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John Webster and Dietrich Bonhoeffer are two theologians invested in prioritising certain conceptions of divine transcendence within their respective theological projects. Specifically, both appeal to conceptions of divine transcendence and agency amidst what they understand to be the problematic naturalisation of theological discourse in modern Protestant theology, particularly within its liberal German traditions. The way they understand transcendence, however, and the doctrinal loci they choose to affect it, leads to different conceptualisations of the possibilities, scope and organisation of systematic theology. Where Webster (especially in his later work) seeks to prioritise God's immanent perfection and aseity through theology proper, Bonhoeffer instead emphasises God's freedom pro me within the person of Jesus Christ. These differences in first theological foundations have important consequences for the shape of theological method and doctrinal architecture within the practice of contemporary systematic theology.
This article examines a long-standing association of Martin Luther's christology with that of Cyril of Alexandria. However, for all its heuristic promise, the designation ‘Cyrillian’, must in Luther's case be understood either as an overly generalised statement of a well-established grammar of christology – in which case it simply is Luther's foundation and, as such, explains nothing specific about Luther's christology and, moreover, fails to do justice to the reformer's crucial argumentative moves. Alternatively, when taken for a set of material similarities, the designation is simply inaccurate, for Luther is decidedly not a Cyrillian, despite some fundamental convergences with the thought of the Alexandrian patriarch. Luther's context, as we demonstrate, leads him not only to go beyond Cyril, but also to argue in a manner contrary to Cyril, in order to secure what for both theologians is a realist eucharistic backdrop of their commitment to the Word's incarnation.
This article examines the commonly held conception that Paul was released after his first Roman imprisonment, went to Spain and was eventually reimprisoned and executed in Rome. After examining the available evidence it is concluded that the theory of a release of a release and second imprisonment of Paul is ill founded.
Is the doctrine of providence a guide to interpreting history? The early work of John Milton is optimistic about the possibility of such providential discernment. Milton lived during one of the most turbulent periods of English history and was actively involved in the cause of revolution and social reform. His poems typically centre on moments of historical change that seem to illuminate the ultimate meaning of history. After his revolutionary hopes had been shattered, Milton came to perceive a much more ambiguous relationship between history and providence. What history reveals, he now thought, is mostly a pattern of repetition and decline. Milton ends Paradise Lost with the reflection that belief in providence is not so much a species of knowledge as a practice of life. This article traces Milton's movement from providential optimism to providential pessimism and argues for a conception of history in which even acts of divine intervention do not unambiguously alter the course of history.
This article examines T. F. Torrance's engagement with Catholicism. It uncovers the breadth and depth of his ecumenical spirit, while concurrently shedding light on his own theological development. The article reveals an evolution in Torrance's posture toward Catholicism, moving from fierce criticism to critical praise, with the Second Vatican Council as a watershed in his thinking. His criticism was provoked by what he considered the fundamental problem with Catholicism (namely, the ‘Latin heresy’ in its theology); while his praise was elicited by the evangelical, christocentric, and ecumenical spirit of the Council.
In this article, I argue for the centrality of prayer within Christian interpretation of scripture. This argument is made in two stages. First, Christ on the road to Emmaus is the interpreter of scripture par excellence, such that scriptural interpretation is fruitfully understood as participation in Christ's interpretation of scripture to and for the church. Second, scriptural interpretation must take prayer as central to an appropriate scriptural hermeneutics, since prayer is one way in which the reader of scripture becomes conformed to person of Christ.