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Reason and Philosophy in the Lutheran Tradition
Martin Luther's disdain for philosophy is well known, and the Lutheran theological tradition has been wary of its constructs. Yet the tradition also includes philosophical giants-from Melanchthon to Schleiermacher to Kierkegaard and even Nietzsche. This volume assumes that such skepticism about reason actually opened up new ways of doing and seeing philosophy.
Philosophers, theologians, and historians assess the paradox and achievements of philosophy in the Lutheran vein. In their important exploration in the history of ideas, they not only probe the roots and branches of Luther's own ambivalence toward philosophy, they also draw illuminating connections between his revolutionary theology and the development of European continental philosophy.
An Introductory Exposition
In Dialectical Theology and Jacques Ellul, Jacob E. Van Vleet argues that the work of Jacques Ellul is frequently—and deleteriously—misread on account of inattention to the theological underpinning that governs Ellul’s thought. In a penetrating analysis, the first of its kind, Van Vleet provides a substantive account of the theological structure of Ellul’s work and demonstrates the determinative role that theology, especially dialectical theology, plays in a proper understanding of Ellul.
Van Vleet offers a major introduction to Ellul’s thought, his contribution to theology and philosophy, and how his philosophy of technology is both theologically informed and culturally relevant. As well, this work situates Ellul’s theological and philosophical thought within an important genetic context, from Kierkegaard to the dialectical theologians of the twentieth century.
Asia and Theopolitical Imagination
How do we navigate the question of identity in the fluid and pluralist conditions of postmodern society? Even more, how do we articulate identity as a defining particularity in the disappearance of borders, boundaries, and spaces in an increasingly globalist world? What constitutes identity and the formation of narratives under such conditions? How do these issues affect not only discursive practices, but theological and ethical construction and practice? This volumes explores these issues in depth. Diasporic Feminist Theology attempts to construct feminist theology by adopting diaspora as a theopolitical and ethical metaphor. Namsoon Kang here revisits and reexamines today’s significant issues such as identity politics, dislocation, postmodernism, postcolonialism, neo-empire, Asian values, and constructs diasporic, transethnic, and glocal feminist theological discourses that create spaces of transformation, reconciliation, hospitality, worldliness, solidarity, and border-traversing. This work draws on diverse sources from contemporary critical discourses of diaspora studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and feminism and feminist theology from a transterritorial space. This book is a landmark work, providing a comprehensive discourse for feminist theology today.
The Prayer Jesus Taught in Its Historical Setting
Christians around the world recite the “Lord’s Prayer” daily, but what exactly are they praying for—and what relationship does it have with Jesus’ own context? Jeffrey B. Gibson reviews scholarship that derives the so-called Lord’s Prayer from Jewish synagogal prayers and refutes it. The genre of the prayer, he shows, is petitionary, and understanding its intent requires understanding Jesus’ purpose in calling disciples as witnesses against “this generation.” Jesus did not mean to teach a unique understanding of God; the prayer had its roots in first-century Jewish movements of protest. In context, Gibson shows (pace Schweitzer, Lohmeyer, Davies, Allison, and a host of other scholars) that the prayer had little to do with “calling down” into the present realities of “the age to come.” Rather, it was meant to protect disciples from the temptations of their age and, thus, to strengthen their countercultural testimony. Gibson’s conclusions offer new insights into the historical Jesus and the movement he sought to establish.
Rethinking Scripture and History through Gregory of Nazianazus and Hans Frei
Key to a theology of scripture and how theology functions in relation to the interpretation of Christianity's religious texts is the important issue of faith and history. Seeking to address a critical problem in theology and the interpretation of scripture raised by modern historical consciousness, Ben Fulford argues for a densely historical and theological reading of scripture centered in a Christological rubric. The argument herein uncovers a pattern of triune action and presence in the rhetorical use of Christian sacred texts, one which draws readers into fuller participation in the shaping of history in Christ. Tracing the problem through the modern theological heritage, the author turns to a comparative account of theologically patterned reading represented by patristic theology in Gregory of Nazianzus and postliberal theology in its pivotal founder, Hans Frei. The book addresses the challenge of historicity and historical consciousness, argues for the relevance of pre-modern approaches to scripture, and offers a fresh and extensive account of two salient figures from the early and contemporary tradition, thus enacting a theology of retrieval as a resource on a present issue of vital importance.
