[Common Places] Reading Notes: The Soul

Christina Larsen on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.

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While Christianity is by no means the only faith—nor theology the only discipline—concerned to know the soul, it is because the Christian church confesses the goodness of creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection of the dead that her enquiry is vitally concerned to know the soul as the soul of the embodied saint seeking eternal communion with God as part of the body of Christ. Much of the church’s discussion takes the form of critiques of Greek and Hellenistic conceptions of the soul, though these critiques often remain appreciative in their dissents, recognizing their debts to the Greek and Hellenistic conceptions at a number of points. Here are some key sources for entering into the…

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[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Theological Epistemology

Kevin Vanhoozer on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Open book on wooden deckOne 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 Kevin Vanhoozer introduces classical and contemporary literature related to theological epistemology as a fitting conclusion to our engagement of James K. A. Smith’s Cultural Liturgies project (see here).

 

Epistemology studies the nature, method, sources, and norms of knowledge. Theological epistemology thinks on these things in relation to the knowledge of God. The qualifier “theological” highlights a key question: is the knowledge of God a mere subset of other kinds of knowledge (i.e., general epistemology), or does theological epistemology refer to a way of knowing God, and perhaps other…

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[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Theology of Worship

Sue Rozeboom on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Open book on wooden deck The Christian tradition has ever regarded worship worthy of theological reflection. Though the formal theological sub-discipline of “liturgical theology” did not emerge until the twentieth century, the Christian church has always exhibited an awareness of the significance of exercising theologia secunda—second order reflection—on theologia prima—first order encounter of the living God in worship. When the apostle Paul (1st c.) spoke sharply to folk in Corinth about their lack of Table manners, he was doing liturgical theology (1 Corinthians 10-11). When Basil the Great (4th c.) argued in On the Holy Spirit for the divinity of the Spirit based in part on Trinitarian liturgical tropes, he was doing liturgical theology. Example after example could be offered. Worship…

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[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Theological Anthropology

Ryan Peterson on 2 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]: Reading Notes: Christocentrism

Keith Johnson on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,.

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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…

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[Common Places] Reading Notes: Heavenly-Mindedness

Michael Allen on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

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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).

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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…

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