Showing posts from April, 2012

Assumptions behind Barth's Dialogue with Catholicism at Münster

Karl Barth can and has been characterized both as radically anti-Catholic and radically ecumenical. What makes it difficult to arbitrate such competing claims is that both are true of Barth at different times. One of the times that Barth was favorably disposed to Catholic theology was during his time teaching in Münster. As Amy Marga points out in the below quotation, Barth's theology at that time shared a number of important assumptions with Catholic theology in this period. As Amy further makes clear, however, Barth finally rejected these assumptions in his mature theology. Karl Barth’s Dialogue with Catholicism in Göttingen and Münster: Its Significance for His Doctrine of God , 92 (as usual, bold is mine): Barth started out with three assumptions about the Incarnation that made his conversation with Roman Catholicism in Münster an unproblematic one. First, he was working with the assumption that the Incarnation presupposes creation . Because the Incarnation is reconciliatio

Call for Papers: Graduate Conference on Religion at Harvard Divinity School

This lull in DET productivity seems to be morphing into a season of announcements... Some of you may recall my posting a year or so ago about a graduate student conference being held at Harvard. I even posted here at DET a contribution that I penned for their study booklet in lieu of attending. Well, it's time for another iteration. While I am no longer a graduate student and thus no longer eligible to participate, I wanted to do my part in getting the word out about this great opportunity for grad students from across a wide variety of theological disciplines to come together for cross-pollination. I have included the official call for papers below in its entirety. A little more information is available at the meeting's website , and hopefully more will go up there as the event draws closer. If you are a graduate student in religion or theology, I heartily encourage you to consider submitting a proposal and attending this conference. WAYS OF KNOWING Graduate Conferen

Announcing the C. S. Lewis Essay Prize

This current lull in DET publication is an opportune moment for letting you all know about an essay prize that is currently running, sponsored by the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion. The gory details are included in the website snapshot below; click on the image to surf over and poke around for yourself. It looks like a great opportunity to try and translate your writing into cold, hard cash, and such opportunities are not to be squandered. This particular prize is neat because it is aimed at writing done for general consumption on the problem of evil and related questions. So check it out and think about submitting your essay today! Truth in advertising, I have been compensated for this announcement to the tune of a tidy little Amazon gift card... ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken

An Epistolary Divulgence

My dear, gentle Reader, My sincerest apologies for the radio silence, or at least significantly decreased transmission frequency, that has established itself here at DET as of late. On those emotionally and theologically cold nights when you sit alone with your internet surfing device, hoping against hope that you will discover a new DET communique, know that I am right there with you, in spirit, sharing in your pain and disappointment. The reason for this recent abatement is real, albeit rather mundane: DET's contributors are concluding their academic semester, hard at work writing papers, putting together presentations, and generally improving themselves intellectually. Fear not, faithful reading remnant, the rich vein that they are mining will soon enough be shared with you for the greater maturation of the theo-blogging community. As for your faithful proprietor, well, he can only beg your pardon in the face of his own special brand of year-end inundation. This year, that del

Christopher Hitchens on “Atheism”

Christopher Hitchens (ed.), The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press, 2007), xx-xxi. There is an argument within the community of those who reject…this fantasy about the utility of the word “atheist.” For one thing, it is a pure negative: a statement of mere unbelief or disbelief. Dr. Jonathan Miller, for example, a distinguished physician and theater and opera director, is uneasy with the term for this reason: “I do not have,” he once told me, “a special word for saying that I do not believe in the tooth fairy or in Santa Claus. I presume that my intelligent friends do not suppose that I believe such things.” True enough—but we do not have to emerge from a past when tooth fairies and Father Christmas (both rather recent inventions) held sway. The fans of the tooth fairy do not bang on your door and try to convert you. They do not insist that their pseudo-science be taught in schools. They do not condemn believers in rival tooth f

Augustine and Human Sexuality

I taught an intensive course on Augustine’s Confessions in January, so I read a bunch about Augustine. As part of that, I read through Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo: A Biography , which is still (and deservedly so) a standard text in the field.  I hinted previously that I would post something about Augustine’s views on human sexuality, so here goes. Perhaps I should also add that I'm plunging headlong into what could be a very sensitive topic... Brown includes an epilogue in the most recent edition of his volume that takes note of more recent research and evidence (his book was originally written in the 1960s!), and wherein he reflects on aspects of Augustine’s life and work from the vantage of his own later studies. He spent a good chunk of his career after this book working on the rise and development of monasticism, which put him in touch with a much broader sample of Christian views on sexuality. This gave him a greater appreciation for Augustine, and compelled him to

Update: Book's Purchased!

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post and gave me suggestions of what to add to my library. There were some good suggestions, and I had fun thinking through them. Here's how things came out. (1) Surprise, surprise - it turns out that I have a hard time resisting Calvin . The deal on the 7-volume tracts and letters set that Nathan pointed out was simply too good to pass up, so I marshaled some other resources and placed my order. I'm just hoping that when the volumes arrive I will not discover that I already have large portions of these texts in other editions... But that's what return labels are for. (2) I've been wanting to read this book for some time, and it is an even better price-per-page deal than that Calvin set. Bellah is always interesting, insightful, and provocative. (3) One friend suggested (outside the official comments thread) that I buy some more Bonhoeffer, and this was a very attractive proposal. But that would have eaten through