theology university humanities

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Theology University Humanities

Author : Christopher Craig Brittain
ISBN : 9781608998159
Genre : Religion
File Size : 30. 31 MB
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This book discusses the relationship between theology and the humanities and their shared significance within contemporary universities. Taking up this complex question, twelve scholarly authors analyze the connections between theology and philosophy, history, scholarly literature, sociology, and law. Cumulatively, these essays make a case for the importance of reflecting on what binds the humanities and theology together. By meditating on ultimate, theological questions, this book brings the issue of the meaning and purpose of university education into a new light, exploring its deep significance for academic pursuits today.

A Theology Of Literature

Author : William Franke
ISBN : 9781532611025
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 55. 33 MB
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With the tools of far-reaching revolutions in literary theory and informed by the poetic sense of truth, William Franke offers a critical appreciation and philosophical reflection on a way of reading the Bible as theological revelation. Franke explores some of the principal literary genres of the Bible—Myth, Epic History, Prophecy, Apocalyptic, Writings, and Gospel—as building upon one another in composing a compactly unified edifice of writing that discloses prophetic and apocalyptic truth in a sense that is intelligible to the secular mind as well as to religious spirits. From Genesis to Gospel this revealed truth of the Bible is discovered as a universal heritage of humankind. Poetic literature becomes the light of revelation for a theology that is discerned as already inherent in humanity’s tradition. The divine speaks directly to the human heart by means of infinitely open poetic powers of expression in words exceeding and released from the control of finite, human faculties and the authority of human institutions. The main title of your book, A Theology of Literature, is rather expansive in scope - it's the title of a manifesto - while the subtitle, The Bible as Revelation in the Tradition of the Humanities, narrows the focus to a particular text. This title seems to adumbrate your conception of the relationship between literature and the Bible. What is that relationship? Picking up on your suggestions, I would say that the book is a manifesto for literature as a revelation of the highest sort of truth of which the human heart and intellect are capable, and at the same time a manifesto for theology as the source and core of traditions of human knowledge. The Bible is taken as an outstanding example of both types of discourse, literature and theology, in some of their most marvelous and miraculous revelatory capacities. In the introduction to your book, you ask, "What is a theological reading of the Bible, and what is a literary reading?" This question suggests different methods, different purposes, different outcomes. But you put forward another way of thinking about the relationship between the theological and the literary. What is that way? The usual idea of the "Bible as literature" is that one can read the Bible just as good literature without presupposing any kind of religious belief. This makes it palatable to many who would otherwise not be interested. My approach, likewise, is to read the Bible for all that it is worth as literature, but I find precisely there the Bible's most challenging and authentic theology. Understanding literature in its furthest purport requires a kind of belief in language and the word. It entails a hopeful, loving, and faithful sort of understanding of what is said, and that already constitutes the rudiments of a theology. This is to take the Bible as an especially revealing example of a humanities text. The greatest of these texts generally contain an at least implicitly theological (or sometimes a/theological) dimension to the extent that they envision the final purpose of life and the meaning of the world as a whole. Whether or not they speak of "God," such texts are in a theological register wherever the unity and origin of existence are in question. Personalizing this origin as "God" is one interpretation that remains inevitable and imaginatively compelling for us, since we are persons. You are not reading the Bible as literature in the same way that many others have been doing over the last several decades (even though Robert Alter, one of the foremost practitioners of that art, appears frequently in the pages of your book). Which aspects of the "Bible as literature" approach are, in your view, problematic, at least for your project, and which do you find of continuing value? The tendency to reduce the Bible to mere literature is the approach that I wish to eschew. I emphasize that the Bible is truly revelatory as literature. This enables us to understand theological revelation, too, in a non-dogmatic sense, as having a much more general human validity. Appreciating the literary qualities and excellence of the Bible remains as crucial to my project as to the traditional approach. However, I stress that these literary features are not merely aesthetic effects or ornaments. They can be revelatory of the real. The ultimately real and true, which exceeds objectification and its inevitable oppositions, cannot be apprehended except through the imagination. When you speak of the Bible as revelation, what do you mean? I mean especially that it enables uncanny insight into the nature of reality as a whole and in its deepest core. Revelation conveys an infinite intelligence of life and of everything that concerns us as humans. I recognize knowledge as "revealed" to the extent that it rises beyond ordinary limits to a degree of knowing that somehow fathoms the whole or total or infinite. This means for many that revelation comes from God. But even before presupposing that we know anything about God, we can simply let revelation emerge from this extraordinary capacity of the mind to transcend itself toward what it cannot comprehend. In certain encounters with others, we can experience an infinite depth of love and life that boggles the mind and exceeds comprehension. It can transform our lives. Theological revelation is a compelling interpretation, handed down over generations in the human community, of this register of experience. You seem to make a distinction between revelation and theological revelation. What is that distinction, and what import does it have for your argument? No, I would rather emphasize the continuity between theological revelation and revelation in a more general, phenomenological sense of things simply coming to be known or openly "disclosed." This is important for keeping theology connected with the rest of human knowledge, although human knowledge itself, all along, has also harbored something that transcends it and all its finite means. I say "all along" because this problematic of the self-transcendence of knowledge towards an extra-worldly Other can be traced to the Axial Age in the middle of the first millennium BCE. Of course, a relationship with