24 July 2010

As much as I try...

As much as I try to keep blogging, other things seem to keep getting in the way.

This past week brought cavalcade of distractions:

An auto accident that crumpled the front end of our Pontiac Vibe to the tune of $5600 in damages when I rear-ended a Ford F150 that was sporting a nice big heavy-duty trailer hitch.

A day at the body shop having the car looked at and talking to our insurance company, while trying to obtain a rental car for something close to our $25 per day coverage.

Nearly a whole day on the phone with HP tech support (the morning talking to India and the afternoon to Texas) before they finally agreed to let me send my randomly-shutting-down laptop in for repairs.

A half-day trying to figure out what's wrong with our oven, determining that the igniter is defunct, removing the tightly bolted-in igniter, and looking around online for a replacement part for something less than the nearly $70 that a local parts store wanted.

Transporting Claire to and from day camp interspersed at regular intervals, and doing that without a car until I got the rental.

There were some better moments, of course - attending a wonderful summer book club, a beer-tasting lunch with a former student, picnicking with church friends in Clark Park. And I did manage to submit a proposal for a conference this fall at Notre Dame, to work on a sewing project, to tend the garden, and to cook some good meals.

Today, I'm hoping to unwind a bit. Perhaps that will include some writing, maybe even blogging.

15 July 2010

PMR 2010

Each year Villanova University hosts a Patristics, Medieval, and Renaissance conference, where "Renaissance" also (happily) includes Reformation.

Over the past several years I've given presentations and chaired sessions. Most recently (two years ago, I believe), I presentied on the topic of prophecy and revelation in Augustine, Aquinas, and Bonaventure, leading to some reflections upon our doctrine of scripture and inspiration. The conference always features some good provocative presentations, as well as being a great time to catch up with friends and acquaintances, and to share some rounds of drinks (which is really what conferences are all about, eh?).

Each year the conference is centered on a particular theme, such as "The Angel and The Muse: Inspiration, Revelation, Prophecy" (which inspired my presentation on prophecy and revelation) or, last year, "Ora et Labora: Pray and Work". This year's theme is "Mother of Mercy: The Figure of Mary in Theology and Culture," which provides a bit of a challenge for a Protestant presenter. Nonetheless, I proposed exploring a Marian theme in the theology of early Protestantism.

In patristic and medieval understanding, when Mary was referred to as the "the Virgin," the notion of her virginity was quite a robust one. It included not only the virginal conception of Jesus in her womb and of her substance by the power of the Holy Spirit, apart from a human father (a position that Protestants have, by and large, retained). Nor did it only include her virginity ante partum, which is to say that her husband Joseph refrained from marital relations with Mary prior to Jesus' birth (a position, again, that Protestants retained).

Rather, the patristic and medieval understanding of Mary's virginity maintained that she was perpetually a virgin, that is to say, Joseph continued to refrain from marital relations with Mary even after Jesus' birth (so that Jesus' "brothers" must be understood as close relatives, either cousins or children of Joseph from a previous marriage). This is her virginity post partum.

Moreover, so far as evidence indicates, Mary was held, nearly universally in the patristic and medieval church, to have remained a virgin even in partu, which is to say that Jesus was born of Mary in a manner than maintained her virginal integrity - without passing through the birth canal - a position that both upholds the divinely assumed character of Jesus' humanity and the liberation of Mary from the consequences of the Fall: pain in childbirth.

I say that all by way of background, since many Protestants seem unaware of the contours of what the creedal phrase "Virgin Mary" classically entailed. Obviously, Protestantism, by and large, has let go of this broader (and perhaps more odd) notion of Mary's virginity. The question is when, how, and why?

My proposed presentation (which was accepted by the conference) doesn't attempt to fully answer that question, which would require moving out of mostly 16th century theology into the the middle of the 17th century. Rather, I chose to focus more narrowly (and in keeping with the conference's "Renaissance" parameter) on the early strata of Protestant (and particularly Reformed) thinking on the topic.

