Emerging Scholars

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Palestinian Christians and the Old Testament

History, Hermeneutics, and Ideology

by Will Stalder

The foundation of the modern State of Israel in 1948 is commemorated by many Palestinians as a day of catastrophe. Many Palestinian Christians claim that the nakba was also spiritually catastrophic: the characters, names, events, and places of the Old Testament took on new significance with the newly formed political state, which caused vast portions of the text to become unusable in their eyes and be abandoned. Stalder asks how Palestinian Christians have read the Old Testament in the period before and under the British Mandate and now, in light of the foundation of the modern State of Israel, then contemplates how they might read these sacred texts in the future, interacting with proposals by Michael Prior, Charles Miller, and Gershon Nerel. His particular goal is to outline a possible hermeneutic that does not disregard the concerns of the respective religious communities without writing off the Old Testament prematurely.

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Partakers of the Divine

Contemplation and the Practice of Philosophy

By Jacob Holsinger Sherman

One of the important ecclesial developments over the last century has been the extraordinary rediscovery, retrieval and reinvigoration of the Christian contemplative tradition, a recovery that has been extraordinarily influential Theologians have begun to explore how aspects of the Christian contemplative tradition challenge certain prevalent views about the nature of God, the world, and persons, but this contemplative renaissance also raises crucial questions about a variety of more philosophical arenas such as how we construe the relationship between faith and reason, religious epistemology, theological metaphysics, philosophical hermeneutics and so forth. How might the theological and ecclesial renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition augment, challenge, and transform the practice not only of theology but also of philosophy itself? This book is an extended essay in ‘contemplative philosophy,’ the meeting of mystical and philosophical theology, of Christian contemplation and the philosophy of religion. It shows that, within the Christian tradition, philosophical and contemplative practices arose together and that throughout much of Christian history philosophy, theology and contemplation remained internal to one another. Contemplation was not something to be studied from the outside but rather transformed philosophical and theological inquiries from the inside. The relation of philosophy, theology, and contemplation to one another is of more than antiquarian interest, for it provides theologians and philosophers of religion today with a way forward beyond many of the stalemates that have beset discussions about faith and reason, the role of religion in contemporary culture, and the challenges of modernity and postmodernity.

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Playful, Glad, and Free

Karl Barth and a Theology of Popular Culture

By Jessica DeCou

This book offers a critical analysis and reinterpretation of Karl Barth’s theology of culture—the least studied aspect of his work—revealing his significance for contemporary work in theology of culture by applying his approach to the study of popular culture and entertainment. Grounding the study in Barth’s eschatology, which proves more amenable to secular culture than other models, DeCou shows that Barth’s approach recognized that the freedom of theology is qualified by the freedom of the Word and the freedom of secular culture. Barth therefore offers a “middle way” for evaluating and analyzing culture and religious forms. This book thus opens up a new avenue of interpretation of Barth and applies the insights of Barth’s theology in fresh ways to the structures of contemporary culture and its products.

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Practices of Power

Revisiting the Principalities and the Powers in the Pauline Letters

by Robert Ewusie Moses

The conception of “powers” and “principalities” in Paul’s thought and that of his successors has been amply explored—but how was this conception expressed? How did the powers “work” in the Pauline community? Robert Moses argues that Paul's conception of the powers is unintelligible without a detailed account of the practices he advocates for the early believers. In this detailed study, Moses shows that Paul believed certain practices guarded believers from the dominion of the powers; other practices, however, exposed humans to the work of powers of darkness. Moses traces the distinct function of “power-practices” in each of Paul’s letters and draws illuminating comparisons with traditional African religious practices.

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Preservation and Protest

Theological Foundations for an Eco-Eschatological Ethics

by Rayn Patrick McLaughlin

Preservation and Protest proposes a novel taxonomy of four paradigms of nonhuman theological ethics by exploring the intersection of tensions between value terms (“anthropocentrism” and “cosmocentrism”) and teleological terms (“conservation” and “transfiguration”). These tensions arise out of the theological loci of cosmology, anthropology, and eschatology. The individual paradigms of the taxonomy are critically elucidated through the work of Thomas Aquinas (anthropocentric conservation), Thomas Berry (cosmocentric conservation), Dumitru Stăniloae (anthropocentric transfiguration), and Jürgen Moltmann and Andrew Linzey (cosmocentric transfiguration). McLaughlin systematically develops the paradigm of cosmocentric transfiguration, arguing that the entire cosmos—including all instantiations of life therein—shares in the eschatological hope of a harmonious participation in God’s triune life, a participation that entails the end of suffering, predation, and death. This paradigm yields an ethics based upon a tension between preservation (i.e., the sustaining of nature, which requires suffering, predation, and death) and protest (i.e., the personal witness against suffering, predation, and death through non–violent living). With this paradigm, McLaughlin offers an alternative to anthropocentric and conservationist paradigms within the Christian tradition, an alternative that affirms both scientific claims about natural history and the theological hope for eschatological redemption.