the Other who reveals himself or herself or itself as God belongs to the full sense of theological revelation as understood in biblical tradition. I consider this as a degree of revelation of our relationship with others envisaged in its absoluteness. What do you mean when you talk about the "poetic potential" of language? Does all language have such potential, even what we might not typically think of as poetic - or even literary? Language has infinite potential for meaning, and poetic language shows and exploits this potential most intensively. Language can be thought of as beginning with one word like "OM" that means everything all at once. By a process of disambiguation, more limited and specific meanings are differentiated from each other and assigned to different words. However, poetic language reverses this process and allows us to hear the multiple meanings buried in our metaphors and to divine the original unity of meaning in language behind the rationally differentiated senses of words in the language that we pragmatically employ, yet with loss of its potential wholeness of meaning. Your book is concerned with the Bible as a humanities text. What is a humanities text and what does a humanities text do? Might we think of any text as having the potential to be a humanities text, as long as it is read "humanistically"? Yes. Being a humanities text is a matter of how a text is read. But certain texts lend themselves more than others to touching on matters of deep and perennial human concern: life and death and love and war, greed and heroism, suffering and hope for liberation, redemption, etc. You state that, prior to modernity, texts, including the Bible, "exercise[d] sovereign authority in determining [their] own meaning and in interrogating the reader and potentially challenging the reader's insight and very integrity." In secular modernity, by contrast, "texts taken as specimens for analysis are dissected according to the will and criteria of a knowing subject considered to be wholly external to them." What implications have modern, secular readings of the Bible, and of literature more generally, had for human knowledge and, indeed, for human existence; and how does our present time - what you call "the 'post-secular' turn of postmodern culture" - change how we relate to the Bible and literature? The modern, secular era is the era of the individual knowing subject. The self-conscious human subject becomes the ground and foundation of all knowing, emblematically with Descartes's "I think therefore I am" as the inaugural proposition of modern philosophy. Hegel construed the history of philosophy this way. Texts become artifacts created by finite human subjects. Prior to this modern era and its constitutive Narcissism, the creation of the text was a much more open affair. It was not under the control of a unitary finite subject, the author. Human authors could be channels for revelations from beyond their own ken. Readers could explore texts for revelations from a higher authority than just the author's own intention. Augustine's reading the Bible as meaning infinitely more than its presumable human authors, starting with Moses, were able to comprehend is a good example (Confessions, Book X-XIII). You quote John 1:14 ("The Word became flesh and dwelt among us") and claim that this statement "announces a general interpretive principle: the meaning of tradition is experienced only in its application to life in the present." Could you unpack that a bit? Meaning in literature and life is much more than just an intellectual sense or dictionary definition. How words mean for us is rooted in our way of existing in the world. They have to take on our own flesh and dwell in and with us in order to realize their full potential to signify. This fact is conveyed poetically by the doctrine of the Incarnation that is clairvoyantly and beautifully expressed in the Gospel of John. A Theology of Literature largely consists of explorations of the revelatory aspects of varying literary genres in the Bible. You look at mythology, epic, history, prophecy, apocalyptic, literature, poetry, and gospel. In the conclusion of your book, you suggest that "[a]ll of these genres, in some manner, are summed up and recapitulated in the Gospel." This is convenient, since we can't discuss each of these genres in depth. How, in brief, does the Gospel provide such a summation and recapitulation? The gospel is a prophetic word in which the archetypal myth of Genesis and the epic history of Exodus and the words of the prophets are fulfilled by the apocalyptic event of Christ as Savior. It contains the life history of the Redeemer and includes many of his own sayings uttered with all their poetry ("Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin," etc.). It brings all these various forms and genres of revelation to a culmination in a word that exceeds all genres, not least history, in order to recast the mold of meaning and the very meaning of "truth." Its truth is made in being enacted and incorporated by those who believe in it and live it. In the terms of I John 1: 6, these are those who would "do the truth." Your book is able to cover significant portions of the Bible despite its brevity, but of course it can't cover everything. The legal materials are one type of literature that doesn't get extended treatment, so I'm curious how you might understand them as revelatory texts within the tradition of the humanities. The legal materials fundamentally express a relationship with God. They enable Israel to live in fellowship with the Lord and as sanctified by his love. "O Lord how I love thy law!" (Psalm 119: 97) exclaims the psalmist. The legal prescriptions in the Bible reveal God and the way to God in very particular circumstances and social conditions. But the relationship with God that they model is potentially valid in all times and places for those who wish to embrace the law as a gift for living in intimacy with the Almighty. What dangers might accompany the recovery of texts as authoritative sources of truth in our post-secular, postmodern age? How might those dangers, should they exist, be avoided or met? The authority of texts read in the perspective of a theology of literature never exempts the readers from responsibility for the implications and consequences that they draw from the text. The authoritativeness of the infinite potential for meaning that is inherent in these texts is in a dimension of depth that underlies all meanings and all being and all creatures. It does not valorize some over others. These determinations are always made by human beings, and they alone bear the responsibility for their choices and acts. The power and authority of the text resides in its infinite potential before the emergence of any divisive distinctions and oppositions. This type of authority of the text does not absolve humans of responsibility. It rather reveals their infinite responsibility for whatever authority they claim or evoke. They give this authority a determinate shape and particular application that is all their own. They are answerable for whether or not their interpretation respects and protects all creatures and creation. Questions by Chris Benda, Divinity Librarian, Vanderbilt University