In any event, here's what I proposed:

Mary’s Virginity & Protestant Christologies

In the centuries leading up to the Protestant Reformation, various beliefs concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary remained in flux: whether she was free from original sin from the moment of her conception, the nature of her bodily assumption, her role as heavenly intercessor. Other beliefs, however, had remained relatively fixed and universal – in particular, not only that Mary was a virgin in Jesus’ conception and ante partum, but also that she was a virgin post partum and even in partu. (Dissenters, of course, could be found, in both the patristic era and later: e.g., Tertullian, Helvidius, Ratramnus of Corbie.)

Among Protestant theologians of the Reformation era, belief in Mary’s lifelong virginity (post partum, though not necessarily in partu) was, by and large sustained, even while her immaculate conception, intercession, and assumption were increasingly rejected. Moreover, Protestants sustained these beliefs about Mary’s virginity despite a general rejection of the cult of the saints and saintly intercession, and while they maintained a growing skepticism toward extra-biblical traditions, an increasing elevation of conjugal love, and a scathing critique of clerical and monastic celibacy.

What factors, then, sustained Protestant belief in Mary’s lifelong virginity? And what circumstances account for differences among their theologians, particularly the more decisive rejection of virginitas in partu among the Reformed? In my presentation I will argue that these states of affairs are best accounted for by the fundamentally catholic shape of Protestant Christology, over against certain strands of Anabaptist Christology. Moreover, different emphases between Lutheran and Reformed views of Mary’s virginity reflect differences between Lutheran and Reformed Christologies.

13 July 2010


My summer course ended a couple of weeks ago. Shortly after I turned in grades, my mother-in-law came for a 10 day visit. We had a fun time going to fireworks, as well as visiting Franklin Square, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, various other sites, and several restaurants. Unfortunately, it was the hottest week in Philly in a quite a while, with several days over 100F. But we survived. She's now returned to Florida and my daughter Claire is in an arts day camp.

Claire had been signed up for a 6-week performing arts day camp, but it was canceled at the last minute, leaving us to scramble for some alternative forms of intellectual and creative stimulation. So we signed her up for a week at The Clay Studio on Old City, which we regularly visit on First Fridays among the other galleries and studios. We also signed her up for a week at the Abington Art Center, where I took art classes as a kid.

At any rate, perhaps now I will really get back to blogging!

18 May 2010

Back to blogging

That last post was something more, I hope, than an annual mini-celebration at the end of grading. The end of grading, however, was well worth celebrating this year, as I was teaching five sections this past semester that added up to more than 140 students. In the end, between final papers and some stray homework assignments, that came to around 1400 pages of reading and grading.

I'm already busy with a summer course in American Philosophy, the same course I had taught for the first time last summer. Last year, however, it was two marathon evening sessions per week. This year's class meets four days a week, during the late morning, for 100 minutes per day, which is far more civilized in my judgment.

Today we were looking at English Puritanism in general, and John Winthrop's A Model of Christian Charity in particular. This involved a general discussion of the goings-on in early 17th century Britain against the backdrop of early modern monarchy and politics, and of the Protestant Reformation. Winthrop's address to the colonists, read against the background, opens up a number of themes that will recur throughout the course - themes concerning American identity, religious faith, a national sense of mission and destiny, our much discussed "exceptionalism," economics, voluntarism, social perfectionism, and so forth.

The difficult trick, over the next six weeks, will be to try to take a variety of intellectually important, yet disparate texts, and weave the various threads into something resembling a coherent narrative of American thought and identity. So, we'll see how that goes.

One more note: I'm going to keep the comments off for the time being on the blog. It's not that I don't enjoy a good conversation, but I don't really have the time or inclination to engage in online dialogues at present. If I post something that provokes a substantive response on your part, by all means feel free to comment on your blog or write to me via email. Or better yet - for local folks, at least - contact me and we can arrange a conversation over some beers at one of Philly's many fine specialty pubs or craft breweries.

17 May 2010


What? Huh? Could this be a sign a life?

The blog stirs itself, stretches, and yawns.

18 May 2009

the sacramentality of food

I've blogged before about Michael Pollan's wonderfully written and fascinating book, The Omnivore's Dilemma (see here and here).

