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CHRIST’S “SYMPHONIC” OBEDIENCE: EXPLORING HANS URS VON BALTHASAR’S ARCHETYPAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH HAN CONFUCIANISM

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CHRIST’S “SYMPHONIC” OBEDIENCE: EXPLORING HANS URS VON BALTHASAR’S ARCHETYPAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH HAN CONFUCIANISM

Joshua R. Brown

INTRODUCTION

This essay explores how Hans Urs von Balthasar’s conception of Christ’s archetypal experience involves the exemplarity of his filial obedience.1 I argue Balthasar develops an implicit taxonomy of obedience with Christ as the apical “symphonic” obedience in contrast to creaturely and covenantal forms of obedience. By “symphonic,” I mean the attunement of all the parts within a whole—within Jesus, his obedience, his love of God, and existence are all perfectly attuned to one another. Thus, Jesus’s life shows us a “symphonic” obedience wherein all the parts are distinct, yet “sound together” in seamless harmony. Moreover, I mean to show how Balthasar’s attention to this aspect of Jesus is particularly steeped in the filial nature of the Incarnation, and hence his filial obedience is the uniquely symphonic form.

Joshua R. Brown, Loyola University Maryland, Dept. of Theology, 4501 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21210. E-mail: jrbrown@loyola.edu.

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ORIGEN AND THE COUNCIL OF YHWH: A CASE STUDY IN THEOLOGICAL–CRITICAL INTERPRETATION

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ORIGEN AND THE COUNCIL OF YHWH: A CASE STUDY IN THEOLOGICAL–CRITICAL INTERPRETATION

James W. Haring

AN UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIP

Modernity typically casts critical biblical scholarship and “pre-critical” biblical exegesis as antagonists. These stock characters have begun to disintegrate, and here I offer an example that rescripts them as unwitting partners. Both, in fact, have a substantial commonality: they confront modern readers with something foreign. If early Christian biblical interpretation is foreign to modern sensibilities in its use of allegory and its detection of spiritual meanings, modern biblical scholarship often brings into relief just how foreign the Scriptures are when understood on their own terms and in their own context. Thus, it is ironic, but perhaps unsurprising, to find that when biblical scholars uncover the strangeness of the (often implicit) worldview of the authors of the Hebrew Bible, it sometimes cancels out the strangeness of early biblical interpreters. What emerges is that the strangeness of these early interpretations was sometimes linked not to a failure to read the biblical texts perceptively, but to the cultural and intellectual proximity of early interpreters to the very strangeness of the biblical texts themselves.

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AQUINAS AND SUPERSESSIONISM ONE MORE TIME: A RESPONSE TO MATTHEW A. TAPIE’S AQUINAS ON ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

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AQUINAS AND SUPERSESSIONISM ONE MORE TIME: A RESPONSE TO MATTHEW A. TAPIE’S AQUINAS ON ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

Matthew Levering

In his Aquinas on Israel and the Church: The Question of Supersessionism in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas, Matthew Tapie examines my work first in a section on pages 30–38, then in an excursus on pages 41–47, and finally in a section on 158–163.1 Indeed, his book functions in large part as a critique of my writings on the topic of Thomas Aquinas and supersessionism. Among other things, he suggests that I “only . . . pay lip service to the call for the renunciation of harsh Christian supersessionism.”2 Given the significance of the topic, it seems appropriate for me to engage his criticisms, especially since this engagement provides a chance to clarify, rectify, and extend my long-standing interest in Aquinas and supersessionism. In addition to underscoring my firm “renunciation of harsh Christian supersessionism,” the present essay argues for the importance of Aquinas’s commentary on Gal. 5:3 for understanding the full contours of Aquinas’s theology of the Jewish people. Although in the body of the essay I focus upon Tapie’s concerns, and therefore do not discuss Messianic Judaism (which was in the foreground of my earlier engagements with Aquinas and supersessionism), I clarify and further develop my position on Messianic Judaism in the footnotes of the essay. Thanks in significant part to the efforts of Mark S. Kinzer, with whom I have been in dialogue for a number of years and who kindly read and criticized a draft of the present essay, Messianic Judaism has become an increasingly important topic in recent years within the Catholic Church.3

