“That of which you are most certain, of that be most critical.” F.A.B.
Fascinated with critical thinking, historical interpretation, and research, Dr. Bartling created doctoral essays, lectures and writings underscoring themes taught in the classroom. Here you will be able to partake in his early writings as well as a personal insights on the nature of “Law and Gospel.”
Step inside the classroom of Prof. Bartling and listen to archived lectures from his most popular courses. The recordings were made on mini-cassettes in 1985.(Note: Click on the link and wait a minute or so for Quicktime to enable (We’re working on a faster method!) A seperate window with a player screen will appear. Prof. Bartling’s voice quality differs tape to tape due to technology at the time. However, his teaching style and material communicates clearly)
Weems: Life of George Washington – (doctoral exam essay)
Weem’s Life of George Washington is, perhaps, the most read book in American history. It had small beginnings as a tract shortly after Washington’s death in 1800 and an 80 page first edition. At the time of Weem’s death in 1825 the book had expanded into 200 pages. A century later the eightieth edition was published. Why was it written? Why was it so popular? In what way did it reflect the values of the period prior to the Civil War? Obviously booster literature yet a reflection of American values prior to the Civil War. The thesis of the essay is that the Life of George Washington as symbolic father of his country served as reflection of value prior to the Civil War.
Washington’s life exhibited the virtues of BENEVOLENCE, INDUSTRY, and PATRIOTISM. The belief and hope in America’s destiny was essential in the early years of national life. Washington as symbolic national father figure met ”the felt values of a Pre-Civil War America swept by romanticism, individualism, the rise of the common man, anti-individualism, and-intellectualism, and societal fragmentation.” Problem: how maintain the nation’s founders’ vision of national unity and freedom in an individualistic fragmented society?
Link to full essay: Weem’s LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
The Question of Slavery and Personal Freedom in Classical, Renaissance, and Enlightenment Thought – doctoral exam essay A.N. Whitehead distinguishes between modern and classical civilization upon the basis of slavery and human freedom. The great idea of Greek belief is the greatness of the human soul. Slow growth and with various mutations over time this idea evolved in the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason with the Rights of Man. Whitehead passes over the Renaissance without mention. The question, then, is raised did the Renaissance with its dependence upon classical culture further the western struggle for freedom? The essay argues the Renaissance and its humanistic study of classical antiquity brought to light the classical “concept of human freedom”. Without this discovery, the essay argues, “the Enlightenment would seem impossible.”
Link to full essay: Renaissance and Freedom
The Freedmen’s Bureau and the Problem of Reconstruction History-Doctoral Paper Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War was an interest of mine since high school days, It is no surprise my doctoral research project years later would focus on Reconstruction and the Freedmen’s Bureau. The coda of this historiographic study of the Bureau observes: “The historian in his time was convinced of his own objectivity. The historiographer, however, argues confirmation of interpretation was often envisioned by contemporary event or value . . . . .This raises the question: Is integrity of scholarship based upon evidence or ideological conviction?”
Link to full paper: Freedmen’s Bureau – Doctoral Paper
Luther and the Turk (M.A. Thesis, Washington State University, 1961) Serving as campus chaplain at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. 1952-1958, I completed an MA program concentrating in Renaissance-Reformation history and the History of Philosophy. The advance of the Moslem Turk in southeastern Europe during the first half of the sixteenth century prompted Luther to write voluminously regarding the Turkish peril. Luther’s theological polemic in his Turkish writings clearly reflected the pattern and heritage of the Middle ages. In several respects, however, Luther broke with that heritage. Luther “more clearly separated the functions of the spiritual and secular estates”. A Turkish crusade under the auspices of the church is a misuse of secular power by ecclesiastical authorities.
Link to full thesis:Luther and the Turk
Philosophic and Scientific Methodologies The Faculty/Staff Bulletin, March 1982, had an essay titled: Philosophic and Scientific Methodologies. This essay was abstracted from my more general response to a paper presented to the faculty by Dr. Schnabel, president of Concordia University Bronxville, New York. Schnabel’s paper was titled: Philosophy, Christian Faith, and Lutheran Theology. One response, among others, posed for me the role of philosophy and science in their particular methods as well as in their interrelationship. What does that have to do with critical thinking generally and historical interpretation specifically? Often stressed with my students particularly in seminar settings was the idea, namely: “That of which you are most certain, of that be most critical”.
Link to full essay: Philosphic & Scientific Methodologies
Law and Gospel Rather recently an email was sent to a clergy friend assigned to preach on the following Christ the King Sunday. Asking for my view on the Gospel text for that Sunday he asked: “how does one exhort without falling back into the law?” Suggesting the theme: Saved To Serve my response underscored that we are saved by grace “without the deeds of the law. ” The Pauline concept of grace as also championed by Augustine and Luther lie at the heart of my theological stance. The Christian life is a grateful response to unmerited grace.
Link to full e-mail:Law and Gospel
The Vietnam Wars and the American Involvement – Syllabus American involvement in Vietnam was still uppermost in American consciousness and debate in the decade of the eighties. Consequently I felt the need to develop and offer a course on that subject. The course was prepared while on sabbatical in 1986 at the University of Wisconsin Madison.