Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Theology for beginners: outline

Here’s a provisional outline of the new “Theology for Beginners” series (21 posts in 6 sections). As you can see, I couldn’t think of single-word titles for posts 14 and 15 – so let me know if you’ve got any good ideas (I didn’t want to use the traditional terms “humiliation” and “exaltation,” but those are the concepts I have in mind).

No doubt this outline will change once I start writing the posts – but it should at least give you a rough idea of what to expect:

Faith
1. Faith
2. Theology
3. Gospel

Jesus
4. Resurrection
5. Crucifixion
6. Jesus

God
7. Triunity
8. Election
9. History

Creation
10. Creation
11. Upholding
12. Humanity

Reconciliation
13. Sin
14. Jesus: God lowered
15. Jesus: humanity lifted

Community
16. Spirit
17. Church
18. Freedom
19. Forgiveness
20. Mission
21. Future

22 Comments:

byron said...

Ben, looks great. I'm really looking forward to this.

Israel and the rest of the OT?

Only one* on eschatology? And under 'Community'?

* I realise that many others will be at least implicitly eschatological. Thus, perhaps 'Only one directly on eschat?'

Drew said...

Does not 'history' cover directly both the OT and eschatology?

kim fabricius said...

Hi Ben.

Just from the "table of contents" a lot of us who know you a bit can see where you're coming from -and therefore where you might be going. Those who think of you as a pure Barthian should be disabused by your beginning with Faith (the influence of Ebeling - even Schleiermacher?).

I will be intereseted to see what you do with ethics - which, of course (following Barth and, say, Hauerwas), should be organicaly attached to each locus.

There are other sub-texts - e.g. no specific locus on sin (good!).

Finally, if you are looking for simpler one-worders than exaltation and humiliation, how about "up" and "down"?

See you in a week.

Kim

kim fabricius said...

Whooops - I see that there is a locus for sin (I'm writing very quickly - we're off to the airport. Catch up with you later.)

simone said...

Looks fantastic. Do you think you could also produce a kiddy version?

WTM said...

I have personally always been a big fan of arranging things like this in such a way as to follow the ordering of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Start with the Trinity, finish up with questions of faith, etc. under the sub-heading of the Church within the third article.

But, that's just me. :-)

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Re 14 — how about "condescension"? But maybe you don't consider that to be beginner language.

Perhaps its converse would be "elevation", though that isn't such a theological word as the first.

c said...

Sounds great.

Not that I'm a "beginner", it's just nice to go back to basics now and again. Looking forward to your version of "Theology for Dummies" ;-)

c

One of Freedom said...

Could this be the first purely blogged systematic theology? I'll be following this one too, should be a great series to point folks new to theology to.

D.W. Congdon said...

Two questions: (1) Where would your discussion of the (threefold) Word of God fall?

And (2) I feel like this outline emphasizes, quite rightly, the objective reality of the gospel by focusing extensively on Christ and Christology. However, as one also schooled by Juengel, Bultmann, and Ebeling, I feel like there needs to be an entry about the existential encounter with this reality. I see that you begin with faith, but what about an entry on justification? Sanctification, I assume, falls under the realm of the church, but I think the section on "Reconciliation" needs an existential entry.

Overall, though, it looks fantastic. I am glad you are undertaking this project. I know you will do a great job.

D.W. Congdon said...

By the way, I think it would be especially helpful if you added reading recommendations to the end of each post. A solid bibliography at the end of a book is often more helpful than the book itself.

dan said...

14.Kenosis
15.Theosis

I realize both terms have been abused in various ways but they were the first words that came to mind (plus they rhyme!).

David said...

thank you for your excellent site. perhaps these, based on Ephesians 4:9:
14. Descent
15. Ascent

robbie said...

Based on Philippians 2:1-11 or the whole structure of Hebrews:

14=incarnation
15=ascension

Rory Shiner said...

The idea of 'up' and 'down' Kim has already suggested. I like that. Of course, if you wanted to buck the one-word system, you could call number 14 "The way of the Son of God into the far country", but I think some else has used that before :)

Really looking forward to the series.

Mary said...

"Condescension?" "Kenosis?" I really am a beginner here . . . and I look forward eagerly to your series. md

Ben Myers said...

Many thanks for all these comments and suggestions, which have been very helpful as I keep fiddling with the structure.

Thanks too for the title-suggestions for ##14-15. Although Dan's rhyming "Kenosis/Theosis" and Kim's monosyllabic "Down/Up" were very tempting, I think I've decided to go with David's sage and sensible "Descent/Ascent". (Of course, Rory, if you can think of one word for #15 that rhymes with "The-Way-of-the-Son-of-God-into-the-Far-Country", I'd be willing to consider it....)

Thanks too, David C., for the suggestion of "recommending reading" lists. That's a great idea, and I'll try to add a short reading list to the end of each post (although others might like to offer better reading suggestions in the comments -- my own reading is pretty thin on some of these topics!).

On a more discouraging note: I've started drafting the posts, but have discovered that they are perhaps not quite as "beginner-friendly" as I had hoped (due to my own dullness, no doubt). So, in an an attempt to make things clearer, I think I'll also start each post with a single-sentence summary.

Brannon Hancock said...

I'm way to late on this, (sorry, again, new to the blog), but I immediately thought "kenosis" and "theosis" for your #s 14 & 15 problem and then saw that Dan beat me to it (what I get for being a week behind...). I (personally) would steer clear of descent and ascent, but just because I have a slight and inexplicable aversion to the priority given to thinking along the 'vertical-plane' in theology. While I grant kenosis and theosis are not the most, er, user-friendly of terms, they are probably the most theologically precise. But hey...it's your blog-world. :-)

Ben Myers said...

Hi Brannon -- thanks for your input. I agree that "kenosis/theosis" are better terms, but I think I'll avoid these terms, since they would be so alienating for any "beginners" who might happen to be reading the series.

But I share your uneasiness about the "vertical" language of "ascent and descent" -- as Bultmann liked to point out, this spatial metaphor is mythological! So I'm still a bit undecided about which titles to use....

Mary said...

"Condescension?" "Kenosis?" I really am a beginner here . . . and I look forward eagerly to your series. md

Brannon Hancock said...

I'm way to late on this, (sorry, again, new to the blog), but I immediately thought "kenosis" and "theosis" for your #s 14 & 15 problem and then saw that Dan beat me to it (what I get for being a week behind...). I (personally) would steer clear of descent and ascent, but just because I have a slight and inexplicable aversion to the priority given to thinking along the 'vertical-plane' in theology. While I grant kenosis and theosis are not the most, er, user-friendly of terms, they are probably the most theologically precise. But hey...it's your blog-world. :-)

robbie said...

Based on Philippians 2:1-11 or the whole structure of Hebrews:

14=incarnation
15=ascension

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