African American liberation theology emerged in the 1960s as a genuinely Christian discourse. Black theology arose in response to divisive questions about the leadership of African American churches in issues such as state violence, civil disobedience and protest against formal apartheid, and extralegal terror. As a result, African American theology has been profoundly shaped by the Christian tradition. This article examines how the Christian tradition influenced the identity, form, and content of African American liberation theology. It first looks at civil rights and how African American liberation theology emerged quintessentially as a struggle over the public meaning of Christianity. It then considers the emergence of the black church and how African American Christians embraced Black Power. It also analyzes the impact of the Christian tradition on the experience of African Americans before concluding with a discussion of womanist theology and the link between black women’s experience and liberation theology.
This chapter explores a plurivocity in the meaning(s) of reason and analogy, and suggests a vocation for analogy if it is to redeem its plurivocal promise. Reason is understood differently depending on which sense of being is in the ascendant. If univocity is in the ascendant, as in modern rationalism, a philosophical and theological feel for what analogy means tends to be weakened. If equivocity comes back, reason goes to school with finesse and is more attentive to figurations of being that elude precise determinations and is more hospitable to the analogical way. Analogy is explored in modern rationalism and empiricism, in Kant’s critical reason, in Hegel’s speculative reason, and in a number of post-dialectical forms. Finally, the chapter suggests there is something metaxological about analogy in trying to be true to the between-space of communication between the finite and the divine.
James D. Tabor
This article focuses on ancient Jewish and early Christian millennialism, which are found to be intrinsically inconsistent—there are no specific pointers towards marking the end of time; messianic figures appear in some texts and not in others; and God is humanized in some while others are exclusively emphatic on the transcendental paradigm. It makes the whole millennialist gamut essentially subjective. The groundwork was laid by the pre-Hellenic invasions of Israel and the context for the emergence of Jewish millennialism was provided by the widespread suppression under Greek emperor Antiochus. This article demonstrates that from the second and third centuries onwards, the trend increasingly tended from literal expressions towards symbolic subjective millennialism, to the extent that the former was considered inferior.
Newman is widely recognized as the greatest preacher in nineteenth-century England, and his Parochial and Plain Sermons as one of the ‘Classics of Western Spirituality’. But although individual sermons have been quarried for the light they throw on Newman’s own religious and intellectual development, studies of the sermons as a whole have tended to treat them a-historically, as an homogenous body of spiritual teaching. Both Newman’s own contemporaries and most subsequent interpreters have assumed or insisted on the allegedly timeless, non-controversial, and universal appeal of his preaching. This chapter, drawing both on the Parochial Sermons and on the large body of Anglican sermons which Newman left unpublished in his lifetime, questions such readings. It seeks to characterize the nine collections of sermons Newman published between 1834 and 1843, and to replace them within their specific contexts in Newman’s own life, and in the unfolding of the Tractarian Movement.
The Anglican reception of Newman was coloured for at least the fifty years following his death by the sense of loss, even betrayal, consequent upon his move to the Roman Catholic Church and his disillusionment with the Via Media ecclesiology of a ‘reformed Catholicism’ that he had advocated as an Anglican. Nevertheless there were those, such as the Anglo-Catholic Lord Halifax, who continued to find inspiration in Newman. Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI both responded positively to his writings, and the shift in ecumenical attitudes in Vatican II brought a renewed Anglican appreciation of him, particularly in the acceptance of the development of doctrine. Appreciation was especially shown in Anglican evaluations on the centenary of Newman’s death, though sometimes mixed with criticism.
The chapter focuses on the nature and character of Anglican wisdom, exploring this in the context of church structures, tradition, and truth. Drawing on a variety of different examples and contrasting wisdom with folly, it argues that, historically and in the present time, Anglican wisdom is rooted in its capacity, in the presence of God, to acknowledge and hold the complexity and contradictions of human life in all its fullness. Lacking the authority structures required to give a single definitive Anglican view on any given subject, wisdom in the churches of the Anglican Communion continues to emerge through an ongoing, collective, often fraught act of listening to God.