In the third part of the book, Pollan describes his quest to create a meal entirely from ingredients that he hunted, foraged, or grew: morel mushrooms he picked growing from the ashes of a forest fire, a wild boar he shot among oak trees, natural salt collected from the Bay, cherries picked from a neighbor's yard. After the effort, each ingredient and dish came with its own story, stories recollected as he sat at table together with his fellow foragers and hunters with whose help he had learned to procure the ingredients. He describes the meal:
The stories told by this little band of foragers ventured a long way from the table, the words (the tastes, too) recalling us to an oak forest in Sonoma, to a pine burn in the Sierra Nevada, to the stinky salt flats of San Francisco Bay, to slippery boulders along the Pacific coast, and to a backyard in Berkeley. The stories, like the food that fed them, cast lines of relation to all these places and the creatures living (and dying) in them, drawing them all together on this table, on these plates, in what to me began to feel a little like a ceremony. (407)
While this specific meal was uniquely "storied," with rich narrative texture and intimate knowledge of particulars, what was true of this meal is, in other and lesser ways, true of all meals. And it reveals to us the character of what we do and are as we live and feed upon the gift of God's good creation.

Our modern technology of food production may have mystified our relationship to the created world and pulled us away from the varied and complex histories that rest upon our dinner tables. But that does not make the "lines of relation" to various places and creatures any less real - though perhaps the ethical issues raised by modern food production grant bliss to our ignorance.

Though the ethics of our patterns of food production and consumption are worthy of serious reflection, I'm interested at present in the notion of food as story. The idea that what we eat connects us with other places and to larger stories about the world is central, I think, to understanding the spiritual character of eating in general and the nature of the eucharist as a sacrament in particular. Indeed, the eucharist reveals to us the ultimate meaning of eating, the way in which God's grace takes up and transforms creation.

When we, as the gathered body of Christ, share bread and wine set upon a table, we not only engage in a token, ritual meal that might nourish our bodies in some small way, but we are also caught up within a larger story that nourishes our sense of identity and community within the mission of God.

Pollan sees such dimensions even among friends gathered to consume his foraged meal. He continues:
And there's a sense in which the meal had become just that, a thanksgiving or secular seder, for every item on our plates pointed somewhere else, almost sacramentally, telling a little story about nature or community or even the sacred, for mystery was very often the theme. Such storied food can feed us both body and soul, the threads of narrative knitting us together as a group, and knitting the group into the larger fabric of the given world. (407-408)
What Pollan says of the meal he shared can be said also of the eucharist.

We can be begin by noting that the meaning of "eucharist" is thanksgiving. We rightly speak words of thanks to God over all our meals in virtue of the sheer giftedness of the world to us and the remarkable way in which God has enmeshed us as human animals within the reciprocal giving over of life, one to another, that feeds and sustains us as living organisms. In giving thanks to God, we acknowledge the sacred order he has established and so, as it were, give thanks to his creatures of vegetable, mineral, and meat that we receive unto ourselves and assimilate into our own ongoing life.

But such thanksgiving is not only a matter of words, but also enjoyment and celebration. When we tuck into a meal - savoring its tastes, breathing in its aromas, discerning its flavors, noting the blends of texture and seasoning - it nourishes our senses as much as the food nourishes our bodies. This too is a form of tangible thanksgiving, as our senses revel in the experience of food, giving themselves over to the meal.

And our thanks-filled delight is only deepened and enriched when we know something about where the food came from, its particular provenance and story, the efforts expended to procure it, and the care and attention that went into its preparation.

In the case of the eucharist, the experience of bread and wine betokens the range of complexity in human food-making. Bread reminds us of our most basic needs, the simplicity of grain, harvested from the field, refined by human labor, and worked and baked into a simple, yet nourishing and sustaining meal. That's part of the story of bread.

Wine, by contrast, comes at the end of a process: the planting of vines, their growth and development, the complexity of the grape corresponding to the age of its vine, the gathering of the clusters, and finally that grand process of crushing, fermenting, casking, aging, and blending what will become a delight to the palate and a source of relaxation to the body. And that's part of the story of wine.

In both cases, production presupposes the attainment of a certain level of social settlement and technology, of at least a period of peace and security. And yet wine goes further than bread. Where bread is a gift of nature and culture that can sustain life and labor, wine requires sustained peace that lends itself to leisure and celebration. Together bread and wine tell a story, indeed an eschatology, of movement towards wholeness and festivity.

As tokens of the created order and a present manifestation of God's reign, the eucharist points back to the establishment of the world, seen through the lens of Jesus' action at his final meal with his disciples. From there it moves us into his death and resurrection, all the while pointing forward to the fullness of God's reign, the renewal of world and of human life.

