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Receiving Vatican II in History
The year 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. In light of recent developments—especially the resignation of Benedict XVI, the election of Pope Francis, and the Bishops’ Synods of October 2014 and 2015—this volume provides an analysis of Vatican II, the most decisive and far-reaching event in the modern Catholic Church. Explicating pivotal elements of the Council, its decision-making process and the deep consequences of its final decisions, Massimo Faggioli contributes an accessible presentation of the significance of Vatican II for the church and its life in the modern world beyond the boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church. As the Council, since its conclusion, has been subjected to various interpretations—a matter of not little controversy—the volume explores the contours of subsequent interpretation and variations in approach, especially those that have marked the eras of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Despite these controversies, however, the Council lives on, the author argues, in theology, especially the ad intra and ad extra dimensions of reform in the liturgy, the church and the modern world, and religious freedom, continuing to have global impact on Catholics and non-Catholics.
Martin Luther and the Theonomous Self
The steep challenge of personal change is no less keen today than in Martin Luther’s day, and this book takes a new look at his important work. Luther’s notorious denial of personal agency apart from the grace of God, and his scoffing at any but the most spontaneous works of Christian life, have recently rankled both critics of classic Lutheran theology and ecumenical dialogue partners. In this book, theologian and ethicist Mary Gaebler offers a critical corrective to the historical record and theological assumptions about human being and human agency. She not only shows how Luther’s thinking on the will and effective agency evolved, she shows a deeper coherence in his thinking that guided him through successive vocations as a monk, a public figure, a spouse and father, and pastor. In addition, she shows Luther’s anthropology became increasingly open, with a growing affirmation of the created order and the recognition of faith’s role in the transformation of the world, leading to Luther’s exhortation to take courage in God’s transforming presence for the good of all.
Canon as a Model for Biblical Education
Every faith community knows the challenges of inviting new members and the next generation into its shared life without falling into an arid traditionalism or a shallow relativism. Renowned scholar Walter Brueggemann finds a framework for education in the structure of the Hebrew Bible canon, with its assertion of center and limit (in the Torah), of challenge (in the Prophets), and of inquiry (in the Writings). Incorporating the best insights from his own career and from the fields of canonical criticism, Old Testament theology, and pedagogical theory, Brueggemann offers a vision of how the community can draw on the shape of Scripture to educate its members. First published in 1982, The Creative Word is now updated and introduced with a foreword by Amy Erickson of Iliff School of Theology.
Toward a Theological Model for Creativity in the Arts
Theological interest in art is at a premium. However, theological engagement with art is often enacted without a clear sense of method. This text argues for a theological methodology in engaging the arts, and, specifically, the author puts forward a theological model for understanding human creativity in the light of Jesus’ sacrificial redemption. In dialogue with theology, philosophy, psychology, and art theory, the author establishes the relevance and applicability of an incarnational and sacrificial model of human creativity. Theological models also do more than provide a conceptual framework for theological inquiries. They engage the imagination. A theological model for human creativity is like an invitation to join in the creative vision God has for the world, and to embody this vision in one’s own creative work. Therefore, Creativity as Sacrifice does not merely articulate a conceptual framework for human creativity; it also casts a vision for human life as a creative response to the gracious gifts of a creative God.
Cynthia Crysdale and Neil Ormerod here present a robust theology of God in light of supposed tensions between Christian belief and evolutionary science. A truly intelligent and accessible defense of the compatibility of classical theism with the evolutionary worldview, this volume is an important and provocative contribution to the debate. Creator God, Evolving World clarifies a number of confused assumptions in an effort to redeem chance as an intelligible force interacting with stable patterns in nature.
By clarifying terms often used imprecisely in both scientific and theological discourse, the authors make the case that the role of chance in evolution neither mitigates God's radical otherness from creation nor challenges the efficacy of God's providence in the world. Finally, this view of God and the evolving world yields implications for our understanding of human action. Moral agency, even God's work of redemption, unfolds according to an ethic of risk rather than by the quick fix of determinative control.
