Lexham Survey of Theology - feedback

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 1:54 PM

Mark Barnes:
To be fair, Verbum already has sections in the Guides that deal with theology — from an exclusively Roman Catholic perspective, of course.

Hmmm ... as a Catholic, I seemed to have missed them (plural) ...  if you are referring to "Catholic Topical Index" it is closer to and preceded the "Ancient Literature" Section which it overlaps significantly. As for Catholic theology, my Verbum has no sections devoted to it. Zip, zero, none ...

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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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 4:40 PM

Jan Krohn:
It is likely to be impossible to produce a systematic theology that's agnostic of any underlying theology, by the very definition what a systematic theology is.

Does LSOT actually need to be a systematic theology? I don't see why. Given it's title, I would have expected it to be a systematic survey of theology, which is a rather different thing.

Jan Krohn:
But that doesn't mean that a resource that specifically doesn't cater to Roma-Catholics should be included in the Verbum Full Feature Set.

Indeed. Especially when it's not indicated as such! I've called out FL for this kind of thing before on the forums, and was heard and the relevant labeling-related amendment was made. I hope that happens soon here.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 4:43 PM

Mike Binks:

SineNomine:

My fundamental complaint is NOT that LSOT is Protestant in outlook.

My issue is that it doesn't declare that it's Protestant.

Whereas my issue is that it is Protestant in outlook. Trying to wear the shoes (and actually wearing my own shoes at the same time) of a new user I might well come to this resource hoping to compare outlooks rather than just find the best resources study just one.

I certainly would have preferred the objective outlook that it advertises itself to have, but it's the mis-labeling that I found to be worth starting a thread over. I can't say it's intentionally dishonest marketing on Faithlife's part, because I authentically trust that it isn't. But it is misleading, and now I know that FL is aware of my complaint.

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 4:54 PM

MJ. Smith:

Yes, one learns to accept that Logos is so intimately tied to a particular thread of Protestant that they can't see beyond it to recognize the limitations it imposes on their software. My favorite example is their assumption of studying a single passage. Note that they allow a sermon to be on multiple passages but you can only study them in isolation ...

This is just plain one eyed bias, systematic theology is largely a Protestant endeavour in order to reconcile all the various passages.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 4:55 PM

Jan Krohn:
But that doesn't mean that a resource that specifically doesn't cater to Roma-Catholics should be included in the Verbum Full Feature Set.

I've not heard anyone asking for this ... in fact, it is the Catholics who press the hardest for Anglican and Lutheran ecclesial documents ... more frequently than they push for Catholic theologians I suspect (although it may be too close to call). What I keep hearing is "either make it academic-neutral or label it what it is". 

As it was recently in a Facebook discussion, I'd like to remind everyone that "Roman Catholic" is far too narrow a term. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_(term) 

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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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:01 PM

Mike Pettit:
This is just plain one eyed bias, systematic theology is largely a Protestant endeavour in order to reconcile all the various passages.

Which is why several Protestants' agree with me? Does the Workflow support multiple passages for sermon preparation? Can I run a Passage Guide/Exegetical Guide/Sermon starter with a multi-passage focus? With the exception of the new Interesting Passages search, where can I process multiple passages?

From Wikipedia:

Notable systematic theologians[edit]

Antiquity[edit]

Middle Ages (West) and Byzantine period (East)[edit]

Protestant, Reformation and Anglican from 1517-present[edit]

See also: Reformed systematic theology bibliography

Roman Catholic from the Counter-Reformation to the present[edit]

Post-Byzantine Eastern Orthodox[edit]

Other[edit]

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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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:18 PM

I've not spent enough time with the LSoT to do a full evaluation but:

MJ. Smith:
it is not a Protestant/Roman Catholic divide as that is not where the divide falls. While it is also not quite right, the division is closer to Calvinist vs. everyone else.

As MJ noted earlier, Logos being what it is, experienced customers will not be surprised by its leaning strongly towards a particular stream. One also must keep in mind that Protestant systematic theology is largely dominated by the Reformed tradition; it's simply a fact that they produce far more works of systematics than anyone else. I'm not Reformed, but I'd estimate that 70-80% of my library and my study time is in Reformed works.