The Cambridge Companion To Postmodern Theology

Author : Kevin J. Vanhoozer
ISBN : 9781139826402
Genre : Religion
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Postmodernity allows for no absolutes and no essence. Yet theology is concerned with the absolute, the essential. How then does theology sit within postmodernity? Is postmodern theology possible, or is such a concept a contradiction in terms? Should theology bother about postmodernism or just get on with its own thing? Can it? Theologians have responded in many different ways to the challenges posed by theories of postmodernity. In this introductory 2003 guide to a complex area, editor Kevin J. Vanhoozer addresses the issue head on in a lively survey of what 'talk about God' might mean in a postmodern age, and vice versa. The book then offers examples of different types of contemporary theology in relation to postmodernity, while the second part examines the key Christian doctrines in postmodern perspective. Leading theologians contribute to this clear and informative Companion, which no student of theology should be without.

Aesthetic Theology And Its Enemies

Author : David Nirenberg
ISBN : 9781611687798
Genre : Religion
File Size : 25. 93 MB
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Through most of Western European history, Jews have been a numerically tiny or entirely absent minority, but across that history Europeans have nonetheless worried a great deal about Judaism. Why should that be so? This short but powerfully argued book suggests that Christian anxieties about their own transcendent ideals made Judaism an important tool for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religionÑcharacterized by prizing soul over flesh, the spiritual over the literal, the heavenly over the physical worldÑcame to terms with the inescapable importance of body, language, and material things in this world. Nirenberg shows how turning the Jew into a personification of worldly over spiritual concerns, surface over inner meaning, allowed cultures inclined toward transcendence to understand even their most materialistic practices as spiritual. Focusing on art, poetry, and politicsÑthree activities especially condemned as worldly in early Christian cultureÑhe reveals how, over the past two thousand years, these activities nevertheless expanded the potential for their own existence within Christian culture because they were used to represent Judaism. Nirenberg draws on an astonishingly diverse collection of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the roles played by representations of Jewish ÒenemiesÓ in the creation of Western art, culture, and politics, from the ancient world to the present day. This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways in which Christian cultures have created themselves by thinking about Judaism will appeal to the broadest range of scholars of religion, art, literature, political theory, media theory, and the history of Western civilization more generally.

Intute Arts And Humanities Religion And Theology

Author : Oxford University
ISBN : OCLC:66393737
Genre :
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Christian Theology And The Secular University

Author : Paul A. Macdonald, Jr.
ISBN : 9781317166634
Genre : Religion
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If the secular university by definition is non-sectarian or non-denominational, then how can it accommodate a discipline like Christian theology? Doesn’t the traditional goal of theological study, which is to attain knowledge of the divine, fundamentally conflict with the main goal of secular academic study, which is to attain knowledge about ourselves and the world in which we live? So why should theology be admitted, or even care about being admitted, into secular academic life? And even if theology were admitted, what contribution to secular academic life could it make? Working from a Christian philosophical and theological perspective but also engaging a wide range of theologians, philosophers, and religious studies scholars, Christian Theology and the Secular University takes on these questions, arguing that Christian theology does belong in the secular university because it provides distinct resources that the secular university needs if it is going to fulfill what should be its main epistemic and educative ends. This book offers a fresh and unique perspective to scholars working in the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and religious studies, and to those in other academic disciplines who are interested in thinking critically and creatively about the place and nature of theological study within the secular university.

