Two Births and an Annunciation

I’m afraid I’m not in a position to crank this blog back into life in any sustained way just yet (though I will probably be posting a few odds and ends), but I will break the silence to make a trio of announcements (a couple days late for the Feast of the Annunciation, but oh well…).  If you know me on Facebook, you’ll already know all about the first two, so you can skip down to #3, which is all-new and hot off the press, so to speak.

Birth #1

First, I am proud to announce the birth of my son Oliver Aaron, born Sunday, March 23rd at 11:00 PM, and weighing in at 7 lbs., 9 oz., exactly the same as my first son, Soren.  He’s a handsome enough fellow, but he scowls a lot, with the air of someone indignant at being hauled out of his warm comfortable cave into the cold, hard world.  I am prognosticating that he will be the first of our children to display reclusive or anti-social tendencies.

Oliver protesting (silently, but unmistakably) his first insertion into a carseat—at the ripe age of 10 hrs. old. Oliver protesting (silently, but unmistakably) his first insertion into a carseat—at the ripe age of 10 hrs. old.

Several folks have asked me whether he is named after Oliver O’Donovan, one even asked whether it was after Oliver Cromwell.  To the latter, I must say unambiguously “NO”—I don’t want my son growing up to decapitate kinds and archbishops, even if they be as detestable as Charles I and Laud sometimes were.  To the former, I would answer, “Well, yeah, mostly—not as directly as Soren is named after the Soren, but still, more or less,” though my wife would answer that it was mostly just cuz we liked the name.  Also we really like olives, especially kalamata (though I have it on good authority that the putative etymological connection of “Oliver” to “olive” is probably not valid).  “Aaron” is my Jewish grandfather’s middle name, and together the two names will remind our son of his dual heritage—British and Jewish.

Praise be to God for his glorious gift of new life!

Birth #2

The second birth, as you may imagine, is metaphorical—no, we did not have twins, thank goodness!  Also, it actually came before “Birth #1” but it seemed inappropriate to put it above the birth of an actual child.  In any case, many of you may have already heard of it at various places in the interwebs—I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to announce it here.  But in case anyone hasn’t, here it is:

I am proud to announce the birth of my brainchild, The Davenant Trust, which officially launched last month.  The Davenant Trust is named after the great English irenic bishop John Davenant, who encapsulates my vision of trying to recover the sense of a shared “English Reformed” heritage that lies behind the long-sundered traditions of “Anglicanism” and “the Reformed.”  The Davenant Trust is, among other things, an attempt to put this vision into practical effect by a dedicated agenda of resourcement—a return, like the Reformers themselves, ad fontes, recovering the roots of our tradition—and dissemination.  The latter is as crucial as the former; we are intent on sponsoring and facilitating serious and rigorous research, but we are equally determined that the fruits of this research should be shared among the churches and “the Republic of Letters” (to revive a long-lost, but, with the rise of the Internet, newly-relevant notion), rather than confined to formal academia.

I say “among other things” because the Trust is of course bigger than my personal vision, and the interesting folks that we are bringing on board (the Board of Advisors already consists of eminent Protestant scholars W.J. Torrance Kirby, Carl Trueman, Fred Sanders, Herman Selderhuis, and Oliver Crisp) will have their own priorities that will help steer the direction of the organization.  Our remit is wide:

“to revitalize contemporary Reformed and evangelical discourse by sponsoring scholarly endeavors at the intersection of the church and academy: the proliferation of the digital archive, the retrieval and translation of classic texts, the development and support of Christian study centers, and the sponsorship of individual scholars engaged in historical work for the sake of the contemporary church.”

Our website homepage.  Pretty spiffy, ain't it? Our website homepage.  Pretty spiffy, ain’t it?

To that end we have already committed to a number of exciting events and projects.  We will be sponsoring the annual gathering “the Convivium Calvinisticum” (headlined last year by Torrance Kirby of McGill, this year by James Bratt of Calvin College), as well as helping sponsor a very very exciting event next month at Biola University, “The Future of Protestantism“—a conversation between Fred Sanders, Carl Trueman, and Peter Leithart, and an academic conference this fall on John Jewel called “Defending the Faith.”  We are also undertaking larger-scale projects, such as a partnership with the Junius Institute to digitize the complete works of Girolamo Zanchi, and another, much bigger, soon-to-be-announced partnership.  Check out our website—graced with many beautiful pictures of Salisbury Cathedral—to learn more about us, and please consider supporting us, whether financially, in prayer, or through telling others about our important work.

Annunciation

I am also proud to announce the impending arrival into the world of my doctoral dissertation, entitled “The Freedom of a Christian Commonwealth: Richard Hooker and the Problem of Christian Liberty.”  That, at any rate, was the dissertation title, but something a bit snappier will no doubt be in order for the book title.  For book it will be.  Eerdmans has just informed me that they would be delighted to publish the book, John Witte, Jr. having accepted it for inclusion in the fantastic series he edits, Emory University Studies in Law and Religion.  This is really the perfect home for my book, given that several of my chief interlocutors in the dissertation are books in that series, from Joan O’Donovan’s Theology of Law and Authority in the English Reformation, the first book in the series, way back in 1990, to David VanDrunen’s Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms (2008).  I am also very excited about publishing with Eerdmans, given that their books are attractively priced for a wide audience, meaning that many of the people I’m writing for, such as pastors and students, will actually be able to buy and read the book, instead of it being confined to university libraries.

As of yet there is no timetable for when this will see the light of day; it is probably safe to say longer than nine months, but I am hopeful that it won’t be too long, as it does not sound like there will need to be any very extensive revisions prior to publication (though there are a number of sections I was hoping to expand upon if they are amenable).  Stay tuned for further news as this project moves forward.

Yup, that's the big fat dissertation in the foreground—don't worry, they make you print it single-sided and 1.5-spaced, and on really thick paper, so the book shouldn't be nearly as chunky as you're fearing. Yup, that’s the big fat dissertation in the foreground—don’t worry, they make you print it single-sided and 1.5-spaced, and on really thick paper, so the book shouldn’t be nearly as chunky as you’re fearing.

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