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READING THE TRINITY IN THE BIBLE: ASSUMPTIONS, WARRANTS, ENDS

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READING THE TRINITY IN THE BIBLE: ASSUMPTIONS, WARRANTS, ENDS

Brad East

INTRODUCTION

The one God depicted in and by the Bible is the Holy Trinity. Christians therefore read Scripture well when Trinitarian faith is operative in their reading and, in turn, when their reading leads them more deeply into the triune mystery. These claims are either unremarkably traditional or immediately implausible, depending on the audience in question. The disjunction is partly historical—that is, the claims’ purported implausibility appeared on the scene and thence became thinkable around, say, three centuries ago—but mostly it is regional, cultural, disciplinary: a certain pedagogical and scholarly tutelage has reinforced and maintained the in-principle improbability of Trinitarian interpretation of the Bible, not least among Christians, and it continues to exert a widespread influence. Whatever the factors and reasons informing such a view, however, whether ambivalent or antagonistic, I will not make it my task to sort them out or assign them to particular periods or persons. My aim in this article is more constructive, less polemical—though it unavoidably contains a polemical edge.

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CREATION AND CROSS IN THE ANGLICAN SPIRITUALITY OF THOMAS TRAHERNE

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CREATION AND CROSS IN THE ANGLICAN SPIRITUALITY OF THOMAS TRAHERNE

William Witt

In the following paper, I intend to examine the relationship between theology and spirituality in the theology of Thomas Traherne. I proceed with three assumptions.

First, there is a direct relationship between doctrines or beliefs and practices, including spirituality, worship (or liturgy), and ethics. This has been a common theme of much theology in the last half century, but it is almost always worthwhile to examine how this works out in the writings of a particular theologian.

Second, there is such a thing as the subject matter of Christian faith, and this has both a center and a periphery. The center is expressed in the Trinitarian and incarnational structure of the Rule of Faith appealed to by second-century Church Fathers like Irenaeus, and in the ecumenical creeds of the patristic era. This center is an essential summary of and hermeneutical guide to reading the normative text of the Christian Scriptures. Historically, the most enduring and helpful theologies have been those that have placed their focus on this center. We continue to read the works of Irenaeus, Athanasius, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Richard Hooker, Karl Barth, and C. S. Lewis for this reason.

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REVIEW ESSAY

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BUT WILL IT PREACH? ENGAGING FLEMING RUTLEDGE’S THE CRUCIFIXION

David Widdicombe

Fleming Rutledge

The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015)1

Yes! Doctrine preaches. Anyone who has heard Fleming Rutledge expound a biblical text knows that this is true. But which doctrine exactly and how exactly does it preach? Here is the answer in a work of wide-ranging scholarship and staggering authorial stamina. As Luther said, the preacher must know his doctrine and should teach it systematically. This book is a gold mine for preachers who take Luther’s advice seriously. Everywhere in this text we see the discipline involved in setting out an argument that intends to summarize, systematically arrange, and even point beyond everything the church has so far taught about the death of Christ. The argument is objective, intensely biblical and, nothing if not thorough, the prose cool and clear. The detail necessitates slow reading, yet it reads like the hardening lava flow from a volcano of Christian imagination that never sleeps. The doctrine preaches with power because, in Fleming Rutledge’s opinion, it is the preaching. The Christian doctrine of the atonement, or better, the narrative of the crucifixion in all its horror, is the truth about the world’s salvation, and truth matters because the fate of humanity matters—the truth speaks for itself.

