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Showing posts from June, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

It’s actually been more like three weeks since the last link post, primarily because I was on vacation. But lots of good posts went up in the meantime here at DET and around the theoblogosphere. As usually, I’ll give you the DET material first so you can catch up on that before moving on to the wider richness of the interwebs.

The Inexhaustible Problem of Sola Scriptura - from semi-regular guest writer, Collin CornellKBBC Book Update - Manuscript Submitted! - I’m very excited to have this off my desk!"Creation and Reality": Creation and "the Model of Causation and Production" - another Book ‘o the Month installment from DET contributor Derek MarisPeter Thompson on the Frankfurt SchoolDan Migliore on the Lord’s Supper and Economic Justice"Creation and Reality": "The Reacting God" - a final Book ‘o the Month installment from DET contributor Derek Mari…

Google Reader's Impending Demise (repost)

By now I'm sure most folks have heard that Google will but shutting down its Google Reader system on July 1, 2013. If you are interested in that sort of thing, here is one piece of analysis concerning this move that I thought was interesting.

"But wait, why are you talking about this on DET, the theoblog known for its dry, boring, but none-the-less incredibly stimulating theological fare?"

I know in my spirit that some of you, dear readers, are reasoning thusly in your hearts. The answer is because DET has always had a substantial Google Reader subscribers list. From very early on I made it a priority to ensure that the DET rss feed publishes the full text of posts here, rather than just a teaser that requires you to click through for the content. My own feeling is that I care less about you coming to my site (which is more important for people who have aggressively monetized, anyway) than I care about making the content available to you in as easy a manner possible. A…

"Creation and Reality": "The Reacting God"

So far I've tried to outline the general character of Welker's thought in Creation and Reality, and show how it works out in criticizing one way of approaching the doctrine of creation. In this final post I want to highlight Welker's alternative. He begins by arguing for a more nuanced understanding of God in Genesis 1-2.

As noted in the previous post, Welker concedes that a complete denial of the "model of causation and production" is impossible (11). That said, "the texts are full of instances that emphasize and develop God's reactive experiencing and acting as God reacts to the presence of what is created," whereas the God of the "model" is present only minimally (9). Instead of unpacking his scriptural evidence in depth (though it is certainly worth doing), here's a few examples to support this claim that "the texts describe in a differentiated way God's reacting through perception and evaluation" (Ibid):

"Twice G…

Dan Migliore on the Lord’s Supper and Economic Justice

Barth observes an important distinction between what he calls centrifugal and centripetal conceptions of the Christian life (in CD 4.3, I want to say that it’s in the neighborhood of page 575, but I can’t be bothered to walk across my office to check…). The former structures the Christian life as a matter of possession and accumulation of grace (salvation, blessings, spirituality, sense of one's "personal relationship with Jesus" being strong, etc.), whereas the latter structures it in terms of missionary witness. Generally speaking, churches that focus on the Supper as opposed to preaching tend toward a centrifugal rather than centripetal conception. This is not exclusively the case, however, and it is also not necessarily the case. What I like about this following paragraph from Migliore is how he lifts up the important role that the Supper can play in a centripetal conception. The political edge is nice, too…

Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding, 294-5. Emp…

Peter Thompson on the Frankfurt School

I’ve said it before and I’m sure that I’ll said it again at some point, but – if you are not yet regularly reading Peter Thompson’s column in the Guardian, then you are intellectually impoverished. I’ve mentioned Thompson here at DET a number of times, both in link posts and in highlighting a series he did on Marx.

Lately I’ve been recommending that folk read Thompson’s series on the Frankfurt School. So I thought that I would index that material to make it easier for you to access. So, without further ado:

The Frankfurt school, part 1: why did Anders Breivik fear them?The Frankfurt school, part 2: Negative dialecticsThe Frankfurt school, part 3: Dialectic of EnlightenmentThe Frankfurt school, part 4: Herbert MarcuseThe Frankfurt school, part 5: Walter Benjamin, fascism and the futureThe Frankfurt school, part 6: Ernst Bloch and the Principle of HopeThe Frankfurt school, part 7: what's left?The Frankfurt school, part 8: where do we go from here?==================================

"Creation and Reality": Creation and "the Model of Causation and Production"

In my last post I introduced Michael Welker's book Creation and Reality, noted his disdain for "abstraction" and "reduction," and said that I'd next demonstrate Welker's approach. Welker's first chapter, entitled "What is Creation? Rereading Genesis 1 and 2" serves as a good place to begin to do just that, because here he observes "misleading, distorting definitions of creation," "false abstractions," which he wants to "shake up." (6)

In chapter 1 Welker wants to shake up "the model of causation and dependence" (11). This model defines "Creation as an ultimate process of being produced by a transcendent reality and as absolute dependence," and is based on a very narrow reading of Genesis 1-2; according to Welker "God's creative action corresponds in only a few ways to the pattern of causation and production" (9). Moreover, and more importantly at this point, this model "…

KBBC Book Update - Manuscript Submitted!

