Emerging Scholars

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Emerging Scholars

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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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Rupturing Eschatology

Divine Glory and the Silence of the Cross

by Eric J. Trozzo

Rupturing Eschatology is Eric Trozzo’s constructive retrieval of Luther’s theology of the cross for the purpose of establishing a contemporary Lutheran and “emerging” account of the cross, silence, and eschatology. Seeking to overcome a tendency toward extrinsic notions of divine glory and transformation, the author explores Luther’s early construction of the theology of the cross and divine hiddenness in concert with the work of the Lutheran mystical tradition and modern Lutheran theology, such as Jürgen Moltmann, Paul Tillich, and John Caputo. Trozzo argues for an intra-historical and intra-worldly account of divine possibility oriented around a contemporary theology of the cross marked by reclamation of the biblical and mystical practice of silence as the space that creates hope.

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The Sign of the Gospel

Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth

By W. Travis McMaken

The theology of the sacraments is one of the most contested parts in Barth’s theology, none more so than the doctrine of baptism. Barth’s proposals on baptism have generated intense conversation and disagreement, not only on its application to Protestant and ecumenical theology but even on its own consistency with Barth’s larger dogmatic project. McMaken takes up this controversial question, sets it in its proper context within the history of doctrine and Barth’s systematic work, and argues for a constructive reclamation of infant baptism that accords with Barth’s overarching theological concerns and insights, notably from Barth’s mature theological commitments. Pivotally, this volume claims that a reorientation of the doctrine of baptism opens up a new perspective on the practice of infant baptism on the basis of Barth’s theology; this new perspective, as well, holds the potential for wide, ecumenical application as a form of the proclamation of the gospel and a vital dimension of the church’s missional vocation. A commanding volume for scholars and students in systematic theology, ecumenical studies, and sacramental theology.

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Silence and Praise

Rhetorical Cosmology and Political Theology in the Book of Revelation

by Ryan Leif Hansen

Cosmology is a central focus in John’s Apocalypse, Ryan Leif Hansen argues, but not in the sense that John envisions a stable cosmos. Rather, John employs cosmological themes for persuasive purposes that include a critique of Roman imperial cultic discourse. Hansen’s argument requires a discussion of the apocalyptic genre and rhetoric, the ways in which apocalyptic literature makes meaning especially through the construction of symbolic worlds, and then a comparison of this means with cosmological themes in which eternal Rome lies at the center of the cosmos.

John seeks to persuade his hearers that the world, as governed and sustained by Caesar and the Roman gods and perpetuated through the Roman cult and economy, is a false order, passing away in order that God’s new creation, narrated by truthful worship and costly witness to the Lamb, can emerge as gift. The book concludes with suggestions for fruitful conversation with recent work in apocalyptic theology.

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