Showing posts from January, 2014

Karl Barth, the Jews, and Judaism – the 2014 Princeton Barth Conference

The good people over at the Center for Barth Studies have asked the theo-blogging community to help spread the word about the upcoming Princeton Barth conference, to be held in June. You see the most vital statistics in the image above. More information can be found at the conference website, including an exciting feature this year - the call for papers! That’s right! If you have something interesting to say on the topic, send in a proposal and see what happens. That goes for you doctoral students too!

The list of plenary speakers certainly looks good.

I currently have no plans to attend, but perhaps inspiration will strike in the form of a paper proposal… One never knows.

Anyway, I’m told there is early-bird registration pricing. So get a move on!


Deadline approaching for DET book giveaway contest!

This is a final reminder that you, gentle readers, are quickly running out of time to submit your entry for the DET book giveaway contest. The deadline for entry is February 1st. The prize is the recently published Westminster Handbook to Karl Barth (WJK, 2013) edited by Richard Burnett. For all the details, see the announcement post.

I have received two entries so far, so someone will get the book. But there is still plenty of room for further challengers. So send in your entry ASAP!


Is God Dead? - Paul M. van Buren’s “Austin Dogmatics”

An important book appeared in 2012. It comprised the late 1950s lecture cycle of one of Karl Barth’s most promising students, Paul M. van Buren. “Barthians” these days don’t have too much time for van Buren, and this for a handful of reasons:

(1) After his dissertation under Barth on Calvin’s doctrine of reconciliation (Christ In Our Place, I highly recommend it), van Buren worked as a pastor and seminary professor. This pushed his interests toward the problem of communicating the gospel in the contemporary world. These concerns lead him to publish The Secular Meaning of the Gospel, which Barth did not care for. There was something of a falling-out.

(2) In large part because of Secular Meaning, van Buren was labeled as one of the “Death of God” theologians. This further alienated him from Barth and “Barthians.”

(3) In his later career, van Buren worked intensively on the relationship between Christianity and contemporary Judaism. Until more recently this was not a topic that tended to…

Sarah Coakley defines Systematic Theology

One of the persistently high-performing posts here at DET is my rather hastily thrown together post, now over 5 years old (!), delineating several types of theology. “Systematic theology” is one of the “types” that I define there. Well, I’ve been reading through Sarah Coakley’s new book - God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’, which is to be the first volume of a more complete systematics – and she offers what I find to be a compelling definition (or, perhaps better, description) of systematic theology. I thought that I would share it. As usual, bold is mine and italics are original.

Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’ (Cambridge, 2013), 41:
Systematics, in other words, does not convey the hubristic idea of a totalizing discourse that excludes debate, opposition, or riposte; but on the other hand, it does not falter at the necessary challenge of presenting the gospel afresh in all its ramifications – systematically unfolding the con…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

It is time once again to take stock of the internet (*gasps!), or at least a small corner of it. Here’s the link for the last installment, in case you’re a glutton for punishment. But we have one or two things to do before I shower you with link gold from across the theo-blogo-verse…

First, there is a new thing-y at the top of the left sidebar. Apparently we have not yet tapped the depths of my drive toward self-promotion. But seriously, it’s a good book. You’ll learn something. In fact, I learn something every time I crack it open! (*whistles innocently)

Second, remember that DET is in the middle of trying to give away a book! I say “trying” because, so far, only two entries have been submitted. Come on, readers, time to not be so gentle. Make it a challenge to win this book! Send in your entry soon to compete for the change to get a copy of the new Westminster Handbook to Karl Barth fo…

Books I Read in 2013

Some of you may remember when I did this last year. I find it rewarding to keep track of my reading. Well, it goes hand-in-hand with keeping track of what I have not yet read. I keep a list, you see, of books that I own but that I have not yet read. And I get to cross things off that list once I read them. This supplies some motivation, at least for me. It also supplies some restraint when it comes to buying new books. Some.

In any case, I read rather more this past year than the year before. I chalk this up to the fact that in 2012 I was still very much getting used to this whole teaching thing. But this past year I felt much more confident in it and was able to spend more time with my nose in books.

