Lexham Survey of Theology - feedback

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 4 2018 1:09 AM

MJ. Smith:
But it should be possible to make one sufficiently neutral for everyone to be able to find things easily.

Yes, and I think they've done a good job of doing that. But even the outline is still obviously protestant.

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Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 10:51 AM

Mathew Haferkamp:

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. 

It's helpful for this discussion to distinguish the ontology from the survey: they're closely related but distinct.

* The Lexham Systematic Theology Ontology (LSTO) refers to the data structure: the concepts, their titles and aliases, the hierarchical organization and order among siblings, and connections between these concepts and other data.

* The Lexham Survey of Theology (LST) is a resource consisting of articles defining and describing these concepts (from one author's perspective), recommended bibliographic citations, etc.

The ontology attempts a broad categorization that is inclusive of the subjects on which the mainstream Christian groups have broad agreement. It stops short of including individual concepts that are closely bound to one tradition or another: for example, various modes of baptism.

As others have noted in this thread, an ontology reflects a model of the world, so it necessarily reflects particular perspectives on the area of systematic theology. That being said, we've certainly aimed to include areas that are of interest to both Catholics and Protestants in both the ontology and the survey articles. For example, the section on The Church's Sacraments includes concepts that some Protestants would not call sacraments at all.

The content of the articles in the Survey aren't pulled from resources in your library: it's independent content, and therefore it reflects the authors' attempts at a broad perspective on the topics. However, we're continuing to annotate systematic theologies in Logos using the concepts from the Ontology, so the Systematic Theologies section of the Theology Guide will grow over time into a larger concept index into your library (which will naturally reflect the positions of those authors, in your case, a reformed perspective). Currently that section indexes five resources (all from an admittedly Protestant perspective: that was a pragmatic decision to start with resources with broad ownership and readership, and which were relatively easy to annotate).

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Mark Ward | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 11:16 AM

The Lexham Survey of Theology was produced by Calvinists, Arminians, Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants. The editorial team (mainly me) did require that they all be "objective, sympathetic, and reverent" within the "small-'o' orthodox" Christian tradition. When "sympathetic," in a few first drafts, undermined "objective" by leaving out opposing views, I pushed back and required historical theology and/or descriptions of the current debate over the doctrine at hand. Naturally, in a multi-author project, some contributors defaulted toward academic-descriptive and others to warm-hearted-sympathetic (to their own viewpoint!). I tried to pull both toward a middle ground which met all three of our criteria.

There is little denying that, often, that middle ground is very Protestant-looking. It is of the nature of Protestantism from its earliest days to claim that it is the proper heir of small-"o" orthodoxy (I've been reading in In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis myself and have seen this repeatedly). But as in my own small amounts of writing on Catholicism and Protestantism over the years, I pushed for contributors to be scrupulously honest. If I failed to help them do that in any place, it was not due to some plot on the part of Faithlife to pass off Protestantism as the default Christian viewpoint; it was simple human finitude! =) My team did reject some submissions, and heavily edit others, because they failed to describe small-"o" orthodoxy. And we discussed multiple times, explicitly, how to be fair to non-Protestant readers while still serving our majority evangelical Protestant clientele. But I'm with Mark Barnes: I don't think any theology resource covering as much ground as the LST covers could succeed in being equally useful and unobjectionable to Protestants and Catholics. (And, FWIW, I've gotten a little feedback from at least one Protestant that a key article was too high-church Anglican!)

