Some Intellectual Tasks

It seems we have a great deal of consensus about what the overall task of Oriel Theology should be: articulating a constructive theology that is engaged with the theological, and especially the Patristic, tradition; that avails itself of the concepts and methods of analytic philosophy; and that is deeply attentive to the Scriptures, especially as construed as a live voice speaking within the Church. So far as the big-picture story goes, I take it that Ed’s contributions are best interpreted as a warning not to be glib in our employment of analytic methodology, a warning that is (or certainly ought to be) well taken.

An important subsidiary task is that of doing historical work in an analytic vein. We should try to study eg the Cappadocians, but also Karl Barth, in much the same way as analytic philosophers study Descartes and Kant.

In less grandiose, multiple-academic-career-spanning terms, here are some interlinking topics to reflect upon in the immediate present:

1. What is Scripture, and how should we understand (and act upon) its theological authority?

2. How should we understand the development of doctrine in the Patristic period (and after!), and how do Patristic and analytic approaches interrelate?

3. How does the practice of constructive analytic theology relate to ‘the spiritual life’, personal and communal, active and contemplative?

4. How can we deal rigorously with mystery: what use can analytic training be as we approach the darkness where God is?


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