DET (Die Evangelischen Theologen) is the theological version of a digital news magazine. The DET authorial team provides insightful, thought-provoking content on a wide range of theological, religious, and even political subjects from current events and culture as well as from the Christian and other religious traditions.
No, I'm not starting a new theology blog. They'll have to pry DET out of my cold dead fingers with a crowbar before that happens. But other theo-bloggers are not so sedentary as am I. Case in point, a number of theology bloggers (at least one of whom has contributed to a Barth Blog conference here at DET) associated with the doctoral program at Aberdeen (and one guy who was here at PTS for a while) have recently shuttered their respective blogs (for all practical purposes) and started a new joint venture entitled, Out of Bounds: Theology in the Far Country. You'll definitely want to keep track of this blog. As of this typing, there are two introduction posts up.
 A prophecy: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.  “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob,  but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”  Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD.  You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD – even beyond the borders of Israel!’  A son honors his father, and slaves honor their master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty.
It is a pleasure to bring this series back and pr…
Karl Barth was a Reformed theologian, without a doubt. He purified Protestant theology according to its own best insights, to be sure. But we Protestant readers of Barth often forget just how ecumenical his vision was, something that Roman Catholic and Orthodox readers of Barth are quick to pick up on. Indeed, I helped with George Hunsinger’s intro to Karl Barth class this past semester, and had an Orthodox student who constantly reminded me of this - it was quite interesting to get a glimpse of Barth through her eyes.
Well, it's all over now. And to be perfectly honest, I'm glad - I have a dissertation that needs finishing, ASAP! But, today's conference presentations kept things moving, and the panel was a lot of fun.
First, some links: here are my discussions of Day 1 and Day 2. But, I'm no longer the only game in town. Matt Frost (who I have enjoyed getting to know at the conference) and Nathan Maddox both have stuff up. Broaden your horizons and check them out.
There was a single "regular" session this morning, on the topic of Divine and Human Action (As an aside, I'm immensely disappointed that there was no session on ecclesiology; one would think - and would be correct in assuming - that this is not an insignificant matter in an ecumenical engagement).
Holly Taylor Coolman went first. She is an interesting personage to me becuase she is an alumna of both Wheaton and PTS, like myself (although, then - unlike myself - she went to Duke). She framed her discussion a…
Day 2 did a fine job keeping pace with the first day, and the combination of a great conference and too little sleep is starting to get to me. But, it will be back to the dissertation grind tomorrow afternoon.
There were two sessions again today, each with one speaker from the Roman Catholic side and one from the protestant side. The first session was on Christology, and Keith Johnson went first. His title was something like the following: "In him, through him, and for him: a reconsideration of Karl Barth’s historical development with an eye toward...something about the conversation between Barthians and Thomists" (I couldn’t type fast enough to get the end down. Oh well!). Barth’s development after Romans 2 is a series of internal adjustments in four stages within Barth’s christology. Took time toward the beginning to survey three prominant accounts of Barth’s development: von Balthasar, Jungel, and McCormack. McCormack’s feat was to recover a distinctively Protestant Bart…
Wow. That was quite a day. There were two sessions today, each with one speaker from the Roman Catholic side and one from the protestant side. The first session was on divine being, and Robert Jenson was the first speaker. He began by highlighting the strangeness of Barth’s doctrine of God, especially his use of the notions of decision and event to do the heavy duty metaphysical work generally done by the notion of essence. But at every juncture Barth tries to get us to turn our attention away from the lanugage that we use and toward the encounter with God as and where it occurs.
Is God’s tri-fold being given in the event of divine decision, or is that tri-fold being antecedent to that event? Barth can be read either way, and Jens won’t comment further at present. Of course, the entirety of his discussion move in one of these directions as opposed to the other. The whole of the Church Dogmatics is a doctrine of God’s being. For Barth, discourse about God’s being reduces to the tautol…
Those who did NOT have obligations at home - say, helping put their 2 boys to bed - were treated to some opening statements this evening by Bruce McCormack and Thomas Joseph White. Another PTS blogger has provided some coverage of this at his blog.
For my own part, I caught up with some good folks at one of the after parties. The best part of these conferences is the high quality of informal theological conversation, and I started it off right this year with a confab with some quality folks.
