Thursday, November 8, 2007

History and Repristination

I love history. I love being a historian and learning from the lives of those who have gone on before me. I love quotes, and one of the things I enjoy doing is dropping a Luther quote in the bulletin each week - his words on the Gospel text.

But I am not a repristinator. I do not think that my duty as a theologian is simply to repeat the old things. Granted - the old things need to be repeated - we still read the same Gospel, we still confess the same Creeds, we still subscribe to the same Confessions - but that isn't the end all. As theologians we are called to interact and engage with our day and age - the problems that we face.

Which is why I love history - because if you look long enough at history you know that indeed there is nothing new under the sun - that all those things you face today, people have faced already. And you can see how those in the past responded, and you can learn from it - and this can shape and hone how you teach and apply things to today.

We are supposed to bring out both the old and the new. I find that seeing how folks in the past handled my task gives me good ideas on how I ought to. But I don't want to live in the past - I don't Romanticize the past - but simply wish to learn from it. Maybe someday someone will learn from me sometime down the road.

1 comment:

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Repristination for the sake of repristination turns people into Bronze Agers -- they don't know why things were done but this was what was done, so let's do it. They then get blasted by the latest creative wave who ask why certain things can't be done and don't get a satisfactory answer.

We should always strive for the repristination of the truth and for those traditions which offer Gospel truth rather than law-based ritual.