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LTJ - great holiday reading!
17 December 2012

Did you know that the British Parliament did everything in its power in the mid 19th century to ensure that the Aboriginal population of South Australia would be treated with dignity and respect by the new settlers, and to ensure that they would be fully compensated for any land that was acquired? Then what happened? Did you know that 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the commencement of Vatican II, the council that threw open the doors of the Catholic Church and led it out into the modern world? These topics are dealt with in two of the six essays that comprise the December edition of Lutheran Theological Journal. For some challenging holiday reading, don’t forget to pack the latest copy of the ALC faculty journal of light and leading.

The legal document that established the province of South Australia is known as The Letters Patent. It was issued by King William IV in February 1836. Its final paragraph contains a clear call for the protection of Aboriginals and the preservation of their rights. Astounded by stories of brutality against the native population of Australia in the early years of settlement, the British Parliament was eager to ensure that the new colony would treat the indigenous population with respect and honour, enter into treaties with them, and ensure mutually agreed compensation for land acquisition. Basil Schild highlights questions about the extent to which the requirements of the British Colonial Office were carried out by government authorities and early settlers of South Australia—of whom many were Lutheran. In view of the LCA’s long and lasting concern for our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, Schild suggests that the commemoration of the church’s 175th anniversary next year provides a golden opportunity for the church to think about and act upon the concerns of The Letters Patent.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the commencement of the Second Vatican Council, the council at which the Roman Catholic Church opened its windows to the wider world. Russell Briese offers a sympathetic non-Catholic’s evaluation of the four chief documents emanating from Vatican II. Jeff Silcock writes about Luther’s hermeneutical method, using as his example Luther’s exegesis of the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28. His findings are amazing, especially in light of Luther’s harsh criticism of the allegorical methods used by early church and medieval theologians. Linards Jansons writes about the relationship between theology and liturgy (lex orandi) and theology (lex credendi), arguing that they are inseparable and must never be played off against one another. Andrew Pfeiffer adapts a paper first presented at a Queensland Lutheran pastors’ conference earlier this year, in which he identifies a spectrum of strategies congregations can employ to strengthen their service to the wider community. And in the final essay in the December issue, Stephen Haar takes note of a range of geographical references in 2 Peter, claiming that the author of 2 Peter employs standard classical rhetorical strategies to advance the letter’s argument. But the geographical and cultural landscape of the letter removes ambiguity concerning its rhetorical intentions.

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