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THE END: A SYMPOSIUM ON ESCHATOLOGY

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THE FORK IN THE (FINAL) ROAD: UNIVERSALIST AND ANNIHILATIONIST ESCHATOLOGIES—AND WHAT ULTIMATELY DIVIDES THEM

Roberto De La Noval

Alternative eschatologies are on the rise these days. Not that they ever truly disappeared, but recent proponents of nontraditional eschatologies are producing works of great sophistication and theological depth, worthy of renewed consideration. Take, for instance, Paul J. Griffiths’s celebrated recent (2014) work on eschatology, Decreation: The Last Things of All Creatures.1 Here we meet a robust, unshy, fully fleshed out Catholic vision of the traditional four eschata: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. The book manages to be in many respects uncontroversial even while proving itself provocative (an impressive feat in its own right), yet beyond his imaginative reconfiguration of traditional Catholic teaching, Griffiths also accomplishes with his book a sustained and compelling theological argument for annihilationism or conditional immortality. This conclusion of his study rides on the back of a convincing development of Augustinian anthropology and hamartiology. Griffiths argues that Augustine, for all his genius and rigor, simply could not take the final step required by the logic of his own theology to affirm that the final condition for unrepentant sinners is not eternal torment, but rather their final and irrevocable descent into nonbeing—the ultimate endpoint of a miserable history of sin and rejection of God.

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THE FORK IN THE (FINAL) ROAD: UNIVERSALIST AND ANNIHILATIONIST ESCHATOLOGIES—AND WHAT DIVIDES THEM

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

THE FORK IN THE (FINAL) ROAD: UNIVERSALIST AND ANNIHILATIONIST ESCHATOLOGIES—AND WHAT ULTIMATELY DIVIDES THEM

Roberto De La Noval

Alternative eschatologies are on the rise these days. Not that they ever truly disappeared, but recent proponents of nontraditional eschatologies are producing works of great sophistication and theological depth, worthy of renewed consideration. Take, for instance, Paul J. Griffiths’s celebrated recent (2014) work on eschatology, Decreation: The Last Things of All Creatures.1 Here we meet a robust, unshy, fully fleshed out Catholic vision of the traditional four eschata: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. The book manages to be in many respects uncontroversial even while proving itself provocative (an impressive feat in its own right), yet beyond his imaginative reconfiguration of traditional Catholic teaching, Griffiths also accomplishes with his book a sustained and compelling theological argument for annihilationism or conditional immortality. This conclusion of his study rides on the back of a convincing development of Augustinian anthropology and hamartiology. Griffiths argues that Augustine, for all his genius and rigor, simply could not take the final step required by the logic of his own theology to affirm that the final condition for unrepentant sinners is not eternal torment, but rather their final and irrevocable descent into nonbeing—the ultimate endpoint of a miserable history of sin and rejection of God.

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BAPTISM: COMMUNICATING GRACE AND FAITH

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BAPTISM: COMMUNICATING GRACE AND FAITH 1

John D. Rempel

INTRODUCTION

The Radical Reformation of the sixteenth century advanced an ecclesiology in which the church was made up only of those who had come to an existential faith and a transformed life. For some of the radicals, later called Spiritualists, this transformation was an interior matter in which outward signs played no role. For another stream of radicalism, later called Anabaptism, a visible church and outward signs remained essential, although they were reinterpreted. They retained water Baptism but only for candidates who could confess Christ and believe in the church’s teaching.

Anabaptism was a charismatic movement—or even a cluster of interrelated movements—that never achieved uniformity. It championed a practical Christianity whose theological foundations were as often implicit as explicit.2 Its diversity is not surprising since it arose in various geographic and religious settings. Early South German and Dutch Anabaptism was shaped by late medieval mystical and communal movements.3 Swiss Anabaptism arose out of a Zwinglian rational Biblicism indebted to Erasmus and Karlstadt.4 Moravian Anabaptism was shaped by both the mystical and biblicistic streams. Hutterianism emerged from it.5 All these currents of thought and practice intersected with major figures of the Magisterial Reformation (most importantly Zwingli, Bucer, and Luther) as well as a few Catholic reformers (most importantly Fabri and Eck).

