Friday, April 29, 2011

Pauli Murray Discussion Sermons

St Philips Durham, NC has had a recent discussion series based on the sermons of the Rev. Dr. Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray. The link contains four files of her sermons. Each is well worth a thoughtful read. Pauli Murray was the first ordained black/white woman Episcopal Priest, and granddaughter of slave owners and slaves. Lawyer, activist, a founding member of NOW, she taught in Ghana, at Brandeis and elsewhere. She attended General Seminary from 1972/3 until 1976 and was ordained in 1977. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Talk: Moving Through Fear--tonight at General Seminary!

Jeff will be at GTS on Thursday April 28th giving a talk and book-signing in Seabury Auditorium at 6.30pm. Seminary Entrance: 440 West 21st Street, New York NY 10011. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seeing the God in Late Antique Mediterranean and Roman Culture--Thursday May 12th


Co-sponsored by UTS History Department and Fordham Department of Theology
CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: SEEING THE GOD.
Union Theol. Seminary Room 207
THURSDAY MAY 12. 2011
10.00  Coffee and Cookies.
10.20  Welcome. Symposiarchs Profs. McGuckin & Pettis
10.30  Introduction Panel 1.  Chair  Prof. Jeff Pettis
10.40 —11.00 Seeing the god in Greco-Roman cult. J Pettis
11.00— 11.20 Seeing among the Philosophers. S. Trostyanskiy
11.20 —11.40 Seeing the divine in antique Judaism. J Calaway
11.40— 12.00 Seeing divine things in proto-Christian Literature.
   J Pettis & J McGuckin.
12.00— 12.10 Seeing our way to a break
12.10  Introduction Panel 2.  Chair  Prof. McGuckin
12.15– 12.35 Vision in the Nag Hammadi Texts. C. Lilllie
12.30-  12.50 Holy vision in Syro-Christian texts. T French
12.50– 1.10 Seeing things invisible in Byzantium. J McGuckin
1.10 —  1.40 Open Panel Discussion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

La Resurrezione--The Resurrection (Handel)




HWV 47: La Resurrezione or "Oratorio per la Risurrezione di Nostro S. Giesù Cristo"

  • Genre: Oratorio
  • Libretto: Carlo Sigismondo Capece (1652-1728), court poet to Queen Maria Casimira of Poland, who was living in exile in Rome.
  • Completed score: 1708
  • First performance: 8 April 1708 (Easter Sunday) : the Marchese Ruspoli's palace, Palazzo Bonelli, Rome. Repeated the next day.
    • Original cast :
      • S. Marie Maddalena :
        • Margherita Durastanti (soprano) - first performance only
        • Pippo (castrato) - next performance
      • Angelo : Signor Matteo (castrato)
      • S. Marie Cleofe : Signor Pasqualino (castrato)
      • S. Giovanni Evangelista : Vittorio Chicceri (tenor)
      • Lucifero : Signor Christofano (bass)
  • Notes:
    • Arcangelo Corelli lead the orchestra.
    • At the second performance role sung by castrato owing to papal complaint as women were forbidden to perform on public stage in Rome. The replacement castrato was named, "Pippo soprano della Regina", or Pippo, castrato in former Queen Casimiri's service.

The KJV and Bible Translations

There's a good piece by Charles McGrath in the "Week in Review" section of yesterday's Times in which he describes the KJV translation as "a political and theological compromise" between the established church and the growing Puritan movement. True, the translators rendered Hebrew and Greek carefully. Yet they also rendered ancient languages into poetry and iambic pentameter. And yet this translation preserves the strangeness of the text even more apparent in the translations of Robert Alter and Everett Fox. And yet because so many of the idioms of the KJV have passed into modern speech, the range of what once seemed strange is considerably diminished today.

All this in contrast to those modern translations moving in the direction of current use of language. However, in USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman reports that "Bible Readers Prefer the King James Version."


