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Not surprisingly, the chief Vatican II theologians are also significant conversation partners, as are Augustine, Aquinas, and the Greek Fathers, especially Nyssa and Palamas. What is remarkable, given the breadth of this ecumenical scholarship, is the unique coherence of Jenson's thought, and occasion piled upon occasion where he proposes a solution to a persistent theological conundrum in a manner which is deeply faithful to the tradition read and judged critically while being highly original. A prime example in this volume is his account of eschatological deification and the vision of God, in which he decides for Aquinas against Palamas that God will be seen in essence pp.

At every point there is a firm grounding in scripture, read with the ecumenical dogmatic tradition as the grammar of its interpretation. The present volume really must be read in conjunction with the first, because two of Jenson's commitments in the doctrine of God indelibly shape his doctrine of the works of God.

The first is his splendid and rigorous Trinitarianism, with its unique mutual correction and correlation of Eastern and Western traditions. The divine perichoresis beginning with the arche of the Father grounds everything, as embodied by and in the Son in the freedom of the Spirit.

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The personal identity and triadic identities of this inner triune God is always defined by reference to God's actual character as revealed in the economy of salvation in history, notably by the Exodus and Jesus' Resurrection. Jenson's unique twist in Volume I was to resolve the debate between East and West about the indivisibility of the works ad extra by asserting that each is one undivided action of God, but with discernible differentiations in the missions of the persons acting in mutual concord.

This scheme dominates the present volume: the key to every problem is the tracing of this Trinitarian logic. For example, in the great central section, the Church is treated as the elect and predestined in Christ People of the Father, as the Body of Christ, and as the Temple of the Spirit each taken as proper concept and not mere metaphor or trope.

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If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. He masterfully weaves his way through such topics as the church as the body of Christ, the people of God and the communion of believers; the nature and role of the episcopacy and hierachy, and the centrality of the sacraments, especially the eucharist By: Robert W. Wishlist Wishlist. Write a Review. Advanced Search Links. Product Close-up This product is not available for expedited shipping. Add To Cart. Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness. Papers and Journals: A Selection. Add To Cart 0. Soren Kierkegaard: A Literary Review.

The Philosophical Theology of Jonathan Edwards. Theology after Wittgenstein. It is very accessible and will be of interest to a wide readership. Beeke and Smalley are to be congratulated, and I look forward to further volumes in the future. Kathryn Tanner, Sarah Coakley, Kendall Soulen, and John Webster are all in the midst of ambitious multivolume projects, and I am sure that is a small, parochial list.

Systematic Theology: Volume 2: The Works of God by Robert W. Jenson

Women are taking up large dogmatic themes, and are properly ambitious in their undertakings. Dogmatic conferences are less and less handed over, without remainder, to dense methodological discussions and second or third order analyses of prolegomena. The ecumenical breadth and seriousness of theology these days is a remarkable gift—unprecedented I believe in the divided Church—and is so firmly rooted now that it almost slips by unnoticed.

These are all signs of hope! But, of course, theology these days is being written in a world highly unsuitable for it.

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It is not simply that the university is secular these days; rather it is no longer respectable, intellectually and at time morally, to be religious. I do think it is that strong. Of course academics are by and large tolerant and indulgent of the oddities of their neighbors! But it is an odd thing in educated, elite circles these days to be a devout Christian. Because I do not think it enriches dogmatics to be written always contra mundum , such pronounced secularism is a burden for systematic theology these days.

Theologians need to work in community, I believe, and the theological world that our ancestors could assume, even a generation or two ago, no longer surrounds us. And of course we in the postindustrial world live in a society of great inequality, one in which material objects are the steady diet of consumption, of desire, and of possession—none of these material conditions can nurture or instruct Christian dogmatics in Things Eternal.

MG: Readers will note with some surprise that this volume does not start with the doctrine of the Trinity, which has been the resounding trend for some time.

Systematic Theology, Volume 2

KS: It seems to me that the relation of Christianity to Judaism has been a gift to theology, under the Providentia Dei, but one that has not been fully incorporated into the Doctrine of God. Thankfully, Christian theologians have taken to heart the counsel that the election of the People Israel is irrevocable, and no longer advocate a full-throated supersessionism in the Doctrine of the Church.

But in my view, the Doctrine of God has not kept step with the deep reappraisal underway in Doctrines of Election, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology. The faith of Israel is anchored to the proclamation and confession of the One God; the Shema stands at the head of Torah. I believe that the scholastic treatise, De Deo Uno , properly stands at the head of the Doctrine of God and gives Christian witness to the prophetical teaching of Moses in its midst.

Exactly not that! We run risks, I believe, in the Trinitarian revival of losing sight of this Anchor and this radical Claim upon our speech. Too quickly we Christians have spoken of Three and not shown or underscored how this must be One. In this way, the Economic Trinity has achieved a prominence in the Doctrine of God that distracts us from the severely difficult demand, to think the thought of Radical Unicity.

MG: At the heart of this volume is the Oneness—the singularity—of God.

Systematic Theology: Volume 2: The Works of God

It is in many respects a reclamation of scriptural monothesism, which connects to the testimony of the Jewish Scriptures and confession, and the interpretation of that tradition as impacted by the Christian declaration of Jesus Christ as Lord. This pattern really gives the volume a unique shape. What were some of the key influences for you in pursuing this way of constructing a doctrine of God? What thinkers in particular provided inspiration or the opposite?

Did you pursue this line of construction out of a sense of deficiency in modern and contemporary systematic thinking? KS: On the advice of a friend I have been reading through volumes four and five of von Balthasar's Glory of the Lord as an aid to developing a Doctrine of Trinity. Now here is a Christian theologian who finds something deeply congenial in the paganism of ancient Greece!


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In a remarkable and seemingly unhesitant voice, von Balthasar can find the One, True God praised and discovered in the tragedies of Aeschylus, the epics of Homer. But I discover in me a strong, nearly allergic, reaction to such a view. I have been much influenced by the modern Judaic thinkers who spot paganism throughout the modern world, not least in much Christian teaching. And I believe that our Lord Christ has taught us to honor the One God through the Great Commandment, the love of God standing as the highest claim upon the Christian life.

In this way, I believe, the extraordinarily beautiful and radical idea of Divine Uniqueness can hold center stage in Dogmatics. David Bentley Hart has recently defended the One God, the God who is Being Itself, in a rather ferocious fashion, but one I find myself persuaded must be true. MG: One of the fascinating elements of this volume is an extensive exposition of the divine perfections or attributes. Could you discuss your decision to retrieve this locus of dogmatics? Do you think this is an unfairly neglected area in modern and contemporary thought?

Is there a key insight in recovering this for today? KS: Nothing is so beautiful as the thought of God. We Christians should never tire of this truth! For some time in the stretches of modern theology, Christians have hesitated before the steep slope of a rich and positive Doctrine of God, finding surer footing in an apophatism about Divine Nature and Deity, and an appeal to Divine Mystery. Here the legacy of Kant's Critical Philosophy looms large, and it seems that modern theology has not quite shaken off its Critical slumbers.

There is much truth in all these things! But Almighty God is One who gives Himself to be known, and is willing, in great humility, to be laid down as Object of our thought.