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Professional Sexual Ethics

A Holistic Ministry Approach

Edited by Patricia Beattie Jung and Darrryl W. Stephens

Sexual health is an essential part of maintaining professional relationships in ministry. Focusing on implications for the practice of ministry, this book engages all dimensions of theological education and academic disciplines. Each chapter includes an analysis of common ministry situations, discussion questions, practical guidelines, and resources for further study. The volume is ideal for use in courses on professional ethics for ministry, advanced leadership training, and continuing education for clergy. The book includes generous use of case studies throughout and addresses major issues such as power, pornography, and social media as they relate to sexual ethics in congregations.

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Queering the Ethiopian Eunuch

Strategies of Ambiguity in Acts

By Sean D. Burke

Were eunuchs more usually castrated guardians of the harem, as florid Orientalist portraits imagine them, or were they trusted court officials who may never have been castrated? Was the Ethiopian eunuch a Jew or a Gentile, a slave or a free man? Why does Luke call him a “man” while contemporaries referred to eunuchs as “unmanned” beings? As Sean D. Burke treats questions that have received dramatically different answers over the centuries of Christian interpretation, he shows that eunuchs bore particular stereotyped associations regarding gender and sexual status as well as of race, ethnicity, and class. Not only has Luke failed to resolve these ambiguities; he has positioned this destabilized figure at a key place in the narrative—as the gospel has expanded beyond Judea, but before Gentiles are explicitly named—in such a way as to blur a number of social role boundaries. In this sense, Burke argues, Luke intended to “queer” his reader’s expectations and so to present the boundary-transgressing potentiality of a new community.

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The Resurrected God

Karl Barth's Trinitarian Theology of Easter

by John L. Drury

The Resurrected God is an exciting, innovative examination of the resurrection of Christ and its relationship to the doctrine of the Trinity in the mature work of Karl Barth, particularly across the three parts of volume IV of the Church Dogmatics. John Drury argues that, for Barth, the subject and basis of Christ’s resurrection is the triune God. The volume demonstrates that Barth explicated the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection through a unique Trinitarian grammar and grounds the event of the resurrection in the eternal triune being of God. Closely expositing and analyzing Barth’s deployment of this Trinitarian grammar in the fourth volume, the author turns to a constructive reconsideration of Barth’s earlier doctrine of the Trinity in the first volume, examining that material in light of the concept of God operative in the later work. Thinking with and beyond Barth, the author concludes that resurrection is inextricably linked with the Triune life of the God who raises and is raised.

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Resurrection as Anti-Imperial Gospel

1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10 in Context

By Edward Pillar

Presuming that the heart of Paul’s gospel announcement was the news that God had raised Jesus from the dead (as indicated in 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10), Pillar explores the evidence in Paul’s letter and in aspects of the Roman imperial culture in Thessalonica in order to imagine what that proclamation would have evoked for its first hearers. He argues that the gospel of resurrection would have been heard as fundamentally anti-imperial: Jesus of Nazareth was executed by means of the epitome of imperial power. The resurrection thus subverts and usurps the empire’s immense power. The argument is verified in aspects of the response of those living in a thoroughly imperialized metropolis.

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Rumors of Resistance

Status Reversals and Hidden Transcripts in the Gospel of Luke

by Amanda C. Miller

Rumors of Resistance, Amanda C. Miller uses Scott’s theory to explain tensions within the narrative of the Gospel of Luke, between more accommodationist narratives and poetic or parabolic passages that announce a dramatic eschatological reversal (the Magnificat in 1:46-55, the Sermon at Nazareth in 4:16-30, and the Parable of Lazarus and the rich man in 16:19-30). Miller’s use of sociorhetorical analysis leads her to conclude that Luke’s audience would have been challenged to resist the dominant values of Roman imperial culture even as the narrative framework of Luke partially obscures that “transcript.”

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