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International Journal of Systematic Theology 7/4 (Oct. 05)


Main Articles

"Guest Editorial," Denys Turner. Pgs. 343-36. This issue collects papers from a December 2004 conference at Cambridge marking the centenary of the birth of Yves Congar, and as such provides a manner of reflection upon the contemporary significance of the nouvelle théologie.

"The Future of the Past: The Contemporary Significance of the Nouvelle Théologie, " A.N. Williams. Pgs. 347-61. "Abstract: The nouvelle théologie was a noticeably diverse movement, but if it had a core it was not in opposition to Thomism, or in a claim that patristic sources were to be privileged in theology. Rather, it was in a serious examination of all historical theological resources that both recognized their diversity and partiality but also sought to find in them resources for the renewal of theology. In contrast to the situation into which the nouvelle théologie developed, the danger for theology today is not a captivity to a particular historical source, but a refusal to engage seriously with any historical material, because it is seen as irrelevant, or positively harmful, to the theological task for various reasons. The chastened traditionalism of the nouvelle théologie might thus be seen to have something to say to our own day, as well as its own."

"The Nouvelle Théologie and the Patristic Revival: Sources, Symbols and the Science of Theology," Brian Daley Pgs. 362-82. "Abstract: A historical survey of the various controversies between thinkers associated with the nouvelle théologie and the Roman Catholic hierarchy suggests that three matters were particularly at stake. First was an ecclesiology, whether the church was to be understood primarily as a historically-continuing structure of authority and obedience, or in more sacramental and spiritual ways. Second, the nature of theological language was at stake: is theology merely a set of logical deductions from divinely revealed, but universally accessible, propositions, or is faith and commitment necessary to any serious grasp of the import of theological claims? Finally, and undergirding these two issues, is a disagreement about the reception of the biblical witness, and so the recovery within the nouvelle théologie of patristic and medieval modes of figurative, typological or spiritual exegesis can be seen to be central to the movement."

"In the Presence of Love: The Pneumatological Realization of the Economy: Yves Congar's Le Mystère du Temple, " James Hanvey, S.J. Pgs. 383-98. "Abstract: Yves Congar's The Mystery of the Temple develops many of the themes that will be more fully worked out in his later pneumatology, particularly I Believe in the Holy Spirit. Considered against its context, Congar's pneumatology can be seen to be central to his particular strategy of ressourcement. In particular, Congar deploys pneumatology to preserve the theological connection between Christology and ecclesiology, and so offers a version of 'Spirit Christology' which avoids the pitfalls usually associated with such a position. This use of pneumatology in Congar's vision can be traced back to his account of the particular hypostasis of the Spirit in the immanent Trinity."

"Purity and Plenitude: Evangelical Reflections on Congar's Tradition and Traditions, " John Webster. Pgs. 399-413. "Abstract: Congar's Tradition and Traditions is a profound and joyous account of tradition which succeeds in considering tradition as a theological and ecclesial reality. Until the Gregorian reform, on Congar's telling, tradition was understood as an aspect of salvation history, bound up with both scripture and church, and so as a living voice. The relegation of tradition to the maintenance of things once spoken has its final working out in the Reformation, but began earlier. Congar wishes to return to the earlier position, and so argues passionately for a recovery of proper relationships between scripture, tradition and church. Congar's points are profound and important, but a Reformed response, whilst appreciating much good in what he says, will be forced to ask some questions also, notably insisting that in affirming the church’s relatedness to Christ, and tradition's relatedness to scripture, the freedom and Lordship of Christ and the freedom and authority of scripture should not be lost."

"Aquinas, the Trinity and the Limits of Understanding," Karen Kilby. Pgs. 414-27. "Abstract: Thomas's trinitarian doctrine is commonly criticized as being abstract and unbiblical; several writers have offered defences against this charge, but these perhaps ignore too much the genuinely reticent and apophatic aspects of Thomas's thought. In three particular places, it is argued, Thomas can be read as deliberately saying things that are unexplained and unexplainable. The areas considered are: the notion of processions in God; the presentation of the persons as subsistent relations; and the relationship between the subsistent relations and the divine essence."

"How to Read the pseudo-Denys Today?" Denys Turner. Pgs. 428-40. "Abstract: Both modern and medieval commentators on the pseudo-Denys offer misreadings. With the exception of Aquinas, they fail to see the connection between mystical and liturgical strands of his thought, and so read him as offering an account of some generic religiosity. This history suggests a tension in the procedure of ressourcement: the better a theologian is placed within his intellectual and cultural context, the more difficult it is for him to be used to inform theology today. The process of tracing the theological tradition, however, is a process of retroactive comprehension."

Selected Reviews

Kevin Vanhoozer, The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology; reviewed by Mike Higton, pgs. 441-44.

Denys Turner, Faith, Reason, and the Existence of God; reviewed by Fergus Kerr, pgs. 446-49.

Richard Cross, The Metaphysics of the Incarnation, Thomas Aquinas to Duns Scotus; reviewed by Oliver Crisp, pgs. 449-52.

Eleonore Stump, Aquinas; reviewed by Iain Taylor, pgs. 455-58.

Chris Fleming, René Girard: Violence and Mimesis; reviewed by Bruce Hamill, pgs. 458-59.

Elizabeth Teresa Groppe, Yves Congar's Theology of the Holy Spirit; reviewed by Paul M. Collins, pgs. 468-70.

Jürgen Moltmann, Science and Wisdom; reviewed by Peter Forster, pgs. 470-71.

Eberhard Busch, The Great Passion: An Introduction to Karl Barth's Theology; Joseph L. Mangina, Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness; Kurt Anders Richardson, Reading Karl Barth: New Directions for North American Theology; reviewed by Mike Higton, pgs. 472-75.

Wallace M Alston Jr., Michael Welker, eds., Reformed Theology: Identity and Ecumenicity; reviewed by Iain Taylor, pgs. 475-79.

Reinhard Hütter, Bound to be Free: Evangelical Catholic Engagements in Ecclesiology, Ethics, and Ecumenism; reviewed by Nicholas Healy, pgs. 479-81.

D.C. Schindler, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth; reviewed by Cyril O'Regan, pgs. 485-90.

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