Anglicanism from the time of the Reformation has been characterized by a persistent interest in the Fathers of the church which joins authorities as diverse in date and disposition as Cranmer and Pusey or Jewel and Newman. While both the methods of reading and the conclusions drawn from considering patristic sources have varied greatly, Anglicans of different tendencies have tended to value the Fathers such as Augustine both as representing a Catholic consensus opposed to Roman and Puritan extremes, and as uniquely useful sources for theological discourse, constructive or controversial. Even where the authority of the Fathers is not regarded as theologically unique, the characteristics identified as necessary in a Church both catholic and reformed have tended to be drawn from the practice and belief of ancient Christianity, as in the Quadrilateral. Anglicanism is less a tradition characterized by confessional adherence to the Fathers as by consistent acknowledgement of its historical basis in the early Church in terms of both doctrine and dogma.
This article describes emerging patterns in Anglo-American philosophy that represent radical breaks from the thought patterns of Enlightened modernity, and spells out consequences of these changes for the theology–science dialogue. The rationale is based on the relation that philosophy bears to the rest of culture. The discussion describes new moves in three traditional branches of philosophy: metaphysics, philosophy of language, and epistemology. It contends that, beginning half a century ago, whole clusters of terms in each of these domains have taken on new uses, and that these changes have radical consequences for all areas of academia. The discussion notes their actual and potential contributions to the dialogue between theology and science.
Clark H. Pinnock
In Christian theology, annihilationism designates the views of those who hold that the finally impenitent wicked will cease to exist after (or soon after) the last judgment. Annihilation is a term designating theories which contend that human beings may pass or be put out of existence altogether. The theories fall into three classes: pure mortality, conditional immortality, and annihilation proper. Alongside the large number of texts that depict hell as a place of death and destruction, there is some countertestimony too. There are three texts in particular, one in the Gospel of Matthew and two in the Book of Revelation, which need comment because they are cited as proof texts of the traditional opinion. Scripture aside, belief in the nature of hell as everlasting conscious punishing remains solidly traditional, which means that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the reformers in this matter.
Bonhoeffer’s theological anthropology begins not with the isolated individual, nor with an understanding of ‘human being’ in general, but with the call of the other that summons the human being into free responsibility. It also begins in the middle of the human story—with created, fallen, and redeemed humanity receiving its identity through the encounter with Christ. In this chapter I connect the anthropological themes of Bonhoeffer’s poetry from prison with his wider theological project. I indicate how Bonhoeffer’s anthropology connects him to key ongoing debates in philosophy and theology, and opens up critical conversations with Bonhoeffer around gender and around human uniqueness.
In the Old Testament, apocalyptic literature (or simply ‘apocalyptic’, as the genre is often called) might not seem to occupy a prominent place. Only the book of Daniel falls into this category. Despite its poor representation in the Bible, apocalyptic literature is not a fringe activity; nor are its contents peripheral to an understanding of Judaism (or Christianity, for that matter). This article focuses on the book of Daniel, the main Old Testament exemplar, and the book of 1 Enoch, which contains the earliest and in many respects most important Palestinian Jewish apocalypses.
The term ‘apocalypse’ denotes a particular literary type found in the literature of ancient Judaism, characterized by claims to offer visions or other disclosures of divine mysteries concerning a variety of subjects, especially those to do with the future. Cataclysmic events described in these texts are often labelled ‘apocalyptic’ because they resemble the world-shattering events described in John's visions in the book of Revelation. There is only one apocalypse in the Hebrew Bible, the book of Daniel, though the discovery of fragments of an Enoch apocalypse among the Dead Sea Scrolls suggests that apocalyptic was a widespread phenomenon in Second Temple Judaism. The concern with human history and the vindication of Israel's hopes echo prophetic themes, several of which have contributed to the language of the book of Revelation, particularly Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah.
Apocalyptic phenomena and discourses run as a thread through Jewish, Christian, and Muslim history, playing a lead role during times of transition and ferment. Apocalyptic phenomena announce not only ‘the end’ but the completion of history and an essentially better world to come, and may therefore be seen as radical optimism, the product of a profound discontent with present conditions. Although Apocalypticism frequently played a role in political upheavals, apocalyptic discourse has been used also by conservative elements; theologically, apocalyptic arguments can pose a solution for problems of theodicy. In the Abrahamic traditions, apocalyptic discourse frequently concerns a messiah as well as a counter-messiah as lead figures in the events of the eschaton. Apocalypticism continues to this day, as most of the groups usually labelled religiously radical or fundamentalist in the Abrahamic traditions see themselves as actors in an apocalyptic drama.
