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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.
Volume 11 in the sixteen-volume Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition, Ecumenical, Academic, and Pastoral Work: 1931-1932, provides a comprehensive translation of Bonhoeffer’s important writings from 1931 to 1932, with extensive commentary about their historical context and theological significance. This volume covers the significant period of Bonhoeffer's entry into the international ecumenical world and the final months before the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship. It begins with Bonhoeffer's return to Berlin in June 1931 after his year of study in the United States. In the crucial period that followed, Bonhoeffer continued his preparations for the ministry, began teaching at Berlin University, and became active at international ecumenical meetings. His letters and lectures, however, also document the economic and political turbulence on the European and world stage, and Bonhoeffer directly addresses the growing threat of the Nazi movement and what it portends not only for Germany, but for the world. Several of the documents in this volume, particularly the student notes of his university lecture on "The Nature of the Church" and his lectures on Christian ethics, give important insights into his theology at this point. His ecumenical lectures and reports are significant documents for understanding the ecumenical debates of this period.
A Collaborative, Globally-Networked Pedagogy
The ground of higher education is shifting, but learning ecosystems around the world have much more space than MOOCs and trendy online platforms can fill, and Loewen shows how professors have an indisputable pedagogical edge that gives them a crucial role to play in higher education. By adopting the collaborative pedagogical process in this book, professors can create effective social learning experiences that connect students to peers and professional colleagues in real-time.
Loewen moves beyond surface questions about technology in the classroom to a problem best addressed by educators in bricks-and-mortar institutions: if students are social learners, how do we teach in a way that promotes actual dialogue for learning? Designing learning experiences that develop intercultural competencies puts the test to students’ social inclinations, and engagement with course material increases when it’s used to dig deeper into the specificities of their identity and social location. Loewen’s approach to inter-institutional collaborative teaching will be explored with examples and working templates for collaborative design of effective social learning experiences. This is done by collaborative dialogue with G. Brooke Lester and Christopher Duncanson-Hales. As a group, Loewen, Lester, and Duncanson-Hales create a text that extends pedagogical innovation in inspiring but practical ways.
Paul's Lament-Midrash in Romans 9-11
God chooses Israel (salvation “first to the Jew and then the gentile”), but without showing favoritism? Paul genuinely grieves for Israel as one speaking “in” Christ, yet prays to be cursed, cut off from Christ? Romans 9–11 remains one of the most difficult and contested biblical texts in scholarship today. Theological discussions often limit the focus of this passage to God’s sovereignty, emphasizing that God’s mind is not known, or to Paul’s defense of God’s faithfulness, insisting that Israel has failed. Less attention has been devoted to Paul’s unique form and style, which, rightly understood, resolve significant issues, revealing the merciful and wise character of God in his choice of Jacob, the lesser son.
David R. Wallace demonstrates how Paul weaves two distinct Jewish literary forms together––lament and midrash—into a logical narrative concerning Israel’s salvation. Attention is given to Paul’s poetical structures, key literary terms, and use of Old Testament contexts. The result is new insight into the meaning of the letter, and into the theology of Paul.