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Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction

Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction. Chapter 5 Getting Started Preliminaries. Defining Theology . A working definition of theology Sources Development Relationships Applications The historical development of the idea of theology Early Christianity and polytheism

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Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction

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  1. Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction Chapter 5 Getting Started Preliminaries Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  2. Defining Theology • A working definition of theology • Sources • Development • Relationships • Applications • The historical development of the idea of theology • Early Christianity and polytheism • The doctrine of God • The discipline of sacred learning • Religious studies • The development of theology as an academic discipline • The founding of universities in western Europe, 12th century • A theoretical or a practical discipline? • Justification of the place of theology in universities Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  3. The Architecture of Theology • Biblical studies • Knowledge of Jesus Christ • Debated relationship between biblical studies and systematic theology • Systematic theology • Clear and ordered overview of main ideas of Christian faith • Organization around a particular method • Philosophical theology • Clarification of Christian ideas • Critical reactions: Tertullian and Karl Barth • Historical theology • Connection between historical/social context and theology • Provisional or conditional elements in theology • Pastoral (practical) theology • Edward Farley and Don S. Browning • Spiritual or mystical theology • Thomas Merton (1915-68) Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  4. The Question of Prolegomena • Prolegomena = “forewords” (where to begin?) • Starting-point in basic human experience: • F.D.E. Schleiermacher: “feeling of absolute dependence” • Paul Tillich: “method of correlation” • Karl Rahner: urge to transcend limitations of human nature • Critique: Karl Barth • Prolegomena as “the things that must be said first in theology” • The doctrine of the Word of God • Reaction against preoccupation with method Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  5. Commitment and Neutrality in Theology • Arguments for detachment and neutrality • Detachment is necessary to avoid prejudice in the quest for truth • A critical environment forces one to ask hard questions • Arguments for commitment • Liberation theology: truth demands commitment • All scholarship has precommitments and presuppositions • Christian theology arises in response to the faith of a community • Seminaries and “faculties of religion” Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  6. Orthodoxy and Heresy • Historical aspects • Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity • Early tolerance of diverse views • Power of the Roman church to impose its views • Criticism of Bauer’s hostility to doctrinal norms • Theological aspects • F.D.E. Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith • Fundamental notion of God’s redemption of humanity through Christ alone • Inadequate understandings of redemption: • Ebionitism • Docetism • Pelagianism • Manichaeism Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  7. The Theology of the Relation of Christianity and Secular Culture • Justin Martyr (c.100-c.165) • Christianity and Platonism • Tertullian (c.160-c.225) • What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? • Augustine of Hippo (354-430) • Critical appropriation of classical culture • H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962) • Christ against culture • Christ of culture • Christ above culture • Christ and culture in paradox • Christ the transformer of culture Wiley-Blackwell 2010

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