Non-Evangelical Systematic Theology and Theology Resources

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Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Apr 1 2018 9:05 PM

I completed my PhD entrance interview with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The professors conducting the interview are wanting me to look into broadening my scope of Systematic Theology and Theology reading beyond mainline evangelical theologians (which has been the bulk of my reading).

Some specifics include: Catholic, Orthodox, Pannenberg, Barth (I do own Barth's Church Dogmatics), Rahner, Liberation Theology (just briefly touch on it), Moltmonn (probably misspelled that one), as well as other mainstream theologians outside of evangelicalism. Jewish or Messianic Jewish resources would interest me as well due to my heritage.

Preferably resources in Logos would be great. If I have to venture outside of Logos, I can as well (whether another Bible study platform, eBook platform, or print).

I am still working to nail-down my research proposal for my PhD dissertation. Some areas in Systematic Theology that interest me are: Trinitarian Theology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology, although Trinitarian Theology is quickly becoming an area of major interest the more I research on the subject.

Any insights would be much appreciated. I do own the Global Dictionary of Theology so I may browse some of those articles to get a feel for them.

Nathan Parker

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 10:39 PM

Big topic! I'll give a few suggestions now but may try to write more later.

The Big 5 of Western theology across the ages are very widely agreed upon: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Barth. That right there is a lot of reading so you'll have to be selective and use guides particularly for Augustine. Get into Calvin's Institutes and you'll see where a large portion of your evangelical STs come from. Schleiermacher's Christian Faith is key to seeing where modern/liberal theology came from and why it went where it did. The older translation is a horrible slog but the newer version in Logos is probably better. Barth is rather better to read but horribly long. In general, I've found summaries of Scheliermacher's theology to be largely accurate. Summaries of Barth, by and large, are not (particularly, I'm sad to say, evangelical ones. Avoid van Til and the many who largely repeat him because Barth is too long for them to read themselves.)

Of mainstream reformed thought, I'm partial to Bavinck and Berkouwer; both are in Logos.

The greatest 5 of the East would be much harder to determine as they are very broad and extensive. I'm a big fan of Irenaeus (who was also Western). Origen, Athanasius, the Cappodocians are not to miss.

Returning to modern theology: Tillich is supposedly important. Brunner is a great introduction to neo-orthodox thought, somewhat more liberal than Barth but more approachable and much shorter; get his 3 volume Dogmatics (not in Logos). Moltmann and Pannenberg are both important, if somewhat overrated. Most of the former's major works are in Logos as is the latter's ST.

G. Gutierrez's A Theology of Liberation is the seminal work in that field. There are many other works about liberation theology, but to be honest once you get the basic idea, don't feel the need to branch out too extensively unless you need to. There's a lot of repetition.

Finally, a few guides to modern theology: H.R. Mackintosh's Types of Modern Theology was a good older one. I loved Modern Christian Theology which I read as a Logos Now preview book. Roger Olson's Journey of Modern Theology is probably also good (I have the older edition, which I gained a lot from.)

Hope that helps to start with. Have fun reading--it can be extremely edifying, even the ones you know you're going to disagree with.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2018 12:48 AM

For the Orthodox, Gregory Palamas is a fundamental figure in theology. For Judaism, Rambam and Rashi seem fundamental.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2018 2:30 AM

For Trinitarian Theology, you can't beat Thomas F Torrance's 2 volume work: Incarnation (vol 1), and Atonement (vol 2).

Also good is N T Wright's  4 volume  "Christian Origins and the Question of God", which is very Trinitarian: The New Testament and the People of God (vol 1), Jesus and the Victory of God (vol 2), The Resurrection of the Son of God (vol 3), and Paul and the Faithfulness of God (vol 4). You will be shocked at the size of Paul and the Faithfulness of God, which is 1800 pages. And if you get the research book he did for its writing (Paul and His Recent Interpreters), that's another 500 pages.

