To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The parable which we know as as ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son’ and which the Germans call ‘Das Gleichnis vom verlorenen Sohn’ is the best loved of all Jesus' parables. It has given inspiration to Rembrandt and countless other artists. It has provided the theme for novels, ballet and film. It touches the human condition like no other story. It holds a mirror up to ourselves, whether we identify ourselves with the returning prodigal or see those around us unmasked as the elder brother. The parable has been examined by the best exegetes of the past and present.
The veil of the temple was woven from blue, purple, crimson and white thread, and embroidered with cherubim (2 Chron 3.14); the veil in the tabernacle had been similar, (Exod 26.31; 36.35). It was a valuable piece of fabric, and both Antiochus and Titus took a veil when they looted the temple (1 Mace 1.21–2; BJ 7.162). In the second temple it was some two hundred square metres of fabric; when it contracted uncleanness and had to be washed, three hundred priests were needed for the job (m. Shek 8.4–5). Josephus says it was a Babylonian tapestry (BJ 5.212), a curtain embroidered with a panorama of the heavens (BJ 5.213). The veil separated the holy place from the most holy (Exod 26.33), screening from view the ark and the cherubim or, in the temple, the ark and the chariot throne. We are told that only the high priest entered the holy of holies, once a year on the Day of Atonement.
Norman Malcolm, whose Memoir is an important primary source for the life of his teacher, wrote just before his own death a second brief work, Wittgenstein: A Religious Point of View?, that provides extended evidence of Wittgenstein's enduring Christian commitment. Yet Malcolm could see nothing more than analogies between his religious attitude on the one hand and his attitude to philosophical questions on the other. William Warren Bartley, III, a philosopher interested in biography, placed more stock in his own long-distance psychoanalysis of two of Wittgenstein's reported dreams than he did in the concrete Christian particularity of a life that he correctly labeled an amalgam of ‘ethical activity and practical philosophy’. James C. Edwards acknowledged his subject's imitatio Christi and ‘religious sensibility’ but reduced these to a generic ethics, oddly suppressing Wittgenstein's own standard Christian terminology—barely noting that he read the Christian Gospels, was converted to follow the way of Jesus, and (with some eccentricity) lived a faithful Christian life and died a Christian death. What would it be, then, to take a more fully integrated view of Wittgenstein's life and work—to consider him as a Christian in philosophy?
One Tuesday afternoon in June of 1936, the newly installed Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at Cambridge set out to deliver his inaugural lecture (Dodd 1936). As he stepped up to the podium, his subject stretched out before him in a wide open vista, clear and uncluttered, inviting him to enter into the inheritance of a century or more of successful scientific investigation. The man was C.H. Dodd; his title, ‘The Present Task in New Testament Studies’.
In his oft-cited article, ‘God Was Accommodating Himself to Human Capacity’, Ford Lewis Battles makes the following claim:
It may be that we have succumbed to the temptation of putting the concept of accommodation too much at the center of Calvin's thought and of trying to organize everything around this notion. Yet, if this be a faithful interpretation, accommodation would seem (even when Calvin does not explicitly advert to it) his fundamental way of explaining how the secret, hidden God reveals himself to us.
Hell is a doctrine that has always had its uses. The range of those uses can be conveniently traced by examining a passage from Cold Comfort Farm, the comic novel by Stella Gibbons, first published in 1932. The novel is set in rural England during the third decade of the twentieth century, a time when automobiles were not entirely unknown but not yet widely in use. The scene to be examined involves Flora Poste and Amos Starkadder. Flora is a young, sophisticated woman who has gone to visit her relatives in the country, and Amos is her gray-haired, grizzled cousin, a Scotsman who lives on the farm with other kinfolk and who serves as a lay preacher in town at the Church of the Quivering Brethren. Flora accompanies Amos to a preaching service one evening. They arrive by horse and buggy, enter the hall, and take their seats. Flora sits in the back near the exit, Amos by the platform up front.
If theological ethics speaks about man, it does not have in view man as he understands himself but man as he knows that he is understood, as he finds himself addressed by the Word of God that has come to him.
The territory indicated by my title is impossibly vast, and some delimitations are in order at the beginning. What follows does not attempt any kind of thorough or nuanced historical analysis of the great tangle of issues to which the terms of the title refer. ‘Hermeneutics’ and ‘modern theology’ don't exist as simple entities; the terms are shorthand ways of identifying very complex traditions of thought and cultural practices, and a serious attempt to trace those traditions and the variations in their relationship would be little short of a history of Western Christian thought since the rise of nominalism. What is offered here is more restricted and precise, chiefly an essay in Christian dogmatics. At its simplest, my proposal is that the Christian activity of reading the Bible is most properly (that is, Christianly) understood as a spiritual affair, and accordingly as a matter for theological description. That is to say, a Christian description of the Christian reading of the Bible will be the kind of description which talks of God and therefore talks of all other realities sub specie divinitatis. There is certainly an historical corollary to this proposal — namely, the need for some account of why the dominant traditions of Western Protestantism (and more recently of Western Catholicism) have largely laid aside, or at least lost confidence in, this kind of dogmatic depiction of the church's reading of the Bible, replacing it with, or annexing it to, hermeneutical theory of greater or lesser degrees of sophistication and greater or lesser degrees of theological content.
