Wednesday 6 July 2005

Blogging: a theological history

Some excellent blogs for New Testament studies have inspired me to start this new blog for theological studies. My current interests include Christology, dogmatics, hermeneutic theory and modern theology, as well as relating theological reflection to New Testament studies. So in this blog I’ll be offering updates on scholarship, suggestions for reading, biographical sketches of theologians, and my own comments on “faith and theology”.

First, though, a prolegomenous question: what is the theological basis for a blog such as this? Is theological blogging justifiable at all? These are important questions, and we can best answer them through a brief historical survey.

In Roman Catholic tradition, blogging was regarded a good work (opus bonum) in so far as it arises from the supernatural influence of grace and is performed through the motive of charity (motivum caritatis). Only thus can it be deemed meritorious blogging (blogus meritorii).

Lutheran theology, in contrast, insisted that human nature is subject to such corruption that even its most excellent acts of blogging are nothing more than splendid vices (splendida vitia). It is thus proper to speak only of a depravity of blogging (pravitatem blogi).

The theology of the Reformed tradition placed special emphasis on the absolute decree which stands behind all true blogging (blogia vera). The fact that some are able to blog but not others was said to be grounded solely in the good pleasure of God (beneplacitum Dei).

Arminian theology, however, sought to modify this Reformed position by arguing that the eternal decree in fact rests on the foreknowledge (praescientia) of all our future blogging. Here, then, the concept of foreseen blogging (praevisa blogus) is ultimately decisive.

In the nineteenth century, liberal Protestant theology claimed that blogging arises from a universal feeling, an experience which is basic to all human consciousness. The object of blogging (obiectum blogi) is thus nothing other than our own pious consciousness.

But in the early twentieth century dialectical theology rebelled against liberalism by insisting that human blogging stands under the judgment (κρισις) of the Word of God. Indeed, this Word brings a devastating Nein against everything religious—even religious blogging!

Then around the middle of the twentieth century, existentialist theology distinguished between inauthentic and authentic blogging. Only through a decision (Entscheidung) of faith, in response to the kerygma, can one make the necessary transition to authentic blogging.

More recently, though, liberation theology has noted that the impulse to blog (which is an essentially Western phenomenon) is part of those oppressive politico-economic structures from which human societies must be liberated. And the theology of hope has argued that true blogging exists only in the future, even though it has already entered the internet proleptically. Meanwhile, many evangelicals have claimed that they want nothing to do with blogging, since the word “blog” does not appear in the Bible.

Given this great diversity of opinion, we may wonder whether the question of blogging is simply condemned to division and confusion. Indeed, the Anglican communion today remains torn by divisions over the question of blogging (including whether women should be permitted to blog). Fortunately, however, a recent ecumenical commission has published an 80-page report which affirms the deep underlying agreement between the major traditions on the question of blogging. We can thus hope that full agreement will be achieved in the near future.

On the basis of this hope, I will therefore begin to blog.


Anonymous said...

Holy crap, that's brilliant. I found this post through the theology blogs page and though I've visited your site on various occasions, never read this initial and riotously funny post.

Anonymous said...


Brandon Jones said...

Thanks for the laugh this evening. My first post in my vastly inferior blog was some whining about living in the north shore of Chicago. This is much more interesting!

Matthew Moffitt said...

Is there room for a new perspective on blogging? Perhaps even a fresh perspective?

W. Travis McMaken said...

Lol! I just read this for the first time. Well done, Ben!

Terry Wright said...

Did you ever celebrate this blog's ten-year anniversary, Ben?

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