Thus, following Pollan, the church enacts a narrative in the eucharist that knits us together as a new humanity, and knits us into the larger fabric of the world made new.

14 May 2009

american philosophy

Beginning at the end of June, during Summer Session II, I'll be teaching "American Philosophy."

This is the first time I'll be teaching this course. Some of our philosophy majors take the class, though I get the sense most of the students who take it are enrolled in the American Studies major (or minor) where it fulfills one of the requirements.

The text I'll be using is the two volume The American Intellectual Tradition, edited by David A. Hollinger and Charles Capper (Fifth Edition, Oxford 2005). It contains a variety of texts from the early Puritans and Enlightenment-steeped founders up through the American pragmatists and various 20th century thinkers.

Here's what I'd like some help with. You can find the tables of contents from both Volume I and Volume II at the OUP website.

I want to focus upon, on one hand, texts that are historically central and formative in the American tradition and, on the other hand, texts that could rightly be countenanced as philosophical in character, at least to some degree. I also want to be able to weave the texts together into some larger story about America.

So which texts from among these would you choose and why? What are the contours of the larger story they fit into?

And it's not as if I haven't given this any thought yet. And I do have a variety of secondary sources at my disposal, from Sacvan Bercovitch to Bruce Kuklick. But I'm interested in some other viewpoints and voices.

another school year...

Another school year has passed.

My university responsibilities were a large part of why I haven't blogged since September, though family and church have also occupied my time. On the whole, it was a good year, but tremendously busy.

In terms of university, I always enjoy teaching my classes, getting to know students, and trying to draw them into the kinds of issues that philosophers think and write about. I think I was mostly successful on that front, judging from the kinds of essays students wrote for me, from the very positive evaluations I received from students, and from the several new philosophy major or minor students emerging from my classes.

All told, I taught 32 credit hours worth of courses in the past year, most of which were fairly writing-intensive, which made grading a rather time-consuming process, especially since we don't have teaching assistants for "busy work" (such as quiz grading). Courses I taught included "Human Person" (philosophical anthropology, which serves as a foundational course), "Moral Choice" (introductory ethics, also a foundations course), "Problems of Knowledge" (an upper level epistemology course), and "Business Ethics" (an upper level ethics course). I also taught a couple sections of "First Year Odyssey," an orientation course that all freshmen are required to take.

Like many places, my university has been hit hard by the financial crisis, though we seem to be weathering it better than several comparable and sister institutions. While we've experienced pay and hiring freezes, suspension of retirement contributions, and various sorts of in-house austerity measures, we haven't faced the layoffs, pay cuts, and service cutbacks that some universities have. And the projected number of incoming students enrolled for autumn seems to be exceeding expectations.

Nonetheless, the university introduced a number of classroom changes for next year that will profoundly affect how I teach and assess students.

For one thing, I've taught the past six years in what is called the "Doubles" program, where my introductory philosophy classes in the Core Curriculum have been paired with courses in another department, sharing the same students, and trying to foster learning communities and interdisciplinary thinking. Because of the extra work involved in such courses and the amount and intensiveness of writing expected in them, the cap on section enrollment was kept relatively low.

The Doubles have been indefinitely suspended now, so not only will the courses have to be redesigned - given that they are no longer linked to another discipline - but the number of students enrolled will also grow by about 50 percent. This will, of course, reduce the overall number of course sections offered and allow the university to eliminate sections of introductory courses that have been taught by adjunct faculty in the past. On the plus side, this is not only a considerable cost savings, but it also puts more freshmen in contact with full-time faculty. On the down side, it also increases the workload for faculty.

Accordingly, my task over the summer will be to reconceive and reorient how I teach these introductory courses. I'll post something more detailed on that later, since I will probably want whatever input people may have to offer. In addition, since my job description was originally tied to teaching the now-suspended Doubles in the Core, my duties will now broaden, enabling me to teach a wider range of upper level courses. This is quite a boon in terms of giving me more teaching variety, but also will require more new class preparation on my part.

Beyond teaching, I've kept busy with a variety of activities related to my field or with the life of the university.

