Monday, February 26, 2007
(12:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
A Rule of ThumbReading over 100 pages of Calvin's Institutes in one day may have adverse effects on one's mood and overall well-being. Calvin argues that knowledge of God's providence -- meaning God's micromanaging of everything -- is a source of comfort and peace, but after reading the relevant section and thereby being informed of God's providence, I have to say that my experiene is not what he predicts. Surely no one can doubt that Calvin was a great theologian, but his expertise in human psychology appears to have been less thorough.
As a sidenote, I've heard that the "rule of thumb" derives from some kind of regulation that stipulated that a husband could beat his wife with any implement that was smaller around than his thumb, and that therefore one should not use the phrase so as not to commemorate such vile misogyny. Is this etymology accurate?