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COMMENTARY

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Eero Huovinen

It is extraordinary that a statesman and church leader should publish a theological volume of 450 pages on his eightieth birthday. And this is only the first tome; the second will come out if time and energy permit.

In Germany the publisher planned a first edition of 250,000 copies but was forced to print more. Last July saw the fourth edition, a total of 450,000 copies. Last spring the translations into Italian (more than 500,000) and Polish (100,000) were issued. The English and French versions became available in the early summer, and the publisher is planning to bring out thirty-five different languages.

Pope Benedict says he started writing this book while on summer holidays in 2003, continuing it in August 2004: “Since being elected to the episcopal see of Rome [April 2005] I have used every free moment to make progress on the book.” Joseph Ratzinger’s ability to focus is astounding, as there might be other pressing things to do. That which Mr. Tuomioja (former foreign minister of Finland) did as a politician, the pope twenty years his senior did as the shepherd of a billion faithful.1

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Trinity and Exegesis

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Trinity and Exegesis

C. Clifton Black

My thesis in this essay is that a remapping of “biblical theology” as scriptural theology invites forthright reclamation of the church’s canonical resources, especially its doctrine of the Triune God and an appeal to its regula fidei. The pages that follow develop this suggestion for the revitalization of the hermeneutical enterprise, noting some of the problems and prospects along the way.

I. A Place to Read

In an era of academic specialization, it may seem foolhardy for one trained in New Testament exegesis to essay reflections on the Trinity, a subject that continues to daunt professional dogmaticians.1 The risk is nevertheless worth taking, indeed one I feel impelled to take. I write not as a systematic theologian,2 but as a member of the church for which belief in the Trinity is a common property. The catholic scope of the doctrine,3 I will argue, is among the most basic of reasons for Christian interpreters to look to it for hermeneutical guidance. Drawing from the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England (1563–1571), the Methodist Church’s Articles of Religion (1808) stipulate the Trinity as a theological a priori, adherence to which is essential for the affirmation of Christian faith:

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Creedal Formation as Hermeneutical Development: A Reexamination of Nicaea

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Creedal Formation as Hermeneutical Development: A Reexamination of Nicaea

Craig A. Blaising

For over a century, one explanation of the Nicene Creed’s formation has remained dominant: an original primitive Christian faith, subsisting in the form of a baptismal creed, was taken up by the bishops at Nicaea to become the carrier of alien Greek philosophical ideas. Studies of the creed have generally focused on one or the other of the two aspects of this thesis: attempts to clarify the conceptual field of philosophical language thought to be embedded in the creed and efforts to identify more precisely the baptismal creed which served Nicaea as an underlying prototype. In spite of the dominance of this thesis, there are good reasons for discarding it altogether. A new approach can be suggested based on a reevaluation of the source material. Such is the purpose of this article, which argues that the Nicene Creed is best understood as a hermeneutical development of a key biblical confessional framework.

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On the Relationship Between Sanctity and Knowledge: Holiness as an Epistemological Criterion in St. Thomas

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

On the Relationship Between Sanctity and Knowledge: Holiness as an Epistemological Criterion in St. Thomas

Jessica Murdoch

I. Introduction

St. Thomas and the Thomistic tradition that follows him distinguish between natural theology and supernatural, or revealed, theology, a distinction that corresponds to the one that obtains between nature and grace. Natural theology forms both the end and apex of metaphysics, the science of the “wise man”—that is, the science of certain knowledge via knowledge of the causes.1 Thomistic metaphysics is commonly understood to be divided into two parts: general metaphysics and special metaphysics, which includes natural theology. The former considers the meaning of being qua being; the latter takes up the ens Supremum, the highest being or the causa sui, the cause of all being, that is, God. Though metaphysics with its inner moment of natural theology is the science of the wise man, wisdom itself pertains primarily to revealed theology. Sacra doctrina, Thomas notes, is “wisdom above all human wisdom; not merely in any one order, but absolutely,” precisely because it is the highest cause and because it is the knowledge of divine things.2 There is a natural order of knowledge that corresponds to human wisdom and a supernatural order of knowledge that corresponds to revealed truth, which is embodied in the person of Christ, the Wisdom of God.

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Medium 9781442266445

Gratia Non Tollit Naturam sed Perficit

Joseph Mangina Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Gratia Non Tollit Naturam sed Perficit 1

Robert W. Jenson

I

The Thomistic maxim2 which provides the matter of this essay is conventionally translated in some such way as this: “[God’s] grace does not eliminate nature, but rather perfects it.” The maxim is widely accepted in the West, also among Protestants, yet is also the frequent occasion or context of theological and even ecclesial divergence. Such a situation is often a sign that something is amiss with the language of the proposition in question, or perhaps only that it is more complicated than appears at first thought, or perhaps a bit of each. Thus the matter of this essay is not Thomas Aquinas’s theology, but the possibilities and problems of the maxim taken for itself as a piece of discourse—though Thomas will be instanced along the way. The goal is a plausible exegesis of the maxim.

I will be profligate in the discovery of both opportunities and difficulties, to give a general impression of the mixed-species jungle we enter with our title3 and without any intent to deal with them all in one essay—or ever. I should note that my current interest in this jungle is aroused by experience with a group of Princeton Seminary graduate students who meet with me: no matter what text we start with, at some time during the discussion we find ourselves entangled in one or another of the jungle’s thickets.

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