MJ. Smith:
From the perspective of IT/AI a common ontology should be relatively easy with the Nicene Creed providing an outline that has been commonly applied across space and time.

The Nicene Creed should be the starting point. Choices do have to be made as to the work's structure/ontology. As a Protestant, I think there are distinct advantages to the structure of systematics that emerged out of the Reformation/post-Reformation period, chiefly the development of the locus of soteriology.

I don't particularly mind the LSoT being biased; I expect that when I read a theological work. What its strength should be is in the recommended reading list and the Theology Guide's annotation of your library's STs. I've commented on the latter in the other thread. With regard to the former, what I've seen so far is a mixed bag. In my opinion, the primary goal of such lists should be to guide the reader to (1) important foundational works (there's no excuse for the article on Theories of the Atonement omitting Anselm and Aulén from this list, especially since both are in Logos) and (2) reference works and textbooks that help the reader understand the doctrine at a deeper level and enter the theological conversation that's taken place over the 2,000 years of the church's history.

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Mathew Haferkamp | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:30 PM

Hey this sounds small but please refer to it as "LST" as logos does here https://www.logos.com/product/166797/lexham-survey-of-theology  

Please let me know if I am wrong (because I am waiting on an update to come out Monday before I can download logos 8), but doesn't it pull from the resources you own in your library?  Because my library is reformed so I expect reformed answers. 

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:36 PM

Mathew Haferkamp:
Please let me know if I am wrong (because I am waiting on an update to come out Monday before I can download logos 8), but doesn't it pull from the resources you own in your library?  Because my library is reformed so I expect reformed answers. 

No. For each article, it has a hand-picked Recommended Reading list, IMO of limited value and needing revision. The Theology Guide shows readings from a paltry 5 titles you may well have in your library: Packer, Ryrie, Berkhof, Strong, and Hodge. So, 4/5 are Reformed but of very limited scope. It's supposed to be expanded to include more titles; I hope that process begins very soon.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:39 PM

Mathew Haferkamp:
Please let me know if I am wrong (because I am waiting on an update to come out Monday before I can download logos 8), but doesn't it pull from the resources you own in your library?  Because my library is reformed so I expect reformed answers. 

LST is a book. Your copy will be the same as mine, which means its theology will be closer to yours than it is to mine, and to both of us it will--until FL fixes this--be presented as "objective".

Part of the Theology Guide does pull from your library.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:57 PM

Do you really want to understand Logos' classification of systematic theology?

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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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 11:10 PM

MJ. Smith:
From the perspective of IT/AI a common ontology should be relatively easy with the Nicene Creed providing an outline that has been commonly applied across space and time.

If we were just going to restrict the LST to the articles included in the Nicene Creed, then of course we could accomplish something upon which we could almost all agree. But that would a much more limited project than the LST, and much less useful.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 11:24 PM

MJ. Smith:

Mark Barnes:
To be fair, Verbum already has sections in the Guides that deal with theology — from an exclusively Roman Catholic perspective, of course.

Hmmm ... as a Catholic, I seemed to have missed them (plural) ...  if you are referring to "Catholic Topical Index" it is closer to and preceded the "Ancient Literature" Section which it overlaps significantly. As for Catholic theology, my Verbum has no sections devoted to it. Zip, zero, none ...

Yes, I was especially talking about the Topical Index, in conjunction with the CCC. As you know the Catholic Topical Index gave a list of theological topics relevant to that passage, long before the Systematic Theologies section was available for Logos users, giving links to the CCC, Denzinger and and various church documents dealing with the topic. Although it also contains links to the Fathers, it's very different from the Ancient Literature Section.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 11:30 PM

Mark Barnes:

MJ. Smith:
From the perspective of IT/AI a common ontology should be relatively easy with the Nicene Creed providing an outline that has been commonly applied across space and time.

If we were just going to restrict the LST to the articles included in the Nicene Creed, then of course we could accomplish something upon which we could almost all agree. But that would a much more limited project than the LST, and much less useful.