When LifeWay asked about readers’ experience with the language dating back to 1611, many called it “beautiful” (31%) or “easy to remember” (23%). It is, after all, the book that gave English countless idioms such as “salt of the earth,” “an eye for an eye,” “at our wit’s end” and “oh ye of little faith.”
Some called it hard to understand (27%) or outdated (16%).
About two in 10 of those under age 35 reported trouble understanding it, compared with about three in 10 of their elders.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frank Martin's Golgotha

A performance of Frank Martin's Golgotha is available on BBC Radio 3 for a week. The NY Times says "Passion without hyperbole." Andrew Clements in the Guardian says that its a hard work to like.


Martin tells the Passion story but does not tell listeners what to think or feel by resorting to dramatically graphic music. A bittersweet, contemplative melancholy pervades the score, which moves almost continually at a calm pace. The opening chorus, with words taken from the “Confessions” of St. Augustine, sets the mood for the entire work.
The chorus sings three aching yet unforced cries of “Père!,” answered each time by weary melodic fragments in the slowly churning orchestra. The reference to the opening of Bach’s “St. John Passion” is obvious. But Martin gives us a biblical meditation rather than a musical drama in the manner of Bach, who alternated passages of urgent recitative and choral outbursts with reflective arias and chorales.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Popcorn Theology: "Get Low"

Tomorrow I'm going to lead a group discussion of the movie "Get Low" which I saw last year and found quite provocative. From the comments on Rotten Tomatoes, you wouldn't think there were any religious themes of interest. James Bowman in The American Spectator certainly has things to say that assess the significance of the secret of the character Felix Bush played by Robert Duvall but on balance he doesn't like the movie:

But I don't think anyone will be surprised to learn that what strikes Felix Bush as shameful enough for him to hide his head from public view for 40 years will not strike many others that way. Indeed, the public nature of his confession combines with the nature of the confession itself to reinforce our sense of it rather as something to be proud than ashamed of. His final plea for forgiveness to a bunch of strangers, none of whom he has injured, thus sounds less humble and penitential than it does like an actor's bid for applause -- which will naturally be forthcoming.


I think what limits reviews like these is their (obsessive) focus on Robert Duvall and his character. After all, we live in an age of the cult of celebrity which can sometimes blind us to the rest of the movie. But "Get Low" isn't just about Robert Duvall. After all, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray are also celebrities and they are in the movie. Joseph Susanka in Pantheos has a better take:


It has been said that there is no such thing as a private sin—that the relationship humans share as members of the Body of Christ makes such a distinction impossible. While the theology may be a bit fuzzy, the notion that transgressions committed in secret send ripples throughout all of humanity is borne out by experience; when one falls, all are brought low. Get Low, a Southern fable told through the life of an idiosyncratic Tennessee recluse, reminds us that sin and redemption touch us all.
Felix Bush (Robert Duval), an intractable loner, has spent the last forty years of his life sequestered in the hills of Caleb County, Tennessee. He's made no secret of his dislike for others, and has long been viewed by the locals with a combination of mistrust and downright hatred. After decades of self-imposed exile, Bush's first foray into town ends in violence. Yet the question of why he came back at all seems of little interest to anyone but Frank Quinn, owner of the town's struggling mortuary, and his enterprising young assistant, Buddy.
He makes the point that this is not a private struggle:
 for it is only in the clash between the terrifying secrets of his past and the public actions of his declining years that the film's depth and subtlety is revealed, exposing the symbiotic role the town and the hermit have played in one another's lives.
The sins of Bush's violent youth, left unexamined for decades because they were simply too painful, had far-reaching consequences—not only in his own life, but in the lives of many: small town citizens, childhood sweethearts, and bewildered morticians alike. The townspeople, given no reason to doubt their worst imaginings, have imaged them. But their misunderstanding of Bush's suffering and self-loathing has damaged them as assuredly as it has crippled and isolated him. In recognizing this, the film offers a hard-hitting reminder that connections between human beings penetrate into the personal and the societal fare more deeply than we often recognize, and that repentance, too, is rarely a private thing.
In the film's pivotal moment, as Bush begins to sink once again under the burden of his past, Buddy refuses to give up, insisting that he will do everything in his power to help The Hermit reach his goal. Buoyed by the young man's genuine concern and strength of character, the old man says: "I guess for every one like me, there's one like you, son. I about forgot that."
That's the wonderful thing about the Body of Christ: We are not alone. True, "when one falls, we all fall," and goodness knows there's enough falling to go around. But the bearers of Grace are everywhere, as well. We bear it to each other, often without even knowing it.
Getting low is only a temporary state; it is the rising again that we must always keep in mind. Thank God that constant struggle doesn't have to be private.