In Greek forensic usage, an ‘apology’ (apologia) is a formal speech on behalf of the defendant. The first surviving works to bear this title professed to be records of the speech delivered by Socrates in reply to a capital charge in 399
Jan Marten Ivo Klaver
John Henry Newman’s autobiographical Apologia pro vita sua is generally seen as the book that rehabilitated his public reputation for integrity. This chapter retraces Newman’s handling of Kingsley’s initial accusation, and delineates the subsequent genesis of the book. The chapter looks in detail at how his contemporaries reacted in the press to its contents, and argues that modern critics have been blinded by Newman’s eloquence. The nineteenth-century reception of Apologia shows that, although early critics generally approved of Newman’s sincerity, they still remained highly critical of his theological ideas. The chapter also examines the limits and conditions of autobiographical writing in general and how Newman used the genre as a strategy to vindicate his name. Lastly, it addresses the way recent scholarship has changed the modern perception of the Apologia.
This essay aims to explain what Aquinas does and does not mean when using the word ‘God’. It also tries to explain why Aquinas thinks it reasonable to conclude that God exists and how Aquinas can be compared and contrasted with certain thinkers both agreeing and disagreeing with this conclusion. The essay places emphasis on Aquinas’s notion of esse and on the fact that he consistently asserts that we do not know what God is.
J. Rebecca Lyman
Although the teachings of Arius of Alexandria sparked a series of theological debates and church councils in the fourth century concerning the nature and redemptive activity of God, scholars share a slim consensus as to the origins and content of his teaching. In 325, for the first time, the adjudication of Christian controversy took the form of a council including the Roman emperor Constantine at the lake-side town of Nicaea. Arius, the theologian condemned at Nicaea, became the archetypal heretic; ‘Arianism’ thus became the archetypal heresy, which denied the saving divinity of Christ, and therefore essential Christian identity. The broadening of the study of ‘Arianism’ to examine questions of asceticism, spirituality, and liturgy reflects different historiographical concerns. This article reviews recent studies of Arius and non-Nicenes from the outbreak of the controversy to the conversions of the tribal peoples in the western empire.
Whether we are trying to judge issues of immediate interest or fathom matters of long-standing concern, history gives us the key for understanding the complex and often tangled relationship of evangelicalism to the arts. We need the help of that history for two reasons, the first of which is that the story of the evangelical engagement with the arts has largely been one of action and adaptation rather than one of theory and reflection. A second reason has to do with the fact that evangelical Christianity and the contemporary arts are fluid realities rather than fixed entities. Throughout their history, evangelical Christians have faithfully borne witness to what Karl Barth calls the “covenant of grace,” and in works of mission and mercy they have brought the message of the cross into virtually every culture and corner of the world. This article discusses the relationship between evangelicalism and the arts. It also examines Romanticism, Reformation, Protestantism, modernism, and fundamentalism as well as the resurgence of the relationship between evangelicalism and the modern arts in the mid-twentieth century.
It is unquestionable that Maximus’ own experience of ascetic life and immersion in ascetic literature profoundly shaped his theological vision and endeavour. This chapter attempts to remain alive not only to specific texts that impressed themselves on Maximus but also to the whole monastic orientation of his life’s work. Plested considers the impact of sources such as Diadochus of Photice, the Macarian writings, the desert Fathers, the Gaza ascetics, and Evagrius of Pontus. His interaction with such sources will be dealt with in terms both of specific connections and overarching synthesis. Attention will be paid to the ascetic genre of much of Maximus’ work (for example, the ‘centuries’ format). Some attempt will also be made to indicate in what manner his ascetic foundations helped determine some of his principal theological positions.
This article explores an abstract concept, ‘asceticism’. Two obstacles immediately present themselves to an overview of the role of asceticism in shaping early Christian studies: the lack of a clear definition of asceticism and the ubiquity of the topic in both ancient sources and modern scholarship, especially in the past 35 years. Letters, hagiographies, homilies, even acts of councils all participate in the construction of an asceticism that was a central concern of Christians in late antiquity. To chart the shifts in the study of asceticism is to follow as well the major changes in the field from ‘patristics’ to ‘early Christian studies’. Asceticism is the means by which historians of early Christianity confront central methodological issues in investigating discourses, power, social relations, the body, and all the attendant current concerns of the construction of the self and society.