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Showing posts from November, 2015

Another Chance to Hear me Speak: My upcoming AAR / TFT TF lecture on Torrance's criticism of Barth's doctrine of Baptism

Those in the St. Louis area will have the opportunity of hearing me speak tomorrow night on the Christian doctrine of happiness (information here), but - and as observant readers of the program for the American Academy of Religion's national meeting will undoubtedly have already noticed - I'm also slotted to give a paper on Friday afternoon to the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship. The TFT TF has a nice write-up of the meeting on their website, and I invite you to print out a dozen copies and spread it around. :-)

But I wanted to give everyone a better idea of what to expect from that paper, and - perhaps - to drum up some more interest. I would love to see you there if you can attend, and I'm very excited to have had this chance to return to Torrance's thought. This paper also builds upon and extends the analysis of Barth's doctrine of baptism that I undertook in my book and the paper that I delivered to the Karl Barth Society of North America at their AAR…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

It seems that I have lapsed in my editorial duties since it has been well more than a fortnight since the last link post. In fact, it has been well over a month! There is one upside to my unfortunate neglect, however: I can tell you about a bunch of great posts that we’ve had here at DET since that last index!

Now, I realize that we are just a little less than one week out from AAR, and many of you may be frantically finishing papers or making travel arrangements – all of which doesn’t leave much time for catching up on your blog reading. But, it also means that in a few days many of you will be sitting in airports and on runways. And my hope is that when you find yourselves there, you will reach for some lovely blog reading from the below lists.

Here’s what we’ve been up to at DET:

T. F. Torrance on Karl Barth and “the temptation of orthodoxy”Yale, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Academic Cultu…

To Believe Is Human, To Doubt...That's Also Human

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Through some mysterious medium -- which we are unable to disclose because of editorial discretion and national security interest -- this conversation fragment has emerged the Great (Not-in-Our-Midst) Beyond. -- Eds.

* * *
Karl Barth: Well there, young man, I know you have some questions for me. Fire away! We've got all of God's limitless-but-not-timeless eternity to chat.

SJ: Thanks so much, Professor! I'd like to start with this one: You know, as a theologian I've struggled a lot with the problem of faith and doubt. You'll recall that Tillich basically elevated doubt to a kind of theological virtue. And in the U.S., in particular, religious doubt has been elevated to a cottage industry -- a highly lucrative one, in fact...well, at least for some people.

So my question is this: Can the dogmatic theologian do her work properly without the existential element of faith?

KB: Good question. You'll recall I discussed this question in Church Dogmatics I/1 (pp. 17-2…

What Am I Reading? Brian Gerrish, “Christian Faith”

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I read Brian Gerrish’s Grace and Grattitude: The Eucharistic Theology of John Calvin while I was an MDiv student at Princeton Seminary. Then, two years ago or so, I read with great benefit his collection of essays entitled The Old Protestantism and the New. When I subsequently heard that Gerrish would give us a dogmatics, I was primed and ready to pre-order it and devour it as soon as it arrived. Which I did, with much enjoyment and benefit.

B. A. Gerrish, Christian Faith: Dogmatics in Outline (WJK, 2015).
Gerrish approaches the task of dogmatics with a three-step process: first, he engages with the biblical material associated with a given dogmatic topic; second, he elaborates the theological tradition on the topic; third, he attempts to speak to the contemporary situation by providing a constructive statement to guide further dogmatic reflection on the topic. These constructive statements are given at the start of each chapter as a thesis (or leitsatz), and they are gathered in an a…

A Chance to Hear Me Speak: Lindenwood Faculty Colloquium on November 18, 2015

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I just know, gentle readers, that the thing that you would most like to do, that would put the cherry on your day, week, month, or even year, is to hear me talk about theology. Well, if you live in the greater St. Louis area, now is your chance! I’ll be speaking with two of my colleagues – one from Anthropology and one from Art History – as part of this year’s Lindenwood University Faculty Colloquium Series. The topic for this colloquium is

Happiness in Art, Faith, and Culture
and the title of my talk is

“God Wants You to Be Happy: The Doctrine of Happiness in Christian Theology.”
This talk will be something of a free improvisation on Ellen Charry’s work in God and the Art of Happiness, which you should read if you have not yet done so. And if you have, read it again. (I did recaps on part 1 and part 2 of the book here at DET back in 2011, and if you look around for them you can find another post or two that came from the book.) I took a class through Charry’s work earlier in the year, …

Redeeming the Powers, One Grant at a Time

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The late biblical scholar, theologian and peace activist Walter Wink, long-time Professor at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, is probably best known for his work retrieving New Testament language concerning "principalities and powers" and retooling it for contemporary socio-political critique and practical engagement. The concluding book of Wink's "Powers" trilogy, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1992), is a tour-de-force.

In the preface, Wink writes this about the project:

This volume was brought to completion during 1989-1990, when I was honored to be selected as a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The views expressed do not reflect those of the Institute, nor has the Institute attempted in any way to censor anything in this book. It is important for an organization like USIP to be able to support, among other things, serious religious schol…

Diller on Epistemological “Skepticism” and Defining “Modernism” and “Postmodernism”

As I promised previously, gentle readers, I return to you with more from Kevin Diller’s volume. The snippet that I have to share with you today pertains to defining terms. What does it mean, from an epistemological perspective, to talk about “modernism” and “postmodernism”? I’m not usually a fan of the concept of “postmodernism,” but Diller’s way of defining these terms against the backdrop of epistemological “skepticism” at least helped me understand better – or at least conceive with more clarity and concision than heretofore – what is at stake in this distinction.

So, without further ado, I give you the below.

Kevin Diller, Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma: How Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga Provide a Unified Response (IVP Academic, 2014), 36 (bold is mine).
The epistemic problem we are after is not the seeming impossibility of knowledge. We accept that knowledge is a human possibility. The skeptic’s requirements for knowledge are unattainable. The skeptic’s requirements are mot…