Vox Theologiae

Boldness and Humility in Public Theological Speech

in International Journal of Public Theology
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This article explores the sense in which Christian theology should speak in a manner befitting its nature and content: namely, with humility and boldness in equipoise. The article uses the term vox theologiae (the voice of theology) to do so. The article builds on the works of Herman Bavinck and Karl Barth and various earlier theological approaches to virtue and aesthetics, in order to understand the particulars of theology’s voice. As such, the article attempts to explain why theology gears its practitioner towards a form of public speech rooted in simultaneous daringness and modesty; in so doing, it enters public theology with a particular focus on the place of dogmatics (as a distinct theological discipline) in the public realm.

Vox Theologiae

Boldness and Humility in Public Theological Speech

in International Journal of Public Theology

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References

3

Alvin Plantinga‘Internalism, Externalism, Defeaters and Arguments for Christian Belief’Philosophia Christi 3 (2001) 379–400 at 379.

4

Catherine CornilleThe Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue (New York: Crossroad Publishing2008) pp. 9–58.

5

Ibid. p. 12.

6

Rowan WilliamsFaith in the Public Square (London: Bloomsbury Continuum2012); Roger Trigg Religion in Public Life: Must Faith Be Privatized? (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007) and Jonathan Chaplin Talking God: The Legitimacy of Religious Public Reasoning (London: Theos 2008).

12

Herman Bavinck‘Schoonheid en Schoonheidsleer’ in Verzamelde Opstellen op het gebied van Godsdienst en Wetenschap (Kampen: J.H. Kok 1921) pp. 262–80. English version: Herman Bavinck ‘Of Beauty and Aesthetics’ in Herman Bavinck Essays on Religion Science and Society ed. John Bolt trans. Harry Boonstra and Gerrit Sheeres (Grand Rapids: Baker 2008) pp. 245–60.

13

Robert S. Covolo‘Herman Bavinck’s Theological Aesthetics: A Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis’The Bavinck Review2 (2011) 43–58 at 43–44.

18

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 31.

19

Ibid. pp. 45–6.

23

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 46.

29

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 32.

31

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 31.

32

Ibid. p. 44.

35

See James Eglinton‘Structural Theology and the Doctrine of God’ in Trinity and Organism: Towards a New Reading of Herman Bavinck’s Organic Motif (London and New York: T. & T. Clark 2012) pp. 89–94.

36

BarthChurch Dogmatics 1.2 The Doctrine of the Word of God p. 167. In this context Barth’s distinction between the voice and voices of the church is helpful (see ibid. p. 46).

37

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 45.

38

Ibid. (here