When Buddy discovers Felix unable to rise at the bottom of a ladder against the wall of his workshop, Buddy asks anxiously, "Are you sick? Can I help you?" Felix replies, "I'm stuck. There's life and there's death and there's a worse place inbetween. Felix has been making his own coffin. He's been to ask the minister Charlie Jackson for whom he built a church if he would speak at Felix's funeral party. "Have you told her what you did?" Charlie asks? "Did you confess? Have you made your peace with God?" All Felix says is "I paid." Charlie refuses to come.

The acute issue is whether an individual has the right to determine his or her own path of forgiveness and atonement. Felix determines his. Charlie declares that 40 years of living in isolation is a prison. "Forgiveness is free but you have to ask for it," he says.



This discussion reminds me of Emily Dickinson's poem:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant --
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind --





Sunday, April 17, 2011

Expanding church services!

At Holy Cross Church in Goodnestone, near Canterbury, a new Post Office has been opened to replace the closure of the other one recently.


Speaking after the opening ceremony, the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott commented: "This is a wonderful example of volunteers, and the community, the church and a national service coming together to provide a service for local community. I hope there will be many more examples in the future."
The post office which is situated in the west end of the church will provide the full range of post office services and will open two mornings a week. There are plans for coffee mornings and mini farmers' market to operate at the same time. Holy Cross Church will continue as a place of worship, with a normal schedule of weekly services.

The New Gospel Trail: Nazareth to Capernaum

On Thursday a "Gospel Trail" opened in Israel. Apparently, gospel quotations are posted at various points along the way. Wonder which translation?


And they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way." (Luke 4: 29-30)

The main portion of the route
 will start in Nazareth on Mount Precipice and end in Capernaum. The secondary paths will be shorter, branching off from the main route to attractive sites in the Galilee. From Mount Precipice the route takes you along the Nazareth Range, where you can see the landscapes of Mount Tabor and the Church of the Transfiguration, Kafr Kanna and the Turan Valley, via the Golani Junction and the Horns of Hattin, site of the clash between the Crusader forces and the Muslim armies under Saladin.
The route will then descend down the Arbel cliffs in the direction of the Sea of Galilee, until reaching Migdal and the antiquities of ancient Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. From Magdala, the route will continue northward along the Sea of Galilee to the holy triangle – Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum, and down the length of the Sea of Galilee on the promenade, taking in the magnificent views, until we reach our final destination – Capernaum churches, National Park and dock.
Of course, there are many ways to journey with Jesus. Today, being Palm (or Passion) Sunday, many will join the procession of palms echoing Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Male Spirituality?

A discussion of Male Spirituality on "Beyond Belief" on Radio 4 took place recently. Unfortunately the discussion devolved into why men don't go to church. Tear Fund reckons that 35% of believing men have stopped going to church. 


Discussants in the programme include: the Reverend Andy Drake, director of evangelism at Christian Vision for Men; Dr Janet Eccles, a sociologist of religion attached to the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at the University of Lancaster; and Rabbi Dr Dan Cohn Sherbok, Emeritus Professor of Judaism at the University of Wales, Lampeter.


There are mostly women in churches and when women are ordained they often take marginal and small churches. There are not many female leaders. Why is this? Discussants proposed role models: biblical characters are mostly male. The history of Biblical Judaism is a history of men. Synagogues, otoh, include men and women together while in orthodox synagogues men are leaders. Do Christian men miss experiences of male bonding in the pub and the soccer field? 


Could stories of Jesus' disciples be good examples of male bonding? Discipleship is an ongoing journey. Christian life involves taking risks and being courageous which is not very evident in church services. Is the message itself not appealing to men? 


The old model of men in charge is gone. Men can function successfully in a world where they are not in charge although the adjustment is not easy for many. 


