[Common Places] The Promise and Prospects of Retrieval: Recent Developments in Trinitarian Theology
About twenty years ago when I applied from seminary to graduate school, I sent along as my writing sample a seminar paper on current trends in trinitarian theology. Specifically, I submitted a paper critiquing Augustine’s De Trinitate in light of these more recent insights, and I have to tell you candidly that I was pretty rough on old Augustine. In my judgment, he was insufficiently trinitarian: fixated on divine oneness, captive to platonizing presuppositions, inattentive to the real distinctions among the three persons, unable to do straightforward exegesis, artfully dodging the implications of the economy of salvation, and incapable of showing how the doctrine of God’s triunity had any bearing on Christian life and experience, except by indulging in that disastrous quest for analogies that was his chief legacy.
Reader, I harried him.
I’m glad the paper was never published,…
Common Places: A New Forum for Old Conversations
Alexander Solzhenitsyn characterized modern literary and artistic culture as exhibiting “a stubborn tendency to grow not higher but to the side.” The same judgment might be made about much modern theology. There is growth, to be sure, and developments in all manner of technical facets and interdisciplinary conversations. One would have to be a curmudgeon of a particular order not to appreciate the many blessings of life this side of the modern phase of Christian theology.
Has Theology Seen Better Days?
And yet, in many ways, this growth exhibits a sideways drift, not an upward progression. In its attempts to move beyond traditional modes of reflection upon God and the works of God and beyond traditional patterns of biblical commentary and interpretation in order to engage new methods, disciplines, and philosophical approaches to the study of the Bible and…