25 November 2007

new website additions

I've added two new items to my writings on my website that may interest some folks.

The first item is a lecture that I gave at the Patristics, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference at Villanova University several weeks ago, where it seemed well-received both at the time and in some subsequent discussion. I've retitled it (somewhat provocatively) as "Inventing 'the Bible': Revelation, Theology, Phenomenon, and Text."

The talk is exploratory more than definitive and not particularly ground-breaking. Nevertheless, in it I seek to trace out connections in relation to Scripture between [1] the shift to modern printed, bound texts, [2] changes in the theological concept of revelatio, and [3] developments in hermeneutics away from medieval exegesis.

Since I pulled the lecture together rather at the last minute (though as the culmination of much reading and thought), I didn't have to time to provide footnotes, which wouldn't show up in a lecture format in any case. Instead, I've included some general references to primary texts parenthetically in the main body and a bibliography of works consulted appended to the end. (It also has more than a few typos and infelicities that I'll have to smooth out at first opportunity.)

The second item is a set of two lectures I gave several years ago in Japan and subsequently in several other formats here in the States. These lectures are entitled "No Shadow of Turning: Classical Theism and the Openness of God." I've retained the lecture format somewhat, though there are copious footnotes.

In these lectures I seek to clear up what strike me as some misunderstandings and caricatures of classical theism, positively explicating the notion of God as "pure act" where that has a thoroughly trinitarian character.

My contention is that the concerns of open theists are well-founded with regard to how God manifests himself in the biblical text, over against some theological formulations, and we need to take them seriously. Yet, I wish meet the concerns of the open theists while retaining classical theism.

My lectures attempt to navigate this tension by giving due weight to the notion that Jesus on the cross is the climax of God's self-disclosure and thus shows us something of who God is in himself. Yet, this revelation is analogical in character, so that while God must surely embrace the sufferings of his creatures, he nonetheless does so as an impassible God of all compassion.

I think the lectures would have been better had I given greater attention to christology in addition to trinitarian theology, but I'll leave them as they stand at present and hope they are still helpful, though they address matters that surely exceed our abilities to finally grasp.