Scott Shauf compares the portrayal of the divine in Acts with portrayals of the divine in other ancient historiographical writings, the latter including Jewish and wider Greco-Roman historiographical traditions. The divine may be represented as a single deity (in Judaism) or many (in Greek and Roman traditions) and also includes representations of angels, God’s spirit, Jesus as a divine figure, or forces with divine status such as fate, chance, and providence. Shauf’s particular interest is in how the divine is represented as involved in history, through themes including the nature of divine retribution, the partiality or impartiality of the divine toward different sets of people, and the portrayal of divine control over seemingly purely natural and human events. Acts is shown to be engaging historiographical traditions of the author’s own day but also contributing unique historiographical perspectives. The way history is written in Acts and in the other writings is shown to be intimately tied to the understanding of the role of the divine in history.
A Theology of Beauty in Dialogue with Robert W. Jenson
The identification of God with beauty is one of the most aesthetically rich notions within Christian thought. However, this claim is often at risk of becoming untethered from core Christian theological confessions. To avoid a theological account of beauty becoming a mere projection of our wildest desires, it must be reined in by dogmatics. To make this case, this book employs the thought of Robert W. Jenson to construct a dogmatic aesthetics. Jenson’s whole theological program is directed by exploring the systematic potential of the core doctrines of the faith that finally opens out into a vast vision of the beauty of God and creatures: “God is a great fugue . . . the rest is music.” Taking Jenson’s cue, the account of beauty presented in this book is propelled by a core conviction of Jenson’s theology: the sole analogue between God and creatures is not “being” or any other metaphysical concept, but Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther on the Incorruptibility of God in Christ
Modern interpreters typically attach revolutionary significance to Luther’s Christology on account of its unprecedented endorsement of God’s ontological vulnerability. This passibilist reading of Luther’s theology has sourced a long channel of speculative theology and philosophy, from Hegel to Moltmann, which regards Luther as an ally against antique, philosophical assumptions, which are supposed to occlude the genuine immanence of God to history and experience. David J. Luy challenges this history of reception and rejects the interpretation of Luther’s Christology upon which it is founded. Dominus mortis creates the conditions necessary for an alternative appropriation of Luther’s Christological legacy. By re-specifying certain key aspects of Luther’s Christological commitments, Luy provides a careful reassessment of how Luther’s theology can make a contribution within ongoing attempts to adequately conceptualize divine immanence. Luther is demonstrated as a theologian who creatively appropriates the patristic and medieval theological tradition and whose constructive enterprise is significant for the ways that it disrupts widely held assumptions about the doctrine of divine impassibility, the transcendence of God, dogmatic development, and the relationship of God to suffering.
Douglas John Hall’s popular and acclaimed writings have inspired and challenged readers four over decades making him of the most widely known theologians in North America. This collection of readings from Douglas John Hall’s essential theological works has been carefully chosen to highlight the author’s most important work. Hall's work takes the measure of Christian belief and doctrine explicitly in light of North American cultural and historical experience. Hall's theological insights challenge churches to embrace change and develop genuine community, uncompromised theology, and honest engagement with the larger culture. To a failed culture and a struggling church, Hall shows the radical implications of a theology of the cross for the shape and practice of church, preaching, ministry, ethics, and eschatology.
Dreaming is an ordinary practice that weaves the mystery of consciousness into everyday life. On any given night, we can experience lucid visions, nightmares, or prophetic dreams that invite us to see the world differently. Christians are betrothed to a God who dreams. As the book of Genesis unfolds, we find God busily untangling the chaos in the cosmos. On the seventh day, God rests and dreams of worlds that teem with life. We know that God dreams because humans, who are made in God’s image, do as well. This book connects Christian traditions and dream stories to our everyday lives so that we might engage the mysteries of life.