I would suggest, however, that users of the LST remember where the LST is headed. In particular, view the "Recommended Readings" at the end of each piece within the context of what the tool will be in time. We want it to index all of the systematics in Logos—all of the systematics in Logos! That is huge! I myself am looking forward to it very much! And I can confirm on the authority of Phil Gons that it's our desire that eventually every ST in Logos will be tagged and show up in the Theology Guide. For now, think of the Recommended Readings as falling into three broad categories: 1) some contributors loaded us all up with lengthy bibliographies; 2) some mainly appealed to major STs (the way the tool itself is supposed to do as time passes); 3) some just seemed to grab the top few titles that occurred to them. And I'm still happy as a user/reader, because I think all of those different kinds of lists are all valuable. I did not push contributors to land in one of the three categories (though I did try to fill some obvious holes); I found it interesting to see where they defaulted. Each article is signed, so readers will not be led to think that the recommended readings are somehow wholly objective. And when the full list of STs someday dwarfs their recommended readings, I think those readings will still be valuable but will figure less prominently in showing what the tool is. In fact, once that huge list is included, the whole tool will take on a different feel. The introductory articles will still be valuable, as will be the key passages. But the index to all STs will be its main feature (with the map as a close second, I think), and thereby the whole tool will feel more objective, because its primary value will be to get you to whatever denominations/traditions/theologians you want to read. Our users are smart; they know that Christian groups differ. They want help getting oriented and then sent on a reading mission; the LST provides and will provide that help.

One more thought: it's encouraging to me, because I don't just work in Christian theology but personally believe it, that there are many branches of the subway-style mind map that, in my judgment, Protestants and Catholics would structure the same way. I'd rather share more Christian belief with others than less. The tree structure did require us in a few places, however, to "take sides." I think particularly of the Sacraments branch. You're either going to privilege Baptism and the Lord's Supper as dominical sacraments, or you're going to privilege an admittedly huge Christian tradition and put the five others on the same level. Yes, we defaulted to a Protestant viewpoint here: we call Matrimony, Confirmation, Ordination, etc. "Additional Sacraments." But even when we did so, the reason we gave ourselves was one that we felt Catholics could appreciate, and it's what I just mentioned. The two we privileged are dominical; they're the ones Jesus explicitly instituted. We also called The Lord's Supper with a more commonly Protestant name; we didn't say "Eucharist." Again, we had to choose. But then there are plenty of low-church Protestants who would object to our calling it a "sacrament" at all—you can't please everyone in theology!

I haven't wandered into the forums much over my years at Faithlife. I'm glad to see the LST inspiring such ardor! I can say that it was my desire while working on this project to give the church one more tool to help it grow in the light of the Bible. I was most pleased when contributors (I think of someone like evangelical Anglican Jonathan Warren) frequently brought in the Bible, wrote beautifully, covered the whole small-"o" orthodox tradition in short space, and led me to worship as I edited. If others are as edified as I was, I'll be very well rewarded.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 11:37 AM

Mark Ward:
The Lexham Survey of Theology was produced by Calvinists, Arminians, Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants. The editorial team (mainly me) did require that they all be "objective, sympathetic, and reverent" within the "small-'o' orthodox" Christian tradition. When "sympathetic," in a few first drafts, undermined "objective" by leaving out opposing views, I pushed back and required historical theology and/or descriptions of the current debate over the doctrine at hand. Naturally, in a multi-author project, some contributors defaulted toward academic-descriptive and others to warm-hearted-sympathetic (to their own viewpoint!). I tried to pull both toward a middle ground which met all three of our criteria.

Mark, as the OP, please let me briefly re-iterate my actual request, which seems to have gotten lost (repeatedly) in this thread.

Please indicate in the LST itself, or at least in the electronic description of it visible in the Library, that LST is Protestant.

I really don't care that LST is Protestant. I'm not asking for LST to be made unobjectionable to non-Protestants or for it to be otherwise rewritten. I'm imploring you to stop hiding the fact that LST is Protestant.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 1:32 PM

Mark W.,

It is certainly correct that the document can never please everyone in everything.

However, it is a realistic goal that Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox all generally feel fairly represented, and can feel like their positions and arguments are fairly and honestly presented, in a way they can identify with.  

I think the structure you present of the Systematic Theology, and most of the definitions, and some of the articles, are clear examples of how that goal is possible to achieve with work. Everyone knows that in an systematic theology that attempts to bridge Christian traditions, compromises have to be made. That is not a problem. 

