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Showing posts from October, 2013

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Jeffrey Skaff, currently a doctoral student at Princeton Theological Seminary, reviewsThomas Joseph White (ed.), The Analogy of Being: Invention of Antichrist or the Wisdom of God? (Eerdmans, 2011). Skaff’s review is quite lengthy, and he does a good job of sketching the various contributions in the volume. He also offers some helpful comments toward the end to help situate this volume and the discussion it represents within the ongoing context of Barth studies. This is definitely a review that you want to read if you haven’t had time to read the volume and, even if you’ve read the volume, surf on over to see if you agree with what Skaff has to say. In other words, be sure to check out this review!

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Barth on the triune relationships

I recently administered midterm exams, and I decided to do something useful with the time that would be on my hands as my students furiously wrote their exam answers. So I read some Barth on the Trinity. This particular passage stood out to me as a particularly powerful expression of the dialectic in Barth’s trinitarian thought between God’s one-ness which is also God’s threeness and God’s threeness which is also God’s oneness, in this case in conceptual contact with patristic thinking about processions. Enjoy!

Barth, Church Dogmatics 1.1, 363:Quite rightly reference has been made here first and foremost to the New Testament names of Father, Son and Spirit. If these three names are really in their threeness the one name of the one God, then it follows that in this one God there is primarily at least—let us put it cautiously, something like fatherhood and sonship, and therefore something like begetting and being begotten, and then a third thing common to both, which is not a being bego…

Troeltsch’s distinction between Dogmatics and Glaubenslehre

So, more about Troeltsch. I found this distinction to be rather interesting and thought-provoking, especially when viewed in terms of Troeltsch’s interactions with Hermann.

Hans-Georg Drescher, Ernst Troeltsch: His Life and Work (Fortress, 1993), 202.
When in 1900 the publishing house Mohr/Siebeck in Tübingen was considering whether to found a new journal for systematic theology, Troeltsch was also asked for his opinion. He wrote: “Systematic theology belongs in general journals. . . I do not believe that anyone will have the courage to devote a special journal to it at a time when dogmatic theology is falling apart.” The fact that Troeltsch had always had the intention to publish a collection of his “positive” views does not contradict these thoughts.

The idea of the dissolution of dogmatic theology is to be seen against the background of Troeltsch’s distinction between dogmatics and the doctrine of faith (Glaubenslehre). In the history of religion Troeltsch sees dogmatics as a disti…

Augustine and the Sacramental Argument for Infant Baptism - Mondays with McMaken

Part of what I do in my volume on baptism is to identify the two primary arguments presented by the theological tradition in support of infant baptism. The first of these arguments, both chronologically and in terms of my presentation-order, is the sacramental argument. Augustine is the primogenitor of this argument, at least insofar as it achieves a theologically robust formulation. Here’s an excerpt to flesh things out a bit more:

W. Travis McMaken, The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth, Emerging Scholars (Fortress, 2013), 20.
Infant baptism was practiced in extremis in the early Christian centuries, but it was always something of a practice in search of a theology. By pressing it into service in his dispute with the Pelagians, Augustine “provided the theology that led to infant baptism becoming general practice for the first time in the history of the church.” This was not his intent. In fact, he argued that it was already the chu…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…