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The Theology of Light and Illumination in Thomas Aquinas
Light is one of the most ancient and significant metaphors adopted by Christianity by which to understand the significance of Jesus Christ. The Easter liturgy, for instance, is marked by beautiful and powerful rituals proclaiming Christ as the light of the world in his death and resurrection. That understanding developed over subsequent centuries into a larger doctrine of illumination—how Christians come to understand and know God through Christ the Light. In this work, David Whidden takes up that theme in contesting a standard paradigm of interpretation that asserts that Aquinas eliminated the doctrine of illumination in his theology.
In Christ the Light, Whidden argues that illumination is a critical systematic motif in Aquinas’s theology, one that involves the nature of truth, knowledge, and God; at the root, Aquinas’s theology of light, or illumination, is Christological, grounding human knowledge of God and eschatological beatitude. This volume establishes the theological network formed by the crucial motif of light/illumination in Aquinas, from how theology operates to the systematic, sacramental, and moral coordinates in Aquinas’ theology. Christ the Light thus provides a much needed and illuminating retrieval of the one of the most important and creative theologians in the western Christian tradition.
Artistic representations were of significant value to early Christian communities. In Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art, Lee Jefferson argues that images provided visual representations of vital religious and theological truths crucial to the faithful and projected concepts beyond the limitations of the written and spoken word. Images of Christ performing miracles or healings functioned as advertisements for Christianity and illustrated the nature of Christ. Using these images of Christ, Jefferson examines the power of art, its role in fostering devotion, and the deep connection between art and its elucidation of pivotal theological claims.
A Contribution to Feminist Systematic Theology
Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Difference argues that the most potent and resourceful theological response to the challenging questions of gender and difference is to be found in a retrieval of a doctrinal framework for feminist theology. In particular, it is suggested that a doctrinal narrative of creation, fall, and redemption—underpinned by the doctrinal grammar of the Trinity—provides resources to resolve the theological impasse of difference in contemporary feminist theology. The divine economy reveals a God who enters into history and destabilizes fixed binaries and oppressive categories. The biblical narrative discloses a subtle yet potent fluidity to the Triune relationships. As created subjects—precisely in our difference—we are sustained, affirmed, and drawn back into the Triune life. The subtleties of divine transgression are already recognized in the patterns of the liturgy, in prayer, and in practices of contemplation. Here, bodies not only encounter the transgressive love of God but are enabled to inhabit their differentiated humanity with distinctiveness and grace. The grammar of Christian faith cannot ultimately be uncovered except in prayer, opened beyond itself to a source of life and giving.
Christian Dogmatics,/i> is a two-volume survey of the twelve major loci of Christian doctrine, each treated extensively in terms of its biblical foundations, historical tradition, and contemporary significance. From the perspective of the Lutheran tradition and in view of the unique questions and issues of the American context, each locus is developed independent of the others by six theologians, themselves influenced by divergent theological movements: Carl Braaten, Gerhard Forde, Philip Hefner, Robert Jenson, Paul Sponheim, and Hans Schwartz. Volume 1 discusses dogmatics, the Trinity, the identity of God, creation, sin, and Christology. Volume 2 treats atonement, the Holy Spirit, ecclesiology, the sacraments, justification by faith, and eschatology.
History and Implications
What does the history of Christian views of economic life mean for economic life in the twenty-first century? Here Daniel Finn reviews the insights provided by a large number of texts, from the Bible and the early church, to the Middle Ages and the Protestant Reformation, to treatments of the subject in the last century. Relying on both social science and theology, Finn then turns to the implications of this history for economic life today. Throughout, the book invites the reader to engage the sources and to develop an answer to the volume’s basic question.
Feminism and Theologies of Public Life
In contemporary reflection on Christianity and politics, the work of realist, witness, and feminist theologians has been done in isolation—that is, each school has largely pursued its projects without incorporating the insights of the others. Christian Ethics at the Boundary offers the first approach to public and political theology developed at the boundaries that separate these approaches. Extending the strong contextual work of theologians like Robin W. Lovin and Stanley Hauerwas on one hand, and Kathryn Tanner, Monica A. Coleman, and Mary McClintock Fulkerson on the other, author Karen V. Guth engages the theologies of prominent public theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, John Howard Yoder, and Martin Luther King Jr. to identify new trajectories for future work in Christian ethics. By fostering constructive dialogue between these pivotal public theologians of the twentieth century, their contemporary representatives, and the vanguard voices in feminist and womanist theology, Guth identifies ecclesiology as a new agenda for realist theologians, feminism as a vital form of Christian politics for witness theologians, and “creative maladjustment” as a productive theological stance for all Christian ethicists. In doing so, the work displays an innovative method that enables a vivid, collaborative vision of Christian politics.
A Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present
No question has been as persistently nettling as the proper relationship of Christians and the Christian church to political power, and the results have often been calamitous. This classic collection of Christian statements on social ethics, now fully revised and augmented, provides a panoramic view of the 2000-year development of Christian concerns for political justice, peace, civil rights, family law, civil liberties, and other "worldly" issues. In readings that range from the Bible to church fathers to Bonhoeffer and Pope Benedict XVI, these substantial excerpts enable the student to see the flow of Christian thought and the deeper religious context for addressing today's most pressing problems.
A Brief History
In Christian Thought in America: A Brief History, Daniel Ott and Hannah Schell offer a short, accessible overview of the history of Christian thought in America, from the Puritans and other colonials to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Moving chronologically, each chapter addresses a historical segment, focusing on key movements and figures and tracing general trends and developments. While many texts offer a detailed history of Christianity in the American context, few focus on the philosophical and theological issues, which form an important yet often neglected part of our history.
The narrative aims to underscore the diversity of Christian thought in America by addressing issues in their historical contexts and by examining across a range of traditions. At the same time, it conveys a sense of the vibrancy of Christian thought, as well as the liveliness and creativity of the ongoing theological debates. The book explores several recurring themes that mark the trajectory of Christian thought in America, including the idea of a divine mission, the tendency to privilege the individual, and the influence of the spirit of reform and revival.
Each chapter concludes with a short bibliograpy of recent scholarship for further reading.
A Practical Theology of the Cross
So argues Andrew Root, who in Christopraxis seeks to reset the entire edifice of practical theology on a new foundation. While not minimizing practical theology’s commitment to the lived and concrete, Root argues that practical theology has neglected deeper theological underpinnings, and seeks to create a practical theology that seeks to be fully post-postmodern, post-Aristotelian, and that in seeking to attend to doctrines such as divine action and justification, is properly and fully theological.
The history of the church’s relationship with governing authorities unfolds from its beginnings at the intersection of apprehension and acceptance, collaboration and separation. This volume is dedicated to helping students chart this complex narrative through early Christian writings from the first six centuries of the Common Era.
Church and Empire is part of Ad Fontes: Early Christian Sources, a series designed to present ancient Christian texts essential to an understanding of Christian theology, ecclesiology, and practice. The books in the series will make the wealth of early Christian thought available to new generations of students of theology and provide a valuable resource for the church.
The volumes will provide a representative sampling of theological contributions from both East and West.
The series provides volumes that are relevant for a variety of courses: from introduction to theology to classes on doctrine and the development of Christian thought. The goal of each volume is to be representative enough to denote for a nonspecialist audience the multivalent character of early Christian thought, allowing readers to see how and why early Christian doctrine and practice developed the way it did.