In that sense, for example, I am very happy with the tree structure of the work, including on subjects like the sacraments, which you mention above. I am also very happy with almost all of the definitions... in fact, often I would say I am delighted with them. 

Many of the articles, however, leave much to be desired. And the reason is usually not that the article is an apologetic for Protestantism. Thankfully most, although not all, of the articles avoid that. Rather the reasons are principally that: 

1. The vision of the theological debates, history, and issues is almost always limited to those of interest to a Protestant theologian. In this sense it is very interesting, but also incomplete.

2. The presentations of the Catholic faith are rarely ones I can identify with as a Catholic. Rather, I read them and it is clear to me that this is what someone who looks at Catholicism from a Protestant lens thinks we think. And I think, "Wow, that's interesting. I wish I could speak with that person to help them see how we look at this issue, which is actually quite different, and almost always far theologically richer than one could ever gather from that way of summarizing it. I would summarize the Catholic position in a much different way as a Catholic, and I wish that were represented here."

Both of these issues are resolved very simply - by including Catholics (and Orthodox) theologians in teams that review and work on these articles. Not so that the article be Catholic, or so that they be Protestant, or Orthodox. But it is necessary that Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox work together on a project like this so that the article be complete and objective. So that a Protestant can read the article and feel represented fairly and objectively. And so can a Catholic. And so can an Orthodox. And all of them can learn to appreciate the other position as those who hold that position understand it.

What I would hope from these articles, is that I can look at the Protestant position presented, and learn from that, and be sure that the Protestant position described is accurate and one that a Protestant would identify with. As a Catholic, I want to be able to identify with the presentation of the Catholic faith within the document, and would hope that a Protestant would be sorely disappointed to hear a presentation of the Catholic faith that Catholics don't identify with. I want to know about Protestant debates within theology, and would hope that Protestants would want to know about debates that are within Catholic or Orthodox circles. 

I think that is what serious scholarly work of this sort entails. In that sense, I cannot endorse the LST as a serious academic work as it presents itself, precisely because of the critique that SineNomine mentions (and I think his suggestion is fair as the LST is currently written). Currently it is a Protestant work, that clearly attempts to be fair, but that rarely presents Catholicism in a way that a Catholic could identify with, or that demonstrates that it was written by someone who has studied Catholic authors directly.

Note that I'm not talking here about arguing in favor of one position or another. Just about understanding who the other is, from within his or her own position, and being able to learn about that.   

And I am absolutely convinced that a project like this is possible, and that it could be an enormous boon to theology!! And possibly no other company in the world is in as good a position as Fatihlife to make it happen. I hope and pray that it can happen!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 2:31 PM

Mark Ward:
The Lexham Survey of Theology was produced by Calvinists, Arminians, Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants.

I don't doubt a sincere intent to be broadly ecumenical. However, let me state the heretical: American Christianity is on the fringes not the mainstream of Christianity in a way that skews the perspective of even international denominations. When I read the biographies of the authors last night, I was not sure that the Anglicans or Lutherans were representative of their denomination rather than the American/British low church splinter of their tradition.

Mark Ward:
The tree structure did require us in a few places,

May I ask why you chose a tree-structure rather than the web/graph approach that is common to AI? In my mind, that may be the biggest error in the ontology as even mapping a single theology to a tree structure would frequently be to diminish the theology. Processing of webs has become sufficiently standardized that I see no technical reason to hold to trees. Although it will take a while, I'm going to try to come up with a more universal ontology to support your categories. Unfortunately, I have to begin by reloading some software ...

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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Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 2:51 PM

Mark Ward:
We want it to index all of the systematics in Logos—all of the systematics in Logos! 

Mark,

Thank you for your detailed explanation about some of the processes behind the development of this resource. I believe that the LST would benefit from an introduction which explains the principles behind the structuring of the LST, the composition of individual articles, the first selection of resources referenced, the selection of other references.

Wrt the quote above, I can only find one systematic theology in Logos from a Catholic perspective. Could not one of the problems be the weighting of available resources in a particular theological direction?