There is a helpful volume that can aid understanding of Paul and the Faithfulness of God, which is: Through the Eyes of N.T. Wright: A Reader's Guide to Paul and the Faithfulness of God by Derek Vreeland.

Similarly, there is a volume that was written to critically aid understanding of Jesus and the Victory of God, which is: Jesus & the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God by Carey C. Newman.

Moltmonn (probably misspelled that one)

It's Jürgen Moltmann. Moltmann is very much in the vein of Barth (he was initially very influenced by Barth, but later broke away from him). So, if you enjoy him, you will also enjoy Moltmann.

Speaking of Barth, if you are into Barthian theology, you would do well to get Justification: The Theology of Karl Barth with a Catholic Response by Hans Küng. He argues that, when you compare Barth's understanding of Justification and Sanctification with the Catholic understanding of those two subjects (as ratified by Trent), you will see that they match/agree perfectly. What the Reformers and Barth place under the rubric of "Justification", Catholic's call "Redemption". And what the Reformers and Barth place under the rubric of "Sanctification", the Catholic's call "Justification". So, both parties were talking about the same things, but using different category names. The misunderstanding was inevitable.

From this perspective, this ultimately makes the Reformation an historical mistake, brought about by a failure to communicate on both sides, and a failure to recognise that they were both ultimately talking about the same things but placing them under different umbrella terms.

Barth himself signed off on the book (in his forward to it), and verified that Küng had gotten his theology right. It was this book by Küng, written in the early 1960s, that was instrumental in bringing about the Ecumenical movement.

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2018 2:51 AM

MJ. Smith:

For the Orthodox, Gregory Palamas is a fundamental figure in theology. For Judaism, Rambam and Rashi seem fundamental.

If I might offer a small correction. Today, it is Politically incorrect (in that it is offensive to them) to lump all Jews into the same category and place them all under the rubric of "Judaism", as if it were a monolithic whole. There are at least 5 branches of Judaism today (more if you include the Karaites, the Samaritans, and Messianic Jews): Hasidic (or Haridi) Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Progressive Judaism.

Only Hasidic and Orthodox Jews would seek to define themselves over against Rambam (i.e. Maimonides) and Rashi. All other forms of Judaism, in that they variously repudiate the halakhah to different degrees (with some rejecting it completely, i.e. Karaites, Samaritans, Reform, and Progressive Judaism), they have little interest in them other than as people who were part of the history of Jewish tradition. 

So, it is fundamentally wrong to say that to study Rambam and Rashi you are studying "Judaism". You may be studying an aspect of Judaism. But certainly not all of it in all of its varied manifestations. 

In fact, it is very difficult to study the theology of Judaism because, unlike Christianity, no branch of Judaism has ever had official articles of faith or creeds (Maimonides' "13 Principles of Faith" has never been official). But if I was allowed to name only 2 books which introduced someone to the theology of Judaism as encompassed by different branches of Judaism (which is harder than it might sound), I would have to say Aspects of Rabbinic Theology: Major Concepts of the Talmud by Solomon Schechter (which is available as a free PDF download by googling it) for those branches of Judaism that have contact in some way with the Mishnah and the Talmud; and We Have Reason to Believe by Louis Jacobs for Reform Judaism.

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2018 5:49 PM

Thanks everyone for the responses! Much appreciated and I will look into these!

Nathan Parker

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2018 11:25 PM

David Staveley:

MJ. Smith:

For the Orthodox, Gregory Palamas is a fundamental figure in theology. For Judaism, Rambam and Rashi seem fundamental.

If I might offer a small correction. Today, it is Politically incorrect (in that it is offensive to them) to lump all Jews into the same category and place them all under the rubric of "Judaism", as if it were a monolithic whole. There are at least 5 branches of Judaism today (more if you include the Karaites, the Samaritans, and Messianic Jews): Hasidic (or Haridi) Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Progressive Judaism.