Before getting to the list I want to quickly note that these are books that I read cover to cover, or at least significant chunks of (hundreds of pages), that I had not read before. While I include works of history and popular treatments of religious topics, I do not include here my fic…

A Tale of Two Soteriologies - Mondays with McMaken

Jumping ahead a bit, I want to get into chapter 2. Thus far in this series I’ve been sharing sections of my book that might have been accessed as samples on my publisher’s website. But now we move beyond those sample offerings into the meat of the argument. Central to that argument in the second chapter is my concept of “sacramental soteriology.” You’ll need to read the chapter to see the notion worked out in detail, but here is a paragraph from the chapter’s introduction that provides a basic orientation.

W. Travis McMaken, The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth, Emerging Scholars (Fortress, 2013), 59–60.
Perhaps the best way to introduce the distinction between Barth’s soteriology on one side, and the traditional, sacramental soteriology on the other side—both pre- and post-Reformation—is as follows: whereas the traditional, sacramental soteriology understands Christ to have objectively wrought the material of salvation which must b…

Top 10 Posts from the Second Half of 2013

Once again it is that lovely time of year when we look back to see what posts you, gentle readers, have been reading over the past six months. I enjoy these opportunities to take stock and see what sorts of material resonates with folks, or brings folks to the blog. Not that this in any way dictates the kind of material that gets put on here – I have little enough time to blog at all, much less to worry about blogging for the sake of some abstract and statistically generated “readership.” But it is interesting, none the less, to get some sense of what “hits” and what “misses.” In any case, here’s the standard disclaimer before we begin:
Standard disclaimer: my metrics in compiling this cannot account for views a post receives when it is read from the main blog page; it can only account for direct views. So it is altogether possible that this list is fallible (*gasps!).So, without further ado...
Why I Think…Ben Myers Isn’t Quite Right About TF Torrance - This post persistently tops the…

Update - Book Giveaway Contest! “The Westminster Handbook to Karl Barth”

I thought that I would take this opportunity to remind everyone once again that we are currently in the middle of a book giveaway contest here at DET!

That’s right - this is your chance to win a free copy of the newly published Westminster Handbook to Karl Barth (WJK, 2013), edited by Richard Burnett.

To become eligible for the prize, you will need to send a short (500-750 word) “essay” (blog post, etc.) in response to the prompt:

Why and / or how (i.e., in what manner) should Karl Barth remain an important theological voice in 21st century theology?

This submission should be original work, not posted on a blog or otherwise made publically available. Send your entry to the DET e-mail address (derevth [at] gmail [dot] com) by February 1st. Be sure to include a clear subject line in your e-mail (e.g., “Westminster Handbook on Barth blog contest”). I—and any of the other DET contributors that I can enlist—will select a “best of” list comprised of 3-5 entries.(*) Each of those entries wil…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

In the last link post I was talking about how I had a backlog of a few hundred blog posts to sort through. Well, I’m happy to report that said sorting has been accomplished – although, in fairness, I might have culled material a little more aggressively than I sometimes do. There were just so many posts!

Anyway, here’s a chunk of those gleanings for you, gentle readers. I do hope that you will enjoy them. But before we get to the wider offerings, I need to remind you of what’s been going on here at DET. But before I do that, I want to remind you about the DET book giveaway that is currently underway.

That’s right! You might be eligible to compete for the change to get a copy of the new Westminster Handbook to Karl Barth for free!

Check out the announcement post for all the details. Be sure to spread the word far and wide around the interwebs, and encourage (yourself and) anyone you know w…

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Scott Rice, currently a doctoral student at Harvard Divinity School, reviews Adam J. Johnson, God's Being in Reconciliation: The Theological Basis of the Unity and Diversity of the Atonement in the Theology of Karl Barth (London: T & T Clark, 2012). Rice calls this book “a lucid and well-developed argument which maintains a consistent engagement with prominent Barth scholarship,” so surf on over and see what it’s all about.