Damian

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Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 2:53 PM

Fr Devin Roza:
The presentations of the Catholic faith are rarely ones I can identify with as a Catholic.

The section on Purgatory is a good example of this.

This section for a "mature form" of the Catholic doctrine is unrecognizable as Catholic:

"Based on how sorrowful believers are in confessing their sins (contrition), such temporal punishment is removed. Nevertheless, since believers are never perfectly contrite, some temporal punishment needs to be suffered. This is the rationale for the priest’s act of assigning penance. When penance is not completed on earth, then it must be completed in purgatory in the afterlife."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 2:57 PM

Damian McGrath:

The section on Purgatory is a good example of this.

This section for a "mature form" of the Catholic doctrine is unrecognizable as Catholic:

Not to mention that it requires only minor adjustments to carry information on the Orthodox (but not universal) theory of aerial toll houses.

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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Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 3:02 PM

If someone who is mostly familiar with systematic theology from a Protestant Baptist Reformed perspective wanted to get a wider view of the entire theological tradition (or at least expand his familiarity with Orthodox and Catholic theology), where should he start reading? 

Asking for a friend. Wink

Disclaimer: I didn't work on the LST. (I mean my friend didn't.)

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Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 3:10 PM

Doug Mangum:
Asking for a friend

Tell your friend that they can start with Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives edited by Schussler Fiorenza and Galvin. This is in Logos.

This could be suplemented by a book that is not in Logos but for which epub and kindle versions are available: Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach by Thomas Rausch (isbn: 0814683207)

For an approach that has been very influential but not without its criticisms, see Catholicism by Richard McBrien (isbn: 0060654058). Also available electronically outside of Logos.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 3:43 PM

The doctrine of the immaculate conception is not taught in Scripture and is not witnessed to by the early church. Some of the late patristic theologians (including Augustine) argued for or hinted at the idea that Mary was preserved by special grace from committing actual sin. Although the possibility of the immaculate conception was discussed as early as the twelfth century, it was only in the fourteenth century that the Franciscan theologian John Duns Scotus argued explicitly for it. Scotus claimed that it would be most fitting for Mary to have been born without original sin, since it would mean that she was redeemed by Christ in the most perfect way possible (that is, his grace prevented her from contracting sin in the first place). The doctrine was a point of contention between the Franciscans (who accepted it) and the Dominicans (who rejected it) for many centuries until it was infallibly affirmed as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

Jack Kilcrease, “Mariology,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).

Reading this, would you have guessed that the special purity of Mary was celebrated on Dec 8 in Syria by the 5th century ... yes, the Orthodox prepurified theory is not identical to the immaculate conception theory but they are pointing to a similar truth. And they share the same date of celebration ... It's an example of how the lack of historical breadth can misframe Catholicism even if the stated facts are true ... similar to cherry picking except not done with knowledge aforethought.

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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Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 3:48 PM

Fascinating that "Mariology" is situated under "The Person and Work of Christ".

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Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 4:13 PM

Mark Ward:

The Lexham Survey of Theology was produced by Calvinists, Arminians, Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants. The editorial team (mainly me) did require that they all be "objective, sympathetic, and reverent" within the "small-'o' orthodox" Christian tradition. When "sympathetic," in a few first drafts, undermined "objective" by leaving out opposing views, I pushed back and required historical theology and/or descriptions of the current debate over the doctrine at hand. Naturally, in a multi-author project, some contributors defaulted toward academic-descriptive and others to warm-hearted-sympathetic (to their own viewpoint!). I tried to pull both toward a middle ground which met all three of our criteria.