For those who are interested in the broader topic see, for example, Bjorn Krondorfer's book. See also this link to a booklist. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Combat Trauma on the Ancient Stage Conference at NYU April 20-21


Combat Trauma on the Ancient Stage Conference

Hosted by Aquila Theatre, the NYU Center for Ancient Studies and Humanities Initiative and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Wednesday April 20 and Thursday April 21, 2011

Staged Reading

Selections From Homer’s Odyssey, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon,
Sophocles’ Ajax and Euripides’ Herakles.

Peter Meineck, New York University with Aquila Theatre and Friends
6:30PM Wednesday, April 20 2011
Hemmerdinger Hall
100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003

Pirandello’s Six Characters In Search of An Author & Post-Show Discussion

Aquila Theatre at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
8:00PM Thursday, April 21 2011
566 Laguardia Place, New York, NY 10012
For Tickets Please Click Here

Conference Schedule:

All events at Hemmerdinger Hall (100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003) except for Six Characters In Search of An Author at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 2011

4:30PM Welcome
Matthew S. Santirocco, Seryl Kushner Dean, College of Arts and Science, and Angelo J. Ranieri Director of Ancient Studies, NYU
4:45PM Keynote Address
Denying Combat Trauma: The Missing Diagnosis in Ancient Greece
David Konstan, New York University
6:00PM Reception
6:30PM Ancient Greeks / Modern Lives Staged Reading
Selections From Homer’s Odyssey, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon,
Sophocles’ Ajax and Euripides’ Herakles.

Peter Meineck, New York University with Aquila Theatre and Friends
(To RSVP please call (212) 998-8017 or email aquila@aquilatheatre.com)

THURSDAY, APRIL 21 2011

9:45AM Introduction
10:00AM SESSION 1
Dreams of My Father: Warfare and Paternity in Sophocles

Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Temple University
Women After War: Weaving Nostos in Homeric Epic and in the 21st Century
Corinne Pache, Trinity Universitiy
Performing Greek Tragedy at GITMO: Excavating an Ancient Audience
Bryan Doerries, Theater of War Productions
12:00PM lunch break
1:30PM SESSION 2
Recollections of Combat Trauma in the Dialogues of Plato
S. Sara Monoson, Northwestern University
When war is performed, what do soldiers see and hear,
think and say-or not say?

Tom Palaima, University of Texas at Austin
3:00PM break
3:30 SESSION 3
Of Dreamers and Ravished minds: Surviving War, Surviving Trauma
Lawrence A. Tritle, Loyola Marymount University
The Veteran’s Voice – A Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Harvey Cox's eulogy for Peter Gomes

"The Irreplaceable Peter" by Harvey Cox is here. An excerpt:


There are thousands of anecdotes about Peter Gomes. Many have begun circulating since his death. My favorite one illustrates just how comfortable Peter was in his own skin. One day, he told me, when he was in the Memorial Church office and the secretary was out to lunch, he impulsively answered the phone.
"Is this Memorial Church?" a women's voice inquired.
"Yes, madam, it certainly is," Peter answered.
"What time is the service this Sunday?" the caller asked.
"At eleven o'clock as always," he replied.
"And will that stout little colored man be preaching?" asked the caller.
"Yes, madam," Peter said, "I SHALL be preaching."

Spring 2011 contd.

I   

Ruth A. Schmidt, R.I.P.

I'd like to remember publicly Ruth A. Schmidt who died on May 24, 2010.  She was President of Agnes Scott College from 1982-1994, arriving shortly before I was hired to teach in the Department of Bible and Religion. She was a Christian feminist in those early days when it wasn't easy to hold the two together.


Born September 20, 1930, in Minnesota, Ruth was a graduate of Augsburg College.  She received an M.A. in Spanish from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.  She began teaching high school Spanish and English in Minnesota, then went on to teach Spanish at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. 
She joined the State University of New York at Albany as an assistant professor of Spanish and eventually became Dean of Humanities.  She then served as provost and professor of Spanish at Wheaton College, a women’s college in Massachusetts, from 1978 to 1982, before completing her career as president of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, from 1982 to 1994.  At a celebration of her life held in the chapel at Agnes Scott on June 16, she was remembered as the women’s college’s first female president and as an advocate for campus diversity and international study.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Premiere of Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer



Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer opened last night at the Quad Cinema here in NYC. A group of us from several seminaries went to see it. Go and see it if you can. Look for it on Netflix. The New York Times reviewed it on Friday.