Last summer I attended Princeton Seminary's Barth conference, which is always fun and a good chance to reconnect with various friends and acquaintances. In July I spoke in Colorado Springs on postmodern thought at a leadership event for The Navigators. In the autumn I commented on a paper by Phil Carey as part of an Augustine Blog Conference.

I also attended, gave a presentation at, and chaired a session during Villanova's Patristics, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference. The presentation concerned the ways in which Aquinas and Bonaventure took up Augustine's discussion of the phenomenon of prophecy. In the late autumn there was also a political conversation at our church, attempting to demonstrate how Christians can dialogue about politics charitably and constructively, have many common values and ideals, and yet come to differing conclusions on matters of policy and candidates.

In terms of writing projects, I have a publication forthcoming (next year some time, I think) in a new collection of essays on Harry Potter and philosophy in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series.

And last week I went to part of the Rutgers Epistemology Conference, which is really the top of the field in terms of epistemology discussions in the analytic tradition. I brought a student along with me who is a philosophy major and thinking about graduate school. He seemed to enjoy the proceedings.

Among other university activities, I helped last August with a week-long college preparation program for select incoming students. There was also a faculty-run segment of Opening Weekend where I, along with several colleagues, had the opportunity to address the incoming class of freshmen about classroom and academic expectations. And then there's all the various committee work: the Core Advisory Board, a subgroup on liberal arts students who don't come in with a declared major, and a search committee for a program director. Time and budget constraints at times made for rather hectic and lively committee work.

Finally, in a wonderful news item, our department recently completed a year-long search for a full-time replacement for a faculty member who had passed away a couple years ago. Since the search was already underway and involved an already existing budget line, the open position didn't fall under the university-wide hiring freeze. The new hire, John Hymers, specializes in modern European philosophy and had previously worked at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

The school year this year also coincided with my daughter beginning full-time Kindergarten at the Miquon School and Laurel, my wife, returning to work (three-quarters time) as the managing editor for the Journal of Modern Literature. The new patterns took quite a bit of adjustment for all of us, but have worked out well.

Church, likewise, continues as an important part of our lives, with our three year old parish continuing to grow and mature as a congregation situated between West Philadelphia and several universities and trying to engage with all the sorts of issues, problems, opportunities, and challenges that such a setting presents. I've especially enjoyed helping with the liturgical life of the community, as well as university-facing aspects.

So, all in all, it's been a good, busy year. I'm glad it's over and look forward to a different pace of life over the summer.

12 May 2009


This appears to be me, blogging. Surprise, surprise. More to follow.

14 September 2008

CGO forum on denominational renewal

Back in February a group of PCA pastors organized a Conversation on Denominational Renewal. As an outgrowth of that conversation, Common Grounds Online is hosting a forum to discuss the talks that were presented there.

Each of the next five weeks will discuss one of five talks, providing four perspective on the talks: sympathetic interaction, critical response, a minority or female perspective, and a viewpoint from outside the PCA. On Fridays, the speaker from the original talk will respond to the respondents.

This should be an interesting and, I hope, helpful and constructive conversation worth watching. Check the Common Grounds Online website for a full schedule.

26 August 2008

better late than never

In the "better late than never" category, over at Cynthia Nielsen's blog Per Caritatem, she's just recently finished up hosting a terrific Augustine Blog Conference.

The conference featured eight excellent essays, followed by commentary and stimulating conversation. Topics included the relationship of Augustine's thought to a variety of figures: Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, Martin Luther, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Barth, Alvin Plantinga, Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Jean-Luc Marion.

It's all worth a read, so take a look.

25 August 2008


Well, classes started back up again today.

Summer was pretty crazy with teaching two overlapping summer courses, writing an article (which isn't quite finished yet), speaking at a conference, reviewing a book, submitting a conference proposal, attending a couple of conferences, along with the various family stuff and church stuff, Laurel starting a new job, and getting ready for the school year.

At any rate, I'm curious what some of your favorite song covers are.

For instance, Cake's version of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails's "Hurt" are both pretty choice, in my opinion. On the other hand, Paul Anka's cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is vaguely disturbing, though also kind of funny.

So, what are some of you faves?

