Sunday, September 11, 2011

Can I convince you to start reading theological quarterlies?

Am I allowed to gush over a theological quarterly? The new issue of Pro Ecclesia is reason to. Recent issues have begun to coalesce a theme or symposium that takes up a majority of the issue. In this case, there are two. First, a "Symposium: Karl Barth on Christology and Metaphysics." In this section, they have invited Thomas Joseph White, O.P. to examine classical Christology as it has developed through Schliermacher and Barth from a Thomistic perspective.

I know, you've been waiting up late at night for the arrival of a resolution of certain developments in Christology after Schliermacher and Barth, and had assumed a Thomistic perspective would do the trick. Am I right?

But here's what's so wonderful about the way Pro Ecclesia has addressed this. They've done it like the academic journal version of a blog. White writes his essay. Then Keith Johnson responds to the essay. Then White responds to Johnson. And Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt analyzes the developing dialogue between the two.

Of course Pro Ecclesia accomplishes all this in the manner readers of the journal have come to expect. The conversation is intentionally embedded in academic theological discourse with a heavily Roman Catholic (read Thomistic) bent. But that makes the conversation all that more energizing, because even if you are not yourself a Thomist, you get to listen in on the conversation. This is really the kind of stuff that feeds my preaching and teaching as a pastor. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Then, the review section this time focuses on Stanley Hauerwas's outstanding theological memoir, Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir. Pecknold successfully pulls off a review essay that is an "Augustinian" reading of this memoir (think Augustine's Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)). Other reviews of recent books by or about Hauerwas include: The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God (Illuminations: Theory & Religion)Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations between a Radical Democrat and a Christian, and Unsettling Arguments: A Festschrift on the Occasion of Stanley Hauerwas's 70th Birthday

By the time you finish this issue of Pro Ecclesia, you have a more thorough grasp of the differing perspectives on Christology in Schliermacher, Barth, and Aquinas. You have read critical and engaging reviews of recent work by perhaps North America's most famous theologian--Hauerwas. And best of all, you know a bit more about why both of these topics matter. Have I convinced you yet?

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