Protestant Theology And The Making Of The Modern German University

Author : Thomas Albert Howard
ISBN : 9780199266852
Genre : Education
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We are often left, therefore, not only with modern histories of the university short on theology, but stories of modern theology short on university history. The view that the two profoundly hang together is the guiding insight of this study."--BOOK JACKET.

An Introduction To Christian Theology

Author : Richard J. Plantinga
ISBN : 9781316139417
Genre : Religion
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Far from being solely an academic enterprise, the practice of theology can pique the interest of anyone who wonders about the meaning of life. Inviting readers on a journey of 'faith seeking understanding', this introduction to Christian theology - its basic concepts, confessional content, and history - emphasizes the relevance of the key convictions of Christian faith to the challenges of today's world. In the first part, this book introduces the project of Christian theology and sketches the critical context that confronts Christian thought and practice today. In a second part, it offers a survey of the key doctrinal themes of Christian theology - including revelation, the triune God, and the world as creation - identifying their biblical basis and the highlights of their historical development before giving a systematic evaluation of each theme. The third part provides an overview of Christian theology from the early church to the present.

Embodiment And The New Shape Of Black Theological Thought

Author : Anthony B. Pinn
ISBN : 0814767796
Genre : Religion
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Black theology tends to be a theology about no-body. Though one might assume that black and womanist theology have already given significant attention to the nature and meaning of black bodies as a theological issue, this inquiry has primarily taken the form of a focus on issues relating to liberation, treating the body in abstract terms rather than focusing on the experiencing of a material, fleshy reality. By focusing on the body as a physical entity and not just a metaphorical one, Pinn offers a new approach to theological thinking about race, gender, and sexuality. According to Pinn, the body is of profound theological importance. In this first text on black theology to take embodiment as its starting point and its goal, Pinn interrogates the traditional source materials for black theology, such as spirituals and slave narratives, seeking to link them to materials such as photography that highlight the theological importance of the body. Employing a multidisciplinary approach spanning from the sociology of the body and philosophy to anthropology and art history, Embodiment and the New Shape of Black Theological Thought pushes black theology to the next level.

Theology At The University Of Pretoria 100 Years 1917 2017 Past Present And Future

Author : Dirk J. Human
ISBN : 9781928396345
Genre : Religion
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In this scholarly book, a century’s theology presented by the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, is celebrated. All authors are academics or research associates of the University of Pretoria. A historical and futuristic overview with perspectives from the past, present and future, are examined. The past is not only portrayed by means of societal and scientific contributions and achievements, but the authors also reflect on malfunctions, ill behaviour and disappointments of church and theology, presented at the University of Pretoria within the South African context over 100 years. The book commences with a chapter in which institutional transformation is discussed, as well as the changes that demonstrate the role of the Faculty of Theology within a secular state university. It includes an explanation of the importance of research impact, research productivity and research reputation. Among various discipline indicators, the category Theology and Religion Studies plays a significant role in the measurement of world university rankings of universities. With regard to scientific and encyclopaedic content, the book focuses on the theological disciplines presented in the academic curricula: first the biblical sciences (Old and New Testament Studies), then the historical disciplines (Systematic Theology, Church History and Church Polity), and finally the practical disciplines (Practical Theology, Science of Religion and Missiology). The role of Religion Studies in a newly established Faculty of Theology and Religion not only enhances the diversity of interreligious tolerance and an atmosphere of dialogue, but it serves as platform to interconnect with the fields of Humanities, Social and Natural Sciences and other academic disciplines. In the conclusive part of the book, contributions highlight the role of the centres in the Faculty (Centre for Contextual Ministry and Centre for Sustainable Communities), as well as the continental and international footprints of the two theological journals whose title ownership is attached to the Faculty of Theology of the University of Pretoria, namely HTS Theological Studies and Verbum et Ecclesia. The methodology comprised in all the chapters amounts to a literature and contextual study. Since the book describes the histories of formal academic departments, these texts are of a descriptive, interpretative and critical character. Reference is made in some chapters to exegetical methods, like the historical critical methods. The target audience of the book is academic scholars and theologians, who specialise in the different fields of Theology, the Humanities and other Social Sciences. The book is also accessible to scholars of other academic disciplines outside these disciplines. The book comprises original research by several authors and is not plagiarised from other scientific publications of this nature.

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