I'm looking forward to some good papers and some more good conversation tomorrow.
So, I’m putting this post up a day early because this year’s Karl Barth conference at Princeton Theological Seminary begins this Sunday. I’ll be there, and I look forward to doing some good mingling with folk while taking in some good lectures. It is not inconceivable that this will be my last Barth conference for a bit, so it will be a little bittersweet. In any case, I’ll try to blog it a bit. Also, if you're planning to be at the conference but haven't told me to keep an eye out for you yet, please do!
In any case, a funny thing happened when I finally got a teaching job, namely, I began reading the Chronicle of Higher Education. So I’ll begin with some interesting stuff from them:
In his treatment of the back-and-forth between Barth and the Pietists in the 1920s, Eberhard Busch notes that one of the main criticisms the latter leveled against the former was that he failed to be sufficiently biblical, or sufficiently faithful to Scripture (to put the same basic point two different ways). Busch analyzes this criticism, and the problems that he points out in the Pietists on this point are instructive to all who would do theology in conversation with Scripture. Below I sketch Busch’s analysis.
In an introduction before getting into his numbered points of analysis, Busch notes that one difficulty the Pietists had in engaging Barth was that the latter was intellectually sophisticated while the former made it a point of faith to be intellectually unsophisticated. (Strides have b…
Wolf Krötke, Sin and Nothingness in the Theology of Karl Barth, 73-4.If the 'good nature' of human beings is not a condition in and of itself, it certainly only exists at all insofar as it is lived out by men and women. Persons who do not live out their being are not human persons; they have no being. Hence, if humans are only human insofar as they live out their good nature, and if they live out their good nature only as those who sin, then they only possess their good nature as a perverted, totally corrupted nature. Accordingly, Barth can only think of the corruption of human being or nature as the 'event of their corruption.' No sphere of human existence is exempted from the event of this corrupting. The human creature is 'godless precisely in the good as good...and has fallen prey to nothingness precisely in his essentiality.'
In sum: the being of the human creature qua sinner remains ontologically constituted by the grace of God. Humans constitute their be…
I was planning to write my own brief recap of the volume’s first part – the historical survey of Christian thought about happiness – but then I saw that Dr Charry wrote one herself. So, I’m just going to quote her. Following this lengthy quotation, I’ll highlight a few particularly good lines from the first ~150 pages of this work.
Also, I should mention here that you can download the audio of Dr. Charry's recent inaugural lecture at PTS, as well as watch a short video clip - just click here! Dr Charry recaps much of her material on happiness in that lecture.
Ellen Charry, God and the Art of Happiness, 152-3:Augustine’s doctrine of happiness is primarily theological, eschatological, and conceptual, with room for atheological, temporal, and material happiness – unstable as it may be. Boethius’s teaching is theological, temporal, and noetic, not eschatological or material. Aquinas followed Augustine’s theological, eschatological, noetic precedent, but he made a small place for theo…
There have been some significant goings-on here at DET lately:
To begin, I announced only last Thursday that I have accepted a teaching position (assistant professor of Religion) at Lindenwood University. Thanks again for the congratulations that friends and blog acquaintances have heaped upon me. I'm very excited, although it is making for quite the busy summer.My series on baptism and the church in North Africa is now concluded. Comments piled up nicely on the introduction, and were continuing to do so until quite recently, so that is worth checking out. The final post also generated some good if limited discussion. The whole is now indexed on the serials page.Next, a recent post about Bultmann, Barth, and the proper relation of philosophy and theology has generated good discussion - which continued at least up until yesterday - so you might find that interesting as well.Finally, as …
The news has been leaking slowly over the past few days, but everything is 100% official now and so I wanted to state publicly that I have accepted a position as assistant professor of religion at Lindenwood University. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m very excited to assume this position and get on with the task for which I have been training for the last decade. It should also go without saying that my wife is very happy that I am finally gainfully employed.
So, as a fellow Michigander once said, “I'm packing up my game and I'ma head out west” – though I won’t be going as far west as he was talking about. The wife and I will be loading up our two boys and our meager worldly possessions – plus my less meager library – and heading to the middle of the country sometime at the end of July. In the meantime, I’m working hard to complete a draft of my dissertation and get ready for my not inconsiderable teaching duties this Fall semester. Oh yeah, there’s also t…