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SCRIPTURE AS SCIENTIA CHRISTI: THREE THESES ON JESUS’ SELF-KNOWLEDGE AND THE FUTURE OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTOLOGY

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SCRIPTURE AS SCIENTIA CHRISTI: THREE THESES ON JESUS’ SELF-KNOWLEDGE AND THE FUTURE COURSE OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTOLOGY 1

Anthony Giambrone, O.P.

Greeks, once upon a time, looked for wisdom. They sought it in the gymnasium, in the Stoa, and in a special way in Homer, whom Plato calls protos didaskalos and hegemon paideias, “the first teacher and leader of all learning.”2 What Homer (however dubiously) was for history, for law, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy—indeed for every branch of knowledge cultivated in ancient Greece—the holy Scriptures were, and much more, for the Jews. Ben Sira’s overt identification of Hellenistic Wisdom with the Torah only gave poetic expression to this established fact. For the sage, Israel’s Scripture pours forth with instruction, runs over like the world’s great rivers, flooding its banks with knowledge like the Nile (Sir. 24:25–27). Everything—all knowledge, natural science (uncomfortable as that makes us), ethics, and logic, and not least what was once styled the study of divinity—was for the Jews of Jesus’ age focused in a single source: the holy Scriptures.3 “We do not have countless books,” Josephus said, “discordant and disarrayed, but only twenty-two, containing the history of every age.”4 If we wish to ask about the human knowledge of the Incarnate Word, the Son of Mary, it is exactly in this tiny little library, large enough to hold the world, where we must begin.

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“WITH MY BODY I THEE WORSHIP”: NEW CREATION, BEATIFIC VISION, AND THE LITURGICAL CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS

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“WITH MY BODY I THEE WORSHIP”: NEW CREATION, BEATIFIC VISION, AND THE LITURGICAL CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS

Isaac Augustine Morales, O. P.

“When our flesh, made glorious at the Judgment Seat, dresses us once again, then shall our persons become more pleasing in being more complete.”

“Thereby shall we have increase of the light Supreme Love grants, unearned, to make us fit to hold His glory ever in our sight.”1

The Western Christian tradition has commonly characterized eschatological hope in two ways: the Resurrection of the dead, prominent in all the creeds, and the beatific vision of the divine essence.2 Both aspects of the Christian hope have biblical support, but it is not always easy to see how the two fit together. According to the traditional account of the beatific vision, particularly as expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, this vision is an activity of the intellect that satisfies all human desires. As such, the activity itself does not require a body—the separated souls of the righteous can enjoy this vision even before the general Resurrection.3 Thus, it would seem that the Resurrection, so central to the Christian hope described in the New Testament, is in at least some sense superfluous. On the other hand, certain readings of the hope of the Resurrection and the new creation marginalize the biblical hope for the vision of God. If the redeemed are to be given resurrected bodies, then those bodies must engage in some activity other than catatonically staring at the divine essence.4

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“YOU HAVE NOT YET CONSIDERED THE GRAVITY OF SIN”: A KEY RETRIEVAL FOR OUR TIME

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“YOU HAVE NOT YET CONSIDERED THE GRAVITY OF SIN”: A KEY RETRIEVAL FOR OUR TIME

George R. Sumner

Two generations after Karl Menninger’s Whatever Became of Sin?,1 it is hard to deny the eclipse of this concept on the theological scene. Just as the confession of sin is sometimes omitted from worship, so is the subject of sin in theological circles. The reasons for this in our culture are doubtlessly many, but they include the following: the scorn for sexual repression, the pressure for successful, and hence optimistic, religion, and the whiff of judgmentalism in the word.2 Equally telling is the amnesia about what the theological term used to mean to say. Sin has not been so much rejected as forgotten. People do think, of course, that there are things profoundly wrong with the world, but, lacking the concept of sin as the tradition understood it, their explanations are wanting. We are like speakers of a new language who lack certain parts of speech, and put together sentences as best as we can. My purpose in this article is a modest one, namely to encourage others to make this locus a topic of more earnest discussion in our time.

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APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION: LIMIT OR CHALLENGE TO COMMUNION?

