90 Slices
Medium 9781442252189

Reading Forward: The Old Testament and Retrospective Stance

Mangina, Joseph Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Reading Forward: The Old Testament and Retrospective Stance

Don Collett

Recent years have witnessed the rise of an interpretive model that construes the Old Testament’s literal sense in “Christotelic” terms.1 While the term itself appears to be of recent vintage, the hermeneutical assumptions undergirding this approach to Israel’s Scriptures find expression in a variety of contexts in the history of biblical interpretation.2 The approach is arguably at least as old as the reception history of Paul’s letter to the Romans, in which we learn that “Christ is the end [telos] of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”3 Broadly speaking, two different ways of thinking of Christ in relation to the OT find their origins here, one of which interprets the Greek word telos in terms of the OT’s subject matter (res) or authorizing purpose, and another that glosses the word primarily in terms of an eschatological goal. Because these readings are not mutually exclusive, on one level Christotelic readings of the OT may be interpreted in traditional terms as the belief that the person and work of Jesus Christ is the goal, or telos, of the Old Testament. Christotelism would then be something akin to theological shorthand for the belief that the OT finds its fulfillment in the Incarnation, death, and Resurrection of Jesus who is the Christ, a noncontroversial claim for most Christian readers of the OT. In the hands of its more recent advocates, however, Christotelism is bound up with an eschatological reading of the OT that identifies the OT’s Christological sense with its NT fulfillment. On this approach, the OT’s literal sense does not bear witness to Christ on its own semantic level, apart from the NT, but awaits correlation with the NT’s own witness to Christ before it may be said to be Christian Scripture in more than a telic or eschatological sense.

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Medium 9781538102718

In Search of a Congruent Ecclesiology

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

In Search of a Congruent Ecclesiology

John Rempel

Professor Radner is never boring in his thinking. He is always challenging and occasionally elusive. Two realities related to the legacy of sixteenth-century reform seem to haunt him. One of them is the “indifference” and “disdain” in which non- or nominally religious people hold the doctrines of all the Reformation-era movements. The second reality that haunts him is that these movements have left us with “many Churches and many divided Christians.” From a conventional Protestant viewpoint, this is a bleak reading of the legacy of sixteenth-century reform.

Radner insightfully expands his critique beyond European Christianity. He attributes the phenomenal growth of Pentecostalism to the fact that it is untouched by the “cognitive and doctrinal aspects of post-Reformation institutions.” This could also be said of some kinds of megachurches in North America. If so, is Ephraim simply putting brackets around the Reformation and its five hundred years of tradition? Is there no evidence that the Holy Spirit was at work there?

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Medium 9781442274150

THE FORK IN THE (FINAL) ROAD: UNIVERSALIST AND ANNIHILATIONIST ESCHATOLOGIES—AND WHAT DIVIDES THEM

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

THE FORK IN THE (FINAL) ROAD: UNIVERSALIST AND ANNIHILATIONIST ESCHATOLOGIES—AND WHAT ULTIMATELY DIVIDES THEM

Roberto De La Noval

Alternative eschatologies are on the rise these days. Not that they ever truly disappeared, but recent proponents of nontraditional eschatologies are producing works of great sophistication and theological depth, worthy of renewed consideration. Take, for instance, Paul J. Griffiths’s celebrated recent (2014) work on eschatology, Decreation: The Last Things of All Creatures.1 Here we meet a robust, unshy, fully fleshed out Catholic vision of the traditional four eschata: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. The book manages to be in many respects uncontroversial even while proving itself provocative (an impressive feat in its own right), yet beyond his imaginative reconfiguration of traditional Catholic teaching, Griffiths also accomplishes with his book a sustained and compelling theological argument for annihilationism or conditional immortality. This conclusion of his study rides on the back of a convincing development of Augustinian anthropology and hamartiology. Griffiths argues that Augustine, for all his genius and rigor, simply could not take the final step required by the logic of his own theology to affirm that the final condition for unrepentant sinners is not eternal torment, but rather their final and irrevocable descent into nonbeing—the ultimate endpoint of a miserable history of sin and rejection of God.

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Medium 9781538105849

Liberated by Doctrine

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Liberated by Doctrine

Augustine’s Approach to Scripture in De Doctrina Christiana

Philip Porter

In the opening lines of On Christian Doctrine, Saint Augustine explains the purpose of the work: to lay out “certain precepts for treating the Scriptures which I think may not inconveniently be transmitted to students, so that they may profit not only from reading the work of expositors but also in their own explanations of the sacred writings to others.”1 We encounter from the outset a vision of Christian teaching that prioritizes the role of revelation in the form of sacred Scripture and in the act of receipt, elucidation, and transmission essential to tradition. In this work, Augustine provides a handbook for encountering and examining Scripture with our eyes fixed on the love of God and neighbor. In his account of exegesis, guided by the dual commandment of love, Augustine at once gives license for a delightful freedom of thought that remains soundly rooted in orthodoxy and community. In my own reading I have come to find that an exegete who follows Augustine’s principles is nourished by the faith of the Church, which flows from the living water of Christ, and thus yields bountiful and imaginative displays of allegorical analysis. For this reason, On Christian Doctrine was extremely influential throughout the Middle Ages; it was regarded by the Carolingians as “the preeminent guide for exegetes.”2

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Medium 9781538105856

Dialectic and Analogy in Balthasar’s “The Metaphysics of the Saints”

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Dialectic and Analogy in Balthasar’s “The Metaphysics of the Saints”

Andrew L. Prevot

There is an ongoing ecumenical conversation about the most appropriate Christian “thought-form” (Denkform), whether dialectic or analogy—or, more precisely, about how best to understand and relate these two options, since only the most extreme partisan would wish to exclude one or the other entirely. A number of recent publications have reexamined the “enigmatic rift” between Erich Pryzwara and Karl Barth, two twentieth-century theological friends and sparring partners who continue to be interpreted as figures representing the distinct transcendental commitments of Catholicism and Protestantism respectively.1 Hans Urs von Balthasar’s The Theology of Karl Barth (1951) is widely acknowledged to be a key entry in this discussion, even by scholars who dispute his reading of Barth. I do not attempt to summarize or, for that matter, to settle this debate in this brief article. More particularly, I do not wish to make any historical or exegetical arguments concerning when, or if, any decisive shifts occurred in Barth’s or Przywara’s careers and how this may or may not challenge Balthasar’s narrative in his Barth book. At least for the span of this paper, I would like to encourage a step back from this controversial interpretive terrain in order to focus on the more essential, constructive question about what Christian theologians are to do now with the ideas of dialectic and analogy. Having turned in this forward-looking direction, I do not promise anything like a comprehensive solution. My modest aim is merely to point the discussion toward a neglected text that may help us think through this question and to consider new—and yet perhaps very ancient, forgotten—possibilities for rapprochement.

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