Sunday, September 04, 2011

Theology Table

We moved to Fayetteville in December of last year, and one of the attractions was Nightbird Books. I love independent bookstores, especially ones with outstanding coffee shops, and Nightbird is spectacular on all counts. In addition, it was neat to see the community being built around books at Nightbird. Some fascinating book groups meet there. It occurred to me that, in the same way some people like to read sci-fi (I do), and others love to read romance, there are likely folks in Fayetteville who geek out over theology. So with that insight, I started putting together a plan to host a Theology Table at Nightbird Books.

The series of books we are reading this fall I've titled "Canon, Creed, and Comparative Theology." Each of the books we are reading looks at how the canon functions, what creeds are, how canon and creed are related to each other, and how this matters for comparative theology. Comparative theology is the study of theologies of various religions out of the specific theological tradition in which one is situated.

I think this Theology Table will be attractive to those who are interested in academic scholarship in theology, and anyone interested in the development of the biblical canon and the creeds. The list of books is idiosyncratic to the one organizing the book discussion (me). These are some of my favorite authors, writing on topics that I think really matter for interfaith dialogue and self-aware theological reflection in the 21st century. 

We start this week discussing Robert Jenson's Canon and Creed, a new book in the Interpretation series of out Westminster John Knox. Interpretation is a longstanding and reputable biblical commentary series. Canon and Creed is the first volume in a series on vital themes of scripture. Robert Jenson, in a contest a few years ago, was ranked in the top five living theologians. He is interesting and enigmatic. His prose "pops." His book will surprise and enlighten you in turns, as he analyzes the development of the biblical canon into its final form, similarly the creeds, and the implications of that development for our understanding of how to read and use the canon and creed in the contemporary life of faith.

Interfaith conversation partners are welcome to this conversation, because your insights will be invaluable to the group in helping us learn how individuals for various religious traditions hear and "overhear" the conversation of those in traditions other than their own.

Thank you to Nightbird Books for the opportunity to sit at table Tuesdays at 5 p.m. I look forward to the great food, coffee, and fellowship.

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