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APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION: LIMIT OR CHALLENGE TO COMMUNION? *

Paolo Cocco

The Catholic doctrine of apostolic succession appears as an insurmountable obstacle on the path toward full visible communion between the churches.1 This is mainly due to its postbiblical nature on the one side, and to the sacramental value attached to it by Catholics and Orthodox on the other side. Hence, it is important to deepen and to renew it, so that the grace of communion among the churches might shine brighter, nourished by the Word of God and by the action of the Holy Spirit.

THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE

Protestants affirm the nonbiblical character of the Catholic doctrine on apostolic succession. They consider it a worldly element introduced at an early date, which has profoundly corrupted Christianity. Antonio M. Javierre2 argues that the doctrine is not clearly stated in the writings of the New Testament because they refer only to the life of the church in apostolic time; concerning the following period, we find only sketchy descriptions of the ministries which will support the life of the church across the centuries (cf. Titus 1:5). Javierre, moreover, argues that the doctrine of apostolic succession is substantially implied in 2 Timothy 2:2. In Mt. 28:19-20, we find the apostolic mission as conferred by the risen Christ to the Eleven. At an early stage, this mission will also involve Matthias, Paul, and Barnabas. This mission is still going on up to this day. It concerns in a personal way especially those who are in an authoritative position in the church. Their authority, as noted by Yves M. J. Congar,3 is proportional both to the apostolic quality of the teaching they transmit, and to the pastoral ministry they actually offer.

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HEAVEN ATTRACTS AND HELL REPELS: A DYNAMIC INTERPRETATION OF BALTHASAR’S DARE WE HOPE “THAT ALL MEN BE SAVED”?

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HEAVEN ATTRACTS AND HELL REPELS: A DYNAMIC INTERPRETATION OF BALTHASAR’S DARE WE HOPE “THAT ALL MEN BE SAVED”?

Cameron Surrey

INTRODUCTION

Since its publication in 1986, Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Dare We Hope “That All Men Be Saved”? has been the object of considerable debate and controversy.1 This has been re-ignited with the appearance of Ralph Martin’s “Will Many Be Saved?” in 2012. Martin joins the chorus of a number of orthodox theologians who criticize Balthasar for espousing a position, which, while claiming to differ essentially from the universalist doctrine of apocatastasis, is practically indistinguishable from it. This article seeks to clarify Balthasar’s overall position2 by drawing attention to its dynamic character. This dynamism is, perhaps, not made explicit by Balthasar himself. It has, accordingly, been overlooked in the debate about the orthodoxy of his doctrine, and yet as I will argue, it is essential for a proper understanding of the way he formulates Christian hope. Furthermore, this dynamic interpretation of Balthasar is in full accord with his overall theological project, particularly the central methodological commitment that grounds his Theo-Drama, that “man is a spectator only insofar as he is a player” in the drama of salvation.3

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Is there a Pneumatological Lacuna in the “Spiritual Christology” of Joseph Ratzinger?

Joseph Mangina Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Is there a Pneumatological Lacuna in the “Spiritual Christology” of Joseph Ratzinger?

Peter John McGregor

Before attempting to answer the question of whether or not there is a pneumatological lacuna in the spiritual Christology of Joseph Ratzinger, it will be necessary to give an outline of his spiritual Christology. In Behold the Pierced One, a collection of Christological addresses and homilies published in 1984, Ratzinger recounts how the composition of one of these addresses, a 1981 paper on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, had led him to “consider Christology more from the aspect of its spiritual appropriation” than he had done previously. Upon realizing that this same year was the 1300th anniversary of the Third Council of Constantinople, he decided to study the pronouncements of this council, and came to believe, “much to [his] astonishment, that the achievement of a spiritual Christology had also been the Council’s ultimate goal, and that it was only from this point of view that the classical formulas of Chalcedon appear in the proper perspective.”1 Ratzinger’s conclusion in attempting to define a spiritual Christology was that “the whole of Christology—our speaking of Christ—is nothing other than the interpretation of his prayer: the entire person of Jesus is contained in his prayer.”2

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