I'm sure that long-time DET readers will remember the Karl Barth Blog Conference of 2010. It was epic - three weeks of top-shelf interaction on different themes in Barth's thought put into conversation with other important thinkers and themes. And now the revised and expanded proceedings of that conference are one step closer to gracing your coffee table or bookshelf.

It has been a little over a year since the last update. But as those who follow the KBBC on Facebook know, I submitted the manuscript and related documents to the publisher on Monday. Now they will work their magic, what with typesetting and other production issues.

So, join me in waiting to see when this book will hit the booksellers' shelves! I'll be sure to pass the news on as soon as I know.

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The Inexhaustible Problem of Sola Scriptura - a guest post by Collin Cornell

[Ed. note: Collin Cornell writes the always interesting blog, Kaleidobible, which I have featured previously on link posts here at DET. He also writes semi-regular guest posts here at DET.]


Brevard Childs’ magisterial Biblical Theology kicks off with a quote from Gerhard Ebeling’s 1955 article, “The Meaning of Biblical Theology.” Childs – infamously cantankerous – lavishes rare praise on Ebeling’s article, calling it “a major contribution” and “a classic essay” because of its helpfulness in diagnosing the deep problems then rocking the discipline of biblical theology. Even beyond its analytical power, however, Childs commends it for its positive suggestions, “[making] a valuable start toward reconstituting the field [of biblical theology]” (7). In fact, Childs envisions his own project as an attempt to fulfill Ebeling’s proposal.

Childs didn't always smile on the so-called “New Hermeneutic” school of thought associated with Ebeling’s name. In his Biblical Theology in Crisis, Chil…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Ok, so it’s been more like a month since the last installment. The primary reason for that period of blog silence we had in May was - as I noted - that my semester was ending and the task of getting final grades together and helping to graduate a bunch of students (not to mention the year’s end bureaucratic crunch) kept me pretty busy for a while there.

In any case, we’re back to full steam here at DET, and there’s been a decent bit of action since the last link post, and it is all worth checking out if you haven’t done so yet. Here are the links:

New Center for Barth Studies Book ReviewJune Book o' the Month - Michael Welker's “Creation and Reality” - from DET contributing author Derek Maris.My Most Recent Publication: “The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth” - Pre-order my book!A Funeral Sermon - from new DET contributing author

A Funeral Sermon

My grandfather, George William Schafer, died this past February, and his funeral followed soon after. My mother asked me to preach a sermon that witnessed to the faith of her father. So I did. It was the first time I had preached a family funeral. A large section of my family doesn’t attend Church, and some, like my brother, are avowed atheists. In my message I tried to capture the essence of the Christian faith in the face of death. The writings of Tom Long and Karl Barth are in the background of this homily. The text I preached on was 1 Corinthians 15:1-8,12-19, 51-58. The reactions were varied, the majority of serious feedback was positive. My mother and grandmother cried, my atheist brother said it made him feel uncomfortable, and my youngest brother told me that my sermon said what everybody already knew, but needed to hear again. I hope that my words were an honorable testimony to the life, death, and promised resurrection of my grandfather, George William Schafer.


My grandfath…

My Most Recent Publication: “The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth”

This is the big one, folks. Devoted readers will be aware that I defended my doctoral dissertation back in December of 2011. Shortly thereafter I posted the dissertation’s abstract as a way to let folk in on the work.

It has been a considerable process since then, replete with multiple trips through the ms for editing purposes, creating an index, expanding various points, etc. But now the end is in view. And in approximately two months, gentle readers, the work can be in your hands.

The good folks at Fortress offered me a contract as part of their (thus far very successful) attempt to revitalize their catalog with an influx of constructive theological scholarship. Specifically, Mike Gibson was instrumental here. So many thanks to him and to all the others who have been part of the process.

In any case, I invite you to surf over and pre-order the book, so that you can be sure to be among the first to read what will no doubt be a breathtakingly deep and original work (*coughs).

W. Tr…

June Book o' the Month - Michael Welker's “Creation and Reality”

Over the past several months I have been reading Michael Welker, professor at the University of Heidelberg. I’ve become enamored to the point of being confident that he will be one of my "comp and dissertation theologians," so I’m excited to introduce him to the DET audience with his book Creation and Reality. In this first post I want to limit myself to a couple introductory remarks about Welker’s project that are also articulated in the introduction to this book.



In Creation and Reality, Welker appears to see himself within the continuing quest to do theology after “the collapse of classical bourgeois theism,” yet he argues that “it is necessary not to give up the christological, pneumatological, and other debates with classical theism but to supplement them in the area of the theology of creation" (1-2). Welker believes that the doctrine of creation still has a major role to play in theology after the collapse in creating “a pre- or post-theistic understanding of God…