From the monastery of St Catherine's on Mount Sinai to monasteries and convents in Romania and Russia, monks and nuns spoke about their spiritual practices including silence and the use of the Jesus prayer. "There is a difference," said someone, "between silence as the absence of sound and silence as interior peace." When asked about her personal experience of the Jesus prayer, a nun said, "You don't ask a bride about her experience of the bridegroom." After the movie Dr John McGuckin and Dr Chumley talked about the content and the making of the movie. The movement of the Jesus prayer from the head and the mind to the heart is part of what is being described. One sees God with the heart, Dr McGuckin said. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." How one does this is debated, but it is the kind of content that gives the movie a rich texture.

"Who can say the Jesus prayer?" the narrator asks a venerable monk. "Everyone,  of course. Monks, nuns, priests, bishops, laity," came the reply. It would have been wonderful to hear from laity accustomed to praying this prayer in their own spiritual lives.

Of the movie, IMDB says:

“Noted theologian Dr. Norris J. Chumley teams up with historian John A. McGuckin to explore early monastic Christian life, but make an incredible discovery about an ancient prayer that puts mankind in direct contact with God. For nearly a decade, McGuckin and Dr. Chumley traveled the globe to speak with religious leaders about the 13 holy sites where Christianity originated. Though the sacred sites they visited in such places as Egypt, Mount Sinai, Eastern Europe, and Russia opened their eyes to aspects of Christianity long forgotten by the mainstream church, it was the repeated discussion of an ancient, divine prayer that proved most compelling to the two seasoned adventurers. Dubbed the “Jesus Prayer” by the faithful, the chant is said to establish a tangible connection between mankind and the creator. Now, for the first time in modern history, this secret is finally revealed to the Western World.” - Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sr Elizabeth Johnson + charity


Letter to the Editor from today's NY Times
A significant group of Catholics who have not read Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson’s work and adopt the practice of simply believing what the bishops report — that her book does not uphold church doctrine — have taken to criticizing her and even questioning her faith. While we are waiting for the dialogue between Professor Johnson and the bishops to take place, perhaps we can call for another statement from the bishops reminding the faithful of the importance of charity for all people.
As a former student of Professor Johnson, I wish to take this opportunity to attest not only to her intellectual rigor but also her fidelity to the church. Neither should be lost at this time.
DANIEL COSACCHI
Chicago, April 2, 2011
The writer is a doctoral student in theology at Loyola University Chicago.
Spring is here and we are promised warmer weather this weekend. Enjoy!
(photos courtesy of David Stucky)

The lovely wisteria outside the 20th Street side of the seminary (where the Deanery used to be).  And below is a tulip from the seminary gardens tended by Jeanette Redden and perhaps planted by her or former seminarians. Thank you!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Martha, first witness of the resurrection and "second Peter" in regard to John 11:27

In John's Gospel Martha is shown as an ideal believer with the most developed faith of the entire gospel when she declares: "Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world” (11:27). Patristic writings, interpreting this statement, understand Martha as "a second Peter," that is, a foundation of faith (5th C writer Pseudo-Eustathius' Homily on John 12: 12, 141-145). In the Coptic text of the 2nd Century Epistula Apostolorum, Martha is sent as first apostle of the resurrection.

In a late second or early third century homily on the Song of Songs, Hippolytus describes Martha and Mary of Bethany as "apostles to the apostles" since they are witnesses to the resurrection (25,6).

In a 2009 book, Martha from the Margins: The Authority of Martha in Christian Tradition by Allie M. Ernst, this tradition from Hippolytus (and the patristic interpretations of the first paragraph above) are explored. In Hippolytus Martha is named first. In Hippolytus' commentary, the Easter narrative is told from the point of view of the women whose voice is heard by way of the Song of Songs.

The analysis suggests that this tradition of Martha as myrrhophore and apostle is as ancient as the canonical Gospels, widespread and persistent. It also demonstrates that Martha is not simply an adjunct to Mary in these texts, for she typically takes the leading role. There is some evidence to suggest that the tradition of Martha as myrrhophore might have been known to the author of the Gospel of John and that this tradition had its Sitz im Leben in the liturgical celebrations of Easter, including the Easter celebrations in Jerusalem. 