Doctrines of the atonement in Christian theology, as Marlin E. Miller has pointed out, ‘usually limit their concern to reconciliation with God and, at most, consider reconciliation with others a secondary consequence of reconciliation with God’. Too often, in other words, the vertical aspect of reconciliation is allowed to overshadow its horizontal aspect. The vertical aspect of the atonement as it pertains directly to God is often treated in isolation as if its ethical implications were of no great importance. The reverse defect, however, would also appear to be widespread. Christian ethics as we know it today often seems to proceed as if the atoning work of Christ were of little or no relevance to its deliberations on human affairs. The social or horizontal aspect of reconciliation thereby eclipses its vertical aspect. Yet if the cross of Christ is indeed the very center of the center of the Christian gospel, as the church has historically believed, then how can it fail to determine the substance of Christian ethics as well as that of Christian theology? Moreover, how can the centrality of the cross fail to orient them both in any attempt to specify their inner unity, order and differentiation?
Vaclav Havel in a speech in 1989 speaks of the ‘weird fate’ which ‘can befall certain words’.
At one moment in history, courageous, liberal-minded people can be thrown into prison because a particular word means something to them, and at another moment, the same kind of people can be thrown into prison because that same word has ceased to mean anything to them, because it has changed from the symbol of a better world into the mumbo jumbo of a doltish dictator.
Our topic is theology and music — the conjunction expressing the modest hope that some useful demarcations and interactions maybe identifiable here. We are in no position to attempt, even in outline, a theology of music. Theologies of lay claim to a non-theological field in its entirety; they attempt to annex it, to re-establish it on what are taken to be its authentic theological foundations. They tend to find their most congenial subject-matter outside the normal sphere of the theological disciplines. But no theological annexation of music is conceivable or desirable. The question is rather whether any theologically worthwhile relationship between the two disciplines can be established at all. To pose this problem in its strongest form, I shall have little to say here about the use of music within the Christian community and its worship, confining myself to the more-or-less ‘secularized’ music of the European classical tradition of the past three hundred years or so. And I shall omit all consideration of the broader topic of ‘theology and the arts’. It does not seem particularly helpful to assume that such diverse practices as music, sculpture and drama are best considered in parallel to one another.
About ten years ago, just before his death, Hans Frei added a new section, ‘Convergence’, to essay bearing the main title ‘Barth and Schleiermacher’, which has appeared in print more recently. In the proposal that gave its name to Types of Christian Thought, Frei stated the convergence in another way. Barth and Schleiermacher represented theologies of adjoining rather than opposing types in Frei's array.
Did Justin Martyr really have a conversation with Trypho the Jew as he states that he did in his Dialogue with Trypho? And even if he did not, does this text, indirectly at least, give evidence of genuine contact between Christians and Jews? When Tertullian in his Adversus Judaeos reviled Jews for their failure to understand the scriptures in the way he did, was he in fact reviling Jews known to him who actually disagreed with him? Or put another way, do the accusations he makes against Jews give evidence of an ongoing debate with that ancient community?
A current emphasis in theological anthropology is that we become persons through our relations to others. Ethically valuable and pastorally illuminating insights that as persons we develop in relation to others have been used wrongly to underpin the claim that personhood is relational — a claim which is logically confused and ethically precarious. Alistair I. McFadyen, whose book The Call to Personhood has been influential in this respect, describes personhood as the ‘sedimentation’ of interpersonal relations. Elaine L. Graham places the stress on cultural interaction as a prerequisite for the development of beings into persons. In her study of gender and personhood, Making the Difference, Graham argues that her ‘relational’ account of gender is ‘suggestive of a model of human nature as profoundly relational, requiring the agency of culture to bring our personhood fully into being’. The potential ethical danger behind a view of personhood as relational is apparent from statements made by Vincent Brümmer in his volume The Model of Love, to the effect that ‘both our identity and our value as persons is constituted by our relations of fellowship with others’.
The title of this article contains a paradox which I have chosen deliberately and the meaning of which will become clear during the course of it. The topic is ‘Women in Dissent’. A number of meanings could be attributed to this title. It could either be understood as ‘Women in the dissenting or non-conformist tradition’ or it could mean ‘dissenting women’ which is the option I have chosen. I want to discuss whether or not feminism, or to be more precise, feminist theology, can be understood as a form of dissent or in what respects it differs from the forms of dissent that would normally be studied in the dissenting or non-conformist tradition.
In 1993 Frank Press, President of the United States Academy of Sciences estimated that in a typical year ie. one without a major catastrophe on the scale of the Kobe earthquake or Sahel droughts, some 250,000 people will die and losses of US$40 billion will result from natural disasters (Press 1993). In recent years much has been written about the physical causes of and human responses to natural disasters (see: Hewitt, 1983a, 1983b; Alexander, 1993; Chester 1993; Blaikie et al. 1994 and Chester et al. 1996, for extensive bibliographies), and this vast literature reflects increasing concern over disaster losses and a growing realization that most losses are preventable. Prompted by this concern the United Nations has designated the nineteen-nineties the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, or IDNDR. With the exception of a training manual for foreign mission workers published by the Evangelical Interchurch Relief and Development Alliance (Davis and Wall 1992), trenchant reflections by Austin Farrer (1966) and limited treatment in works focusing on wider ecotheological issues (eg. Russell 1994: 35–50), theologians have been conspicuous by their absence from what is now a global debate on natural disasters and their mitigation.