God's Wonder and Mystery
German theologian, Klaus Schwarzwäller reclaims Christ's cross and resurrection as God's wonder and mystery. He connects with art, history, contemporary culture, and especially scripture in presenting a trenchant analysis of the modes of power and production that have undergirded both society and the church since the Enlightenment.
The church in the present era comes under the power of the Enlightenment's quest for truth in the measurable, reproducible, and rational. The proof of the Spirit’s power thus comes to depend on the criteria of reason and theory, rather than on the Spirit’s work in the reality of daily life.
When the church and theology operate in this way, the cross and resurrection become something that requires our management, manipulation, or expert interpretation. Thus, the church and theology wind up existing for their own ends, and freedom and faith are replaced with brutal indifference and control.
The truth of the gospel is that on the cross Christ bore the brunt of power and production that could not bear his utter devotion to God and care for the powerless. The cross excludes our control and the power of the resurrection ensures that the negativity of human life borne on the cross will be overcome.
Schwarzwäller calls the church and theologians to relinquish both their conformity to society and the indifference that power and production create and instead focus on tending to God’s word so that the cross and resurrection are again revealed as God’s wonder and mystery.
The Early Life of a Christian Symbol
This book brings together, for the first time, the relevant material evidence demonstrating Christian use of the cross prior to Constantine. Bruce W. Longenecker upends a longstanding consensus that the cross was not a Christian symbol until Constantine appropriated it to consolidate his power in the fourth century. Longenecker presents a wide variety of artifacts from across the Mediterranean basin that testify to the use of the cross as a visual symbol by some pre-Constantinian Christians. Those artifacts interlock with literary witnesses from the same period to provide a consistent and robust portrait of the cross as a pre-Constantinian symbol of Christian devotion. The material record of the pre-Constantinian period illustrates that Constantine did not invent the cross as a symbol of Christian faith; for an impressive number of Christians before Constantine’s reign, the cross served as a visual symbol of commitment to a living deity in a dangerous world.
Luther's Theologia Crucis and Bonhoeffer's Christology
The Cross of Reality investigates Bonhoeffer’s interpretation and use of Luther’s theology in shaping his Christology. In this essay, H. Gaylon Barker uses the “theology of the cross” as a key to understanding the characteristic elements that make up Bonhoeffer’s theology; he also shows how Bonhoeffer’s conversation with his teachers and contemporaries, Karl Holl and Karl Barth in particular, develops.
Bonhoeffer’s thought was indeed radical and revolutionary, but it was so precisely because of its adherence to the classical traditions of the church, especially Luther’s theologia cruces. When his theology is understood in light of this tradition, his “nonreligious interpretation,” which he set out to describe in his theological letters from Tegel prison, is not a radical departure from his earlier theology, but is the mature expression of his “theology of the cross.” Bonhoeffer’s Lutheran roots would not allow him to turn his back on the problems and tragedies of the world. In fact, because God had turned toward the world, had entered into the world and identified with suffering individuals, the only proper sphere for theological reflection was this world. Theology properly conceived, therefore, is very this-worldly. It is this worldly character that gives it its power to speak.
Violence against Women and the Church's Response
In this comprehensive, practical, and gripping assessment of various forms of violence against women, Pamela Cooper-White challenges the Christian churches to examine their own responses to the cry of Tamar in our time. She describes specific forms of such violence and outlines appropriate pastoral responses.
The second edition of this groundbreaking work is thoroughly updated and examines not only where the church has made progress since 1995 but also where women remain at unchanged or even greater risk of violence.
Fathers, sons, and mothers take center stage in the Bible’s grand narratives, Amy Kalmanofsky observes. Sisters and sisterhood receive less attention in scholarship but, she argues, play an important role in narratives, revealing anxieties related to desire, agency, and solidarity among women playing out (and playing against) their roles in a patrilineal society. Most often, she shows, sisters are destabilizing figures in narratives about family crisis, where property, patrimony, and the resilience of community boundaries are at risk. Kalmanofsky demonstrates that the particular role of sisters had important narrative effects, revealing previously underappreciated dynamics in Israelite society.