I agree with you. I thought in the context where I did not distinguish Eastern Orthodox from Oriental Orthodox, that it was apparent I was speaking in very broad strokes. I did not realize that there were Jews who would take offense.

By not including Dionysius the Areopagite I was trying to adjust to the current background of the requestor not making a statement of importance.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2018 12:40 AM

David Staveley:

There are at least 5 branches of Judaism today (more if you include the Karaites, the Samaritans, and Messianic Jews): Hasidic (or Haridi) Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Progressive Judaism.

Only Hasidic and Orthodox Jews would seek to define themselves over against Rambam (i.e. Maimonides) and Rashi. All other forms of Judaism, in that they variously repudiate the halakhah to different degrees (with some rejecting it completely, i.e. Karaites, Samaritans, Reform, and Progressive Judaism), they have little interest in them other than as people who were part of the history of Jewish tradition. 

Thanks David! I've stolen these sentences and pasted them into my slide set where I collect centrally important notes in short form.

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2018 5:32 AM

Going with your interest of Trinitarian Theology, I would recommend at least the following:

Athanasius of Alexandria - On the Incarnation - preferably in the Popular Patristics series.

Gregory of Nyssa - Not Three Gods to Ablabius

Basil the Great - On the Holy Spirit - Popular Patristics (same collection as Athanasius above - we need this pre-pub to go through)

Augustine - The Trinity - preferably the New City Press edition

Hanson - The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (Historical overview by an Anglican writer)

Behr - The Way to Nicea (Historical overview by an American Orthodox writer)

Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica, esp. Questions 2-43 of the First Part

"Recent" renewal of Trinitarian Theology:

Barth Church Dogmatics (Continental Reformed)

Rahner - The Trinity (Roman Catholic)

Moltmann - The Trinity and the Kingdom for his mature expression and probably The Crucified God for its start. (Continental Reformed)

Jungel - The Trinity: God's Being is Becoming (Continental Lutheran)

Pannenberg - Systematic Theology (Continental Lutheran)

Leonardo Boff - Trinity and Society (Roman Catholic Liberation Theology)

Catherine LaCugna - God for Us (Roman Catholic with Feminist concerns)

Robert Jenson - Systematic Theology and maybe his earlier treatment The Triune Identity or his even shorter treatment as Locus 2 in Christian Dogmantics (US Mainline Lutheran)

Elizabeth Johnson - Quest for the Living God (Survey of the field with her contributions as a Feminist Roman Catholic)

Sallie McFague - Models of God (US Mainline Protestant Feminist)

Mary Daly - Beyond God the Father (Converting from Roman Catholic Feminist to post-Christian Feminist - try to listen even if you don't agree)

Raimon Panikkar - The Trinity and the religious experience of man (Spanish Roman Catholic transformed by his work in India)

Some post-colonial perspectives:

Benezet Bujo - African Theology in its Social Context

Mercy Oduyoye - Beads and Strands (African Methodist Feminist)

Shusaku Endo - Silence (Japanese Roman Catholic)

Kazoh Kitamori - Theology of the Pain of God (Japanese Lutheran)

Kosuke Koyama - Water Buffalo Theology (Japanese Protestant as a missionary in Thailand)

C.S. Song - Third-Eye Theology (Taiwanese American Reformed)

Gustavo Gutierrez - A Theology of Liberation (South American Roman Catholic)

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2018 12:18 PM

I’m not sure how useful this one is, but is mostly from a restoration movement perspective.  Even though Cottrell is a restorationist he does have an interesting view on heaven and justification and works: https://www.logos.com/product/4561/the-faith-once-for-all-bible-doctrine-for-today

DAL

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2018 1:03 PM

For the Trinity, you definitely want to look at The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God. Don't let the word "doctrine" scare you off.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2018 3:19 PM

FWIW, I couldn't improve on Sean's advice. But be aware that's there's at least 10 years reading in his post!

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Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2018 6:35 PM

Thanks again for the great discussions!

Nathan Parker

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