality of the church’s unity deepens the tragedy of division; divisions in the church “straightforwardly oppose reality.” Of course, I have parries to these criticisms. The complaint […]