[Common Places]: James K. A. Smith and Augustinianism (Part 1)
In James K. A. Smith’s rich cultural liturgies series we find an Augustinian voice that on its face resonates in harmony with the fifth-century Bishop but, as one probes deeper, offers a provocative counterpoint to Augustine. Smith claims Augustine as his source of inspiration at various points, going so far as to say that the three intertwined proposals in Desiring the Kingdom on theological anthropology, Christian education, and church liturgy all have their fundamental source in Augustine. On these proposals, however, Smith offers a fascinating blend of Augustinianism and contemporary phenomenology that is at once neither straightforward Augustine nor phenomenology.
Smith’s claims on the nature of the human person are a good place to start because they anchor his wider project on Christian liturgy. Smith’s stated goal is to…
[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Christocentrism
A theology is christocentric when its method, structure, arguments, and goals are oriented around the theologian’s account of the person and work of Jesus Christ. A christocentric theologian does more than simply talk a lot about Jesus. Rather, he or she proceeds with the hope that every theological claim will live and move and have its being in relation to Christ and his saving work. Since accounts of the person and work of Christ vary across the centuries and traditions, no single type of christocentric theology exists. This brief bibliography points to a few helpful christocentric texts while also accounting for at least some of that diversity.
Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation – Arguably the most important christocentric text ever written, this short book has…
[Common Places] James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom: A Gospels Perspective
Michael Allen introduced this series of Common Places on J. K. A. Smith’s Cultural Liturgies project by noting that at its heart, Smith’s project is to show us that it is indeed the heart, not the head that lies at the root of why we do what we do. We are lovers before we are knowers (both chronologically and logically). Our loves are developed in profound ways by our habits, more than just by our thinking. Thus, as Christian educators and leaders we should be cognizant of the liturgies we partake in and that we produce for others, as these are what lie at the heart of people’s way of being in the world.
[Common Places] Reading Notes: Heavenly-Mindedness
One feature that will appear regularly this year will be a monthly series entitled Reading Notes. In these posts, editors and contributors will lead readers to significant literature related thematically to our other ongoing series. This month Michael Allen introduces classical and contemporary literature related to heavenly-mindedness and formation as a fitting complement to our ongoing engagement of James K. A. Smith’s Cultural Liturgies project (see here).
Admittedly heaven isn’t a particularly big place in contemporary culture. But heaven features widely in the Scriptures of Israel and the early church, and heavenly-mindedness has marked Christian theology through the centuries. Theologians ranging from the patristic to the Puritan eras have sought to reflect on Christian discipleship and formation, on ethics and morality, and…
[Common Places] On Cultural Liturgies: A Theological Analysis
With a new year comes an opportunity to venture into fresh territory with old resolve. For Common Places, this journey begins with a series of books: the Cultural Liturgies project by James K. A. Smith of Calvin College. While he holds the Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, his ongoing series of books has raised a number of significant questions about the place and nature of worldview in the Christian intellectual culture.
The Cultural Liturgies project already includes two volumes. Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation offers a new vision for Christian education and formation that centers around desire, love, and the practices that shape them. Its sequel, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works, seeks to flesh out a philosophical anthropology to…
[Common Places] Endings and Beginnings
As 2015 comes to its conclusion, we mark a year of posts here at Common Places. Much territory has been covered with a number of contributors sharing their insight. And as the year turns to 2016, we anticipate new things. We want to reflect briefly on where we have been and where this column will be going in days ahead.
First, the year of 2015 has seen a number of series appear on Common Places. Our New Voices in Theology series introduced a number of exegetical, historical, and dogmatic works. Each of the books was written by a junior academic, and its significance was expounded by a senior academic in that discipline. We hope that these volumes find their way onto your Christmas lists and facilitate your own pursuit of greater…
[Common Places] Can You Start in Azusa and Still Make It to Nicea? Engaging Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit
Zondervan Academic’s New Studies in Dogmatics series launched this fall with its first volume, Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit, appearing in print in November. We will introduce readers to this work and engage with some of the doctrinal issues addressed therein over a series of four posts here at Common Places. In this final post, Marc Cortez detects apparent dissent between Holmes and one of his conversation partners.