There is little denying that, often, that middle ground is very Protestant-looking. It is of the nature of Protestantism from its earliest days to claim that it is the proper heir of small-"o" orthodoxy (I've been reading in In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis myself and have seen this repeatedly). But as in my own small amounts of writing on Catholicism and Protestantism over the years, I pushed for contributors to be scrupulously honest. If I failed to help them do that in any place, it was not due to some plot on the part of Faithlife to pass off Protestantism as the default Christian viewpoint; it was simple human finitude! =) My team did reject some submissions, and heavily edit others, because they failed to describe small-"o" orthodoxy. And we discussed multiple times, explicitly, how to be fair to non-Protestant readers while still serving our majority evangelical Protestant clientele. But I'm with Mark Barnes: I don't think any theology resource covering as much ground as the LST covers could succeed in being equally useful and unobjectionable to Protestants and Catholics. (And, FWIW, I've gotten a little feedback from at least one Protestant that a key article was too high-church Anglican!)

I would suggest, however, that users of the LST remember where the LST is headed. In particular, view the "Recommended Readings" at the end of each piece within the context of what the tool will be in time. We want it to index all of the systematics in Logos—all of the systematics in Logos! That is huge! I myself am looking forward to it very much! And I can confirm on the authority of Phil Gons that it's our desire that eventually every ST in Logos will be tagged and show up in the Theology Guide. For now, think of the Recommended Readings as falling into three broad categories: 1) some contributors loaded us all up with lengthy bibliographies; 2) some mainly appealed to major STs (the way the tool itself is supposed to do as time passes); 3) some just seemed to grab the top few titles that occurred to them. And I'm still happy as a user/reader, because I think all of those different kinds of lists are all valuable. I did not push contributors to land in one of the three categories (though I did try to fill some obvious holes); I found it interesting to see where they defaulted. Each article is signed, so readers will not be led to think that the recommended readings are somehow wholly objective. And when the full list of STs someday dwarfs their recommended readings, I think those readings will still be valuable but will figure less prominently in showing what the tool is. In fact, once that huge list is included, the whole tool will take on a different feel. The introductory articles will still be valuable, as will be the key passages. But the index to all STs will be its main feature (with the map as a close second, I think), and thereby the whole tool will feel more objective, because its primary value will be to get you to whatever denominations/traditions/theologians you want to read. Our users are smart; they know that Christian groups differ. They want help getting oriented and then sent on a reading mission; the LST provides and will provide that help.

One more thought: it's encouraging to me, because I don't just work in Christian theology but personally believe it, that there are many branches of the subway-style mind map that, in my judgment, Protestants and Catholics would structure the same way. I'd rather share more Christian belief with others than less. The tree structure did require us in a few places, however, to "take sides." I think particularly of the Sacraments branch. You're either going to privilege Baptism and the Lord's Supper as dominical sacraments, or you're going to privilege an admittedly huge Christian tradition and put the five others on the same level. Yes, we defaulted to a Protestant viewpoint here: we call Matrimony, Confirmation, Ordination, etc. "Additional Sacraments." But even when we did so, the reason we gave ourselves was one that we felt Catholics could appreciate, and it's what I just mentioned. The two we privileged are dominical; they're the ones Jesus explicitly instituted. We also called The Lord's Supper with a more commonly Protestant name; we didn't say "Eucharist." Again, we had to choose. But then there are plenty of low-church Protestants who would object to our calling it a "sacrament" at all—you can't please everyone in theology!

I haven't wandered into the forums much over my years at Faithlife. I'm glad to see the LST inspiring such ardor! I can say that it was my desire while working on this project to give the church one more tool to help it grow in the light of the Bible. I was most pleased when contributors (I think of someone like evangelical Anglican Jonathan Warren) frequently brought in the Bible, wrote beautifully, covered the whole small-"o" orthodox tradition in short space, and led me to worship as I edited. If others are as edified as I was, I'll be very well rewarded.

For what it is worth, I for one appreciate what you did Mark and I understand it is a work in progress... As mentioned earlier it is impossible to please everyone though I am confident you and lexham will do their best to do so. Thank you

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 4:30 PM

But the Easter Letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in AD 367 contained a list of inspired documents identical to that we recognize today, and after that there was no further dispute in the church about the contents of the canon.

John Frame, “The Canon,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).