01 July 2008

back in philly

After I had attended the Barth conference last week, we promptly left Philly to head to north central Pennsylvania to celebrate Laurel's mother's 80th birthday in Williamsport, where she and my father-in-law (now deceased) had lived for many years. The Williamsport locale enabled various friends of hers from church and elsewhere to attend the party, which was held in the parish hall of a Lutheran church.

While my mother-in-law's actual birthday was a while ago, we hadn't yet had a chance to celebrate it properly as a gathered extended family. Laurel's siblings and their spouses were all in attendance, along with six out of ten nieces and nephews, along with some cousins. Many of us hadn't seen one another in quite some time, up to four years, so it was a good time to catch up with one another.

We went up a day early to visit Knoebels amusement park, the largest in America with free admission, nestled among the gentle mountains of Pennsylvania and featuring a couple of terrific, huge wooden roller coasters. We met up with Laurel's eldest brother and his family - Tom will be 60 this year and his older daughter is 30, making our niece closer to us in age than most of Laurel's siblings. Claire fell in love with her two cousins and enjoyed many, many rides at the park, a number of them receiving repeated enjoyment.

On the way back from Williamsport we took the scenic route, stopping in Lairdsville where Laurel had spent part of her early childhood living on a farm and attending the tiny local elementary school, to which she walked, passing the general store that doubled as the post office in the days before rural delivery. Claire was fascinated to see the small town where her Mommy had lived so many years ago.

From Lairdsville we headed home via Ricketts Glen State Park, with its series of beautiful waterfalls. Unfortunately, while stepping across some rocks to get a better view, I hit a slippery spot and took a tumble, pulling a muscle on my right side, which is still painful when I turn or bend. Fortunately, I didn't slam into the sharp pointy rock towards which I had fallen, but was able to reach out and break my fall. Unfortunately, the hand I reached out with was holding our digital camera full of pics from the party and trip. It didn't seem to take very kindly to being plunged in the stream and smashed against a rock with my full weight behind it. Fortunately, the pics are stored on a removable memory stick, so I should be able to retrieve them.

At any rate, we're back home now, trying to get back in the swing of things...and just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend, which is always a big deal here in Philly.

27 June 2008

veritas & interventions

The Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham in the UK is introducing two new book series.

Together with SCM Press, the Centre is introducing the Veritas series, which is designed to offer "incisive and original current scholarly work that inhabits 'the between' and 'the beyond' of theology and philosophy," both through monographs and through collections of essays from the Centre's annual conference.

Among the collections, two books are currently available: Transcendence and Phenomenology and Belief and Metaphysics, both volumes edited by Peter M. Candler Jr. and Conor Cunningham.

Among the monographs, two books are available: Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma by Marcus Pound and Tayloring Reformed Epistemology by Deane-Peter Baker.

Together with Eerdmans, the Centre is introducing the Interventions series, which will consist of two sorts of books: "(very) critical introdcutions" to thinkers such as Badiou, Heidegger, Žižek, Hauerwas, and Caputo, and a topical volumes on concepts such as naturalism, evolution, being, justice, poverty, and power. These books will "seek and perform tactical interventions" in matters of current discussion and debate, doing so in a way that "problematizes the accepted terms of such debates" and seeks to mediate between disciplines without surrendering theology's own indispensible contributions.

Among volumes currently available or immediately forthcoming are: Naturalism by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro (published May 2008), Heidegger: A (Very) Critical Introduction by Sean J. McGrath (forthcoming September 2008), and Žižek: A (Very) Critical Introduction by Marcus Pound (forthcoming October 2008).

westminster seminary update

Several reports online note that members of Westminster Theological Seminary's Board of Trustees have resigned in the wake of recent turmoil.

A comparison of the names attached to the 26 March 2008 "Statement" by the minority of the Board with the current list of Board members indicates that 8 out of 9 of the Board members who endorsed the minority statement have resigned, including the Vice Chairman (Peter Jansson) and Treasurer (Keith Mitchell) of the Board.

This development would seem to further consolidate the general direction of the Seminary under its current leadership.

For students worried about attending a seminary that is unsettled and in a seeming process of transition - or who are concerned that the direction of Westminster represents an unhealthy narrowing of vision - there are still some Reformed educational alternatives that maintain both a confessional commitment together with an engagement of tradition that remains creative, broad, and flexible. In particular, Erskine Seminary (Due West, South Carolina) and Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando, Florida) come to mind.