The seminar on theological criticism focuses on the problem of how constructive theology can make responsible use of historical sources. While it is no longer sufficient to defend one’s theological position by staying within one’s confessional tradition, an eclectic attitude towards historical sources may not be a wise alternative. Without forcing theologians to become historians, this seminar deals with the larger issue of how to select and use one’s source material in such a way that the historical work is methodologically sound and the theological end product accessible, informative and properly constructive.
This year’s version will have a concrete theological critical focus on Eschatology and Embodiment. Starting from the position that incarnation is key to how humans embody the Kingdom of God, one can approach eschatology as a locus for contemplation, but also profitably consider it an intellectual arena for how best to act and be. The seminar will keep these two poles in tension, as we will analyze both historical and contemporary texts. After an analysis of two contemporary thinkers on eschatology and embodiment, with respectively more and less groundedness in historical theological sources (S. Coakley, S. Copeland), two historical presentations of theological sources will be discussed, with and without an eye for contemporary theological interests (D. Turner, P. Brown). A selection of primary historical sources will be read and discussed both as artifacts of history and sources for constructive work.
In the remainder of the seminar students will design and execute a project of their own choosing on Eschatology and Embodiment. These projects will be presented and evaluated both for their theological relevance and their historical groundedness.
Themes that will be highlighted besides action and contemplation are the relationship between mind/soul and body, virtue and affect, protology and eschatology, history and theology, and be enriched by whatever else comes out of the individual student projects.
Ident. THEO 51702, HIST 66001