Huh??? I was not suggesting a more limited project - I was suggesting an organizing principle for what should be a broader project. There are a number of theological groups that "hold to the Nicene Creed" that believe it to say something very different from other theological groups holding the same belief that they "hold to the Nicene Creed". If all theologies thought it meant the same thing, then there wouldn't be more than a handful of "denominations".

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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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 11:35 PM

MJ. Smith:

Mark Barnes:

MJ. Smith:
From the perspective of IT/AI a common ontology should be relatively easy with the Nicene Creed providing an outline that has been commonly applied across space and time.

If we were just going to restrict the LST to the articles included in the Nicene Creed, then of course we could accomplish something upon which we could almost all agree. But that would a much more limited project than the LST, and much less useful.

Huh??? I was not suggesting a more limited project - I was suggesting an organizing principle for what should be a broader project.

My comment "almost all agree" was regarding ontology, not content.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 11:59 PM

Mark Barnes:
Yes, I was especially talking about the Topical Index, in conjunction with the CCC. As you know the Catholic Topical Index gave a list of theological topics relevant to that passage, long before the Systematic Theologies section was available for Logos users, giving links to the CCC, a systematic theology and various church documents dealing with the topic. Although it also contains links to the Fathers, it's very different from the Ancient Literature Section.

I think that you misunderstand how the Catholic church views church documents:

  • most of the documents you refer to are not applicable to the universal church - for example, the Ukrainian Catholics have their catechism (rather recent and written with the hope it would serve both Orthodox and Catholic) ... I've tracked down 5-6 official catechisms. And yes, the Ruthenian rite used the "Roman Catholic" Cathedral for years; the Maronites use whatever parish the dual-rite priest is assigned to.
  • the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a document intended primarily for the training of catechists - RCIA instructors, children and adult sacramental preparation and faith formation teachers/directors ...
  • most church documents are pastoral in nature addressing particular issues that have arisen in the lives of the faithful
  • when I think "recent Catholic theologians," I think of people such as Hans Kung, Jungmann, both Rahners, Schillebeeckx, Congar, Danielou, Boff, Teilhard de Chardin, Henri de Lubac, Robert Taft (I just posted his obituary)...

The Catholic Topical Index is from my perspective as a Catholic, an index into classic ecclesial sources not a theological exploration. It doesn't even have a category for theologians of the last few centuries. 

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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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 4 2018 12:09 AM

Mark Barnes:
My comment "almost all agree" was regarding ontology, not content.

Ah, I misunderstood. If most would agree with it as a framework for ontology, then it should work very well and not affect the coverage unless I'm missing something very basic.

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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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 4 2018 1:45 AM

MJ. Smith:

Mark Barnes:
My comment "almost all agree" was regarding ontology, not content.

Ah, I misunderstood. If most would agree with it as a framework for ontology, then it should work very well and not affect the coverage unless I'm missing something very basic.

All I'm trying to say is that if you were to post a detailed Table of Contents from a Catholic Systematic Theology and an evangelical Systematic Theology, then every person on the forums would be able to tell which was which, just from the way the "ontology" was expressed, and what topics were included/excluded. The main headings might (perhaps) be the same, or similar (perhaps not a million miles away from the Nicene or Apostolic Creeds), but as soon as you go beyond that very basic outline, major differences emerge.

(And although the example is for evangelical/Catholic, it's just an example. The same would be true for other streams, too.)

Because of that, I just don't think it is possible to provide a detailed survey of theology that doesn't have some degree of 'bias' towards one tradition or another.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 4 2018 1:47 AM

MJ. Smith:
I think that you misunderstand how the Catholic church views church documents:

And I think you're misunderstanding the difference between systematic theology and historical theology :-). The Lexham Survey is intended to be the former, not the latter.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 4 2018 1:49 AM

Mark Barnes:
Because of that, I just don't think it is possible to provide a detailed survey of theology that doesn't have some degree of 'bias' towards one tradition or another.

I would agree with that and give the placement of the Adamic Covenant apart from other covenants as an example. But it should be possible to make one sufficiently neutral for everyone to be able to find things easily.

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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