Today marks the first day of the lecture series in which I’m giving a presentation tomorrow afternoon. I’ve been pretty reticent online, because I’m busy and edgy; my co-lecturers know their stuff really well, and I want to maintain the high standard that they’ll surely be setting.
Or, as the case turns out to be, that they’ve already begun to set, since Steve Fowl gave his talk this evening. He provided a knock-your-socks-off exposition of the way Aquinas works with the literal sense so that it entails multiple divergent meanings — an argument that sets me up beautifully for my talk tomorrow. Of course, it also raises the expectations for me, but I’ll endeavor to live with that.
It turns out that another co-lecturer, Francis Watson, revealed to us at dinner that he had never heard of “blogging” before today, so he and Kevin Vanhoozer (fourth lecturer) probed me to find out more about what I actually blog about. I didn’t say “I blog about dinner companions who ask me what I blog about” lest life get too recursive, but I tried to explain what goes into the several minutes a day I spend typing into MarsEdit. Then too, he didn’t know what “tofu” was, so Steve and I had to try to explain that he had just eaten some of it for dinner. “No, honest, Francis, it was that white stuff.” Whatever else comes of this lecture series, we’ve expanded the cultural horizons of a theologian from Aberdeen.
Last word: Steve teaches at Loyola College in Maryland, where (of course) the theology department bears a vivid interest in who the new pope turned out to be. I get the sense from him that they receive the news of Benedict’s elevation with a degree of satisfaction. Though he be “more conservative” than they, he’s a theological intellectual, and after all doesn’t have that much further right to steer the magisterium.