Which is, of course, backed up by the different NT canons of the Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopean, and Coptic canons. And lest you think these obscure, remember that Armenia and Georgia were the first Christian states and that for the early church, the majority of church members were from East of the Holy Land ... From Wikipedia which in this case is more factual than the "garbage" above.

The Armenian Bible introduces one addition: a third letter to the Corinthians, also found in the Acts of Paul, which became canonized in the Armenian Church, but is not part of the Armenian Bible today. Revelation, however, was not accepted into the Armenian Bible until c. 1200, when Archbishop Nerses arranged an Armenian Synod at Constantinople to introduce the text. Still, there were unsuccessful attempts even as late as 1290 to include in the Armenian canon several apocryphal books: Advice of the Mother of God to the Apostles, the Books of Criapos, and the ever-popular Epistle of Barnabas.

The best that one can say is that for the Western Catholic Church, there was finally a "definitive" list accepted at the Council of Rome (382); however, actual practice varied and debates continued for several hundred more years. In fact, the Quakers for a short time added the Letter to the Laodiceans back in IIRC

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: Mon, Nov 5 2018 4:56 PM

MJ. Smith:
The best that one can say is that for the Western Catholic Church, there was finally a "definitive" list accepted at the Council of Rome (382); however, actual practice varied and debates continued for several hundred more years. In fact, the Quakers for a short time added the Letter to the Laodiceans back in IIRC

Even there, the historical evidence for the 382 synod in Rome addressing the canon is actually much weaker than had been thought until fairly recently. The local councils of Hippo (394) and Carthage I (397) did address the canon, Old and New, however, although they had only local authority--as, for that matter, had the 367 Festal Letter of St. Athanasius of Alexandria, five-times exiled Patriarch of that see. It really seems to have been the 405 letter of Pope St. Innocent I to Bishop Exuperius in Gaul that (mostly) settled the canon for western Europe. In 633, in Toledo, a local synod forced people to read from Revelation under pain of excommunication, settling that last disputed part of the canon for that neck of the woods.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 5:08 PM

Doug Mangum:

If someone who is mostly familiar with systematic theology from a Protestant Baptist Reformed perspective wanted to get a wider view of the entire theological tradition (or at least expand his familiarity with Orthodox and Catholic theology), where should he start reading? 

Asking for a friend. Wink

Disclaimer: I didn't work on the LST. (I mean my friend didn't.)

For Catholic perspectives, The Shape of Catholic Theology: An Introduction to Its Sources, Principles, and History by Fr. Aidan Nichols OP would be a good place to start. Chalice of God: A Systematic Theology in Outline by the same would be a good place to continue.

Fr. Thomas Joseph White OP'sThe Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism should be required reading, I think, for educated Protestants who need to write about Catholicism but need to come to understand it first, and Pope Benedict / Joseph Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity is a classic that brought him to the attention of Pope St. Paul VI for a reason.

For an Orthodox take on things that FL already offers, see Fr. Christos Yannaras's Elements of Faith: An Introduction to Orthodox Theology.

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Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 5:16 PM

MJ. Smith:

<snip />

Mark Ward:
The tree structure did require us in a few places,

May I ask why you chose a tree-structure rather than the web/graph approach that is common to AI? In my mind, that may be the biggest error in the ontology as even mapping a single theology to a tree structure would frequently be to diminish the theology. Processing of webs has become sufficiently standardized that I see no technical reason to hold to trees. Although it will take a while, I'm going to try to come up with a more universal ontology to support your categories. Unfortunately, I have to begin by reloading some software ...

The Related Topics section of the resource (not yet present in the Guide) defines a partial graph over concepts in the ontology which includes all but 10 of the 234 concepts.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 6:23 PM

Sean Boisen:
The Related Topics section of the resource (not yet present in the Guide) defines a partial graph over concepts in the ontology which includes all but 10 of the 234 concepts.

Excellent that makes much more sense than the tree-structure alone did.

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 Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 7:29 PM

Am I right in assessing that this document (process) is focused on ecclesial theology rather than Biblical theology? I would certainly prefer a focus that is on the later.

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