The purpose of this course is to introduce students to representative examples of major approaches to theological study in the contemporary world, engaging the categories of overall systematic outlook, historical change, Scripture, the theological discipline, ecclesial reality, cultural specificity, and mission. We will probe these themes through a careful reading of select texts by major contemporary theologians, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. Among the issues to be addressed are: how have the Enlightenment and other aspects of modernity exerted pressure on theologians to clarify their method? What is the relation of methodological reflection in theology to the being/character of the triune God? Does every method have its corresponding metaphysics? How shall theology and philosophy be related? What role does Scripture play in the process of theological reasoning, and how does it relate to the doctrines and tradition(s) of the church? By the end of the course students will be able to describe accurately some of the many and complex senses of theological â€œmethodâ€; relate these to matters of substantive Christian teaching; and be better equipped to confidently articulate their own theological visions, which they will do in a preliminary fashion in the final assignment.
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