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Current trajectories in biblical interpretation have increasingly shelved or even attacked historical-critical methodologies, replacing these methodologies with doctrinally grounded (meta)narratives as the primary framework for the interpretation of Scripture. This trajectory is particularly apparent among proponents of the “theological interpretation of scripture” (TIS). These interpretive trajectories tend to be self-referential inasmuch as their primary aim is to buttress the doctrinally grounded narrative framework itself rather than providing any critical function that could move readers beyond ecclesially established horizons. Sandra Schneiders, however, stands out in the field of theology as a potent exemplar of nonreductive critical biblical exegesis, and her performance as an exegete has long anticipated the concerns of TIS. Schneiders' approach marks an important path forward for interpreters of Scripture, one that is critically informed, hermeneutically sound, and both theologically and spiritually fruitful. Schneiders’ own account of the Johannine resurrection narrative may prove helpful and even exemplary for contemporary exegetes and systematic theologians alike.
Despite Pope John Paul II's call for “intense dialogue” between theology and science that excludes “unreasonable interpretations” of Scripture, ecclesial statements on gender and sexuality—including John Paul II's own works—deploy an interpretation of the literal meaning of Genesis to perpetuate a complementarian anthropology that contradicts scientific insights about the human body. After illustrating the implications of this hermeneutical inconsistency, this article presents Jesuit astronomer William Stoeger's theological method and hermeneutics of the full flourishing of life as an alternative approach, which fulfills John Paul II's vision for dialogue and paves a way toward reimagining church teachings on gender and sexuality.
The current article analyzes and evaluates how the explicit Spirit-epicleses in the new eucharistic prayers of the Roman rite image the Holy Spirit. The author demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is usually described in dependence from the Father or the Son (e.g., “his Spirit”) or as the instrument that the Father sanctifies with or through (e.g., “through the Spirit”), and less frequently as actively sanctifying. As we tend to talk about the Holy Spirit's epicletic involvement in a more active way than the epicleses actually do, the author pleads for more accurate language. Further, he wonders what the results of the analysis mean in the light of the Trinity's dynamic complementarity and Geistvergessenheit. Finally, he argues that talking about the Spirit as “artisan” does not inevitably lead to tritheism, as a healthy Trinitarian theology equally promotes both God's unity and three-ness.
Given his insistence on the dual temporal and spiritual spheres in which Christians live in the tension of freedom and service to others, Martin Luther's theological ethics prove paradoxical. This conundrum unfolds at the intersection of Luther's doctrine of justification and consequent Christian freedom (1520), and his doctrine of two kingdoms, which elucidates the complex world in which we live (1523). How is one to live in service to the neighbor as an unconditional subject, love enemies, and uphold justice? This article explores the New Finnish School interpretation of Luther's doctrine of justification as theosis in order to elucidate the Reformer's convoluted ethics. We may ultimately understand Luther's tensive position in terms of the believer's soul united to Christ, thereby becoming a Christ to others albeit, simul justus et peccator, imperfectly. This more fully accounts for Luther's appreciation for the ethical contingencies faced by Christians in everyday life.
One of the demands facing the church is the call for unity with Christians with profound intellectual and physical impairments. As the church becomes a community of justice with and for people with impairments, she is an instrument of God's shalom. However, too many of our sisters and brothers with impairments find themselves on the outside looking in. How can the church continue to move toward a more complete welcome and participation? Responding to this theological question precedes clinical or legal concerns. The best the world has to offer is not what the church needs, though she can learn from reasonable professional approaches. The message and peace of Christ can undo the walls of separation that keep Christians with impairments out. Such a transformation would be a sign that the church is being built up in peace, and would offer a model of true communion among a diversity of people.
Recognizing that thousands of people of color have suffered the many brutalities of racism, the editorial staff of Horizons marks the somber first anniversary of the tragic murder of George Floyd (May 25, 2020) with a pedagogical roundtable considering the possibility or impossibility of teaching antiracism in colleges and universities.
In March 1943, having narrowly escaped Europe three years earlier, Abraham Joshua Heschel published “The Meaning of This War,” his first essay in an American publication. The essay shows, quite remarkably, his full command of literary English. It also shows, as biographer Edward Kaplan remarks, that Heschel “had found his militant voice.” “Emblazoned over the gates of the world in which we live,” the essay begins, “is the escutcheon of the demons. The mark of Cain in the face of man has come to overshadow the likeness of God. There have never been so much guilt and distress, agony and terror. At no time has the earth been so soaked with blood.” Heschel's extraordinary life's witness, his whole body of work, traverses precisely this anthropological and theological knife's edge: The mark of Cain in the face of man has come to overshadow the likeness of God. Where is God? Or better, Who is God? in relation to the rapacious misuse and idolatrous distortion of human freedom? Or simply, Is God?