The book is a version of the author's 2007 Queensland PhD thesis. A review of this book that came out in March 2001 by Joseph Oryshak of York University is here. He concludes:
Ernst’s methodology, which featured a dynamic reading of  church  orders and a balanced weighing of  literary/historical texts with other types of sources (iconography, liturgical works, and  hymnody), allow her to present a more expansive perspective of Martha within  early  Christianity. Hopefully, this approach will be used by others in the future. In Martha from the Margins, Allie M. Ernst succeeds in rescuing Martha from obscurity and in highlighting the prominent role she held in various early Christian circles.


Unfortunately the book is prohibitively expensive and will be accessible to most people only through libraries or online summaries. But it is essential to consult this new material. Books on women in the NT might (wrongly) name Martha "neither apostle or disciple" (see also this link to The Catholicism Answer Book of 2007 where Mary and Martha are described as loyal followers but not chosen as apostles--the text of Hippolytus's Commentary on the Song of Songs above presents a different interpretation of their roles) or omit all references to Martha and Mary for various reasons (although titles suggest they cover all gospel women) or consult only canonical materials.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Professor Elizabeth Johnson's 2007 book, Quest for the Living God criticized by US Bishops

NCR reports that Sr Elizabeth Johnson's book Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God has been criticized by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as not in accord with Catholic teaching in that it: “completely undermines the Gospel and the faith of those who believe in the Gospel.” No disciplinary measures are proposed. The NCR article also contains this response:
Response by Dr. Elizabeth Johnson C.S.J., March 30, 2011:
It is heartening to see the Bishops Conference give such serious attention to the subject of the living God. I appreciate how this statement acknowledges the laudable nature of the task of crafting a theology of God, and the number of issues on which the statement judges that I am “entirely correct.” The book itself endeavors to present new insights about God arising from people living out their Catholic faith in different cultures around the world. My hope is that any conversation that may be triggered by this statement will but enrich that faith, encouraging robust relationship to the Holy Mystery of the living God as the church moves into the future.
I would like to express two serious concerns. First, I would have been glad to enter into conversation to clarify critical points, but was never invited to do so. This book was discussed and finally assessed by the Committee before I knew any discussion had taken place. Second, one result of this absence of dialogue is that in several key instances this statement radically misinterprets what I think, and what I in fact wrote. The conclusions thus drawn paint an incorrect picture of the fundamental line of thought the book develops. A conversation, which I still hope to have, would have very likely avoided these misrepresentations.
That being said, as a scholar I have always taken criticism as a valuable opportunity to delve more deeply into a subject. The task of theology, classically defined as “faith seeking understanding,” calls for theologians to wrestle with mystery. The issues are always complex, especially on frontiers where the church’s living tradition is growing. Committed to the faith of the church, I take this statement as an occasion to ponder yet further the mystery of the living God who is ineffable.
At this time I will make no further statements nor give any interviews.

The Christian Century just released a statement on the case. Commonweal Blog grapples with the censure and the book itself, noting the book's improved sales ranking on Amazon.com. (As of 4/1 at 5pm it is the #1 seller). Dan Horan of Siena College has a post which takes each of the USCCB points in turn carefully.  A blog called "Women in Theology"(WIT) posts in defense of Elizabeth Johnson and updates here and here. Frank Oveis, former editor of Continuum Books, blogs over at the T&T Clark Blog: Beth Johnson is the best-selling contemporary Roman Catholic theologian in the world--books translated into dozens of languages (Korean, Finnish, Chinese). She's garned every prize that American Catholic, plus other secular, institutions, can offer. How about a $200,000 Grawemeyer Award given by Southern Presbyterians? Okay, the U.S. bishops, don't want to hear about that.  He quotes an email received from a  leading US RC theologian (male) this morning: "I think they [the bishops] have idiots writing this report who give the most malicious interpretation of anything Beth has written. It is just terrible."
Sad to say, this could be a pr disaster for the Bishops but perhaps some good can come out of wider reading and explanations of the metaphorical and provisional nature of language about God.