Should theology always “begin” with the Son, or is it ever proper to construct a theological system that takes pneumatology as a fundamental starting point? According to Christopher Holmes, for any theology that seeks to be shaped by the pattern of the eternal triune relations, the answer to the latter half of that question is a clear no. Since the Spirit proceeds from the Son and points…
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Kickoff Reception at ETS Today (11/19/15)
Are you at ETS? This very morning, meet some of the team behind the New Studies in Dogmatics series at our coffee reception:
WHEN: November 19 (2015), 10:00 – 11:00 am WHERE: Zondervan Academic’s booth (#14)
Join us to celebrate the launch of the new NSD series. The first volume, now available for you, is Christopher R. J. Holmes’s The Holy Spirit.
Can’t make it to the reception? We’ll miss you. But here are some articles from our Common Places blog series that you will likely enjoy:
The Holy Spirit: An Interview with Christopher R. J. Holmes by Michael Allen and Scott Swain
Why I Wrote “The Holy Spirit” by Christopher R. J. Holmes
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Barth’s Pneumatology in Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit
Zondervan Academic’s New Studies in Dogmatics series launches this fall with its first volume, Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit, which is now available. We will introduce readers to this work and engage with some of the doctrinal issues addressed therein over a series of four posts here at Common Places. In this third post, Ben Rhodes takes a closer look at Part 3: Engaging Barth: The Other-Directed Spirit. (Click here to read the other posts in this series.)
Christopher Holmes’s writing is an admirable model of patient exegesis, both of Scripture and of the Christian theological tradition. His most recent book, The Holy Spirit, largely consists of careful readings of Augustine, Aquinas, and Barth as they read the Gospel of John (both in…
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: The Holy Spirit—Interview with Christopher R. J. Holmes
Zondervan Academic’s New Studies in Dogmatics series launched this fall with its first volume, Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit, which is now available. We will introduce readers to this work and engage with some of the doctrinal issues addressed therein over a series of four posts here at Common Places. For our second post, we have asked Chris a few questions about his book. (Click here to read the first post in this series.)
You begin your book by addressing the distinction between theology and economy. What benefit does that distinction offer the student of Holy Scripture? What is it meant to do or to prompt us to remember?
Chris Holmes: The distinction between theology and economy maps nicely onto…
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: The Holy Spirit
Zondervan Academic’s New Studies in Dogmatics series launches this fall with its first volume, Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit, appearing in print this month. We will introduce readers to this work and engage with some of the doctrinal issues addressed therein over a series of four posts here at Common Places. In this first post, the author speaks to some of the germinal principles that shape his approach to the topic.
One of the reasons I wrote the book was to think through the matter of origins. Origins is one of the main concerns of Fourth Gospel. Jesus is repeatedly asked, “Where do you come from?” The question of origins is the question of antecedence, specifically the antecedent life of God. I wanted to think through why that life is important to describe in relation…
[Common Places] Engaging with Kate Sonderegger: On Divine Invisibility
“The Lord’s style of language”
One of the theologian’s primary tasks is to assist the church in better understanding what Augustine once called, “the Lord’s style of language.” This task is challenging, not because the Lord employs an esoteric angelic language when he speaks to us, but because he uses ordinary human language to speak of extraordinary things: In Holy Scripture, the Lord speaks of God and all things in relation to God. The first volume of Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology is the product of a theologian well trained in the art of following “the Lord’s style of language.” Therein, Sonderegger offers an account of God’s oneness and perfection that trades upon the correspondence between the Lord’s unique mode of speaking in Holy Scripture and the Lord’s unique mode of being as God.