[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Theological Anthropology

Ryan Peterson on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Open book on wooden deck Some of the most influential works in theological anthropology are books not primarily about theological anthropology. For example, Irenaeus’s Against Heresies and Athanasius’s On the Incarnation provide overarching narratives that reveal the logic of the gospel from a specific vantage point. A key aspect of these accounts is the anthropological material—they rehearse and interpret the creation of human persons, the fall of humanity into sin, the means and effects of human reconciliation with God, and the union with God that comes from this reconciliation. Both works provide a compelling narration of the Christian gospel aimed at leading readers to the God of the gospel. Irenaeus and Athanasius model theological anthropology in action, showing why the most compelling Christian anthropologies have been developed in works focused…

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[Common Places]: James K. A. Smith and Augustinianism (Part 2)

Matthew Drever on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

the-vision-of-st-augustine-from-the-altarpiece-of-st-barnabas(1).jpg!Blog

As we saw in the previous post, Smith claims an Augustinian starting point. But the phenomenological framework he uses leads to basic differences with Augustine and the Platonist framework he utilizes. These differences compound when we turn to a more detailed examination of Smith’s cultural liturgies project. We see this, for example, in Smith’s use of imagination, which he draws on to replace conscious, rational thought as the primary bridge between our wider reality and our subconscious desires. While Augustine acknowledges that imagination mediates between the world and our experience of it, it is for him as much a liability as a benefit. The imagination can be productive and beneficial as, for example, in his discussions of the incarnation, the goodness of material creation, and the vital role of…

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[Common Places]: James K. A. Smith and Augustinianism (Part 1)

Matthew Drever on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

the-vision-of-st-augustine-from-the-altarpiece-of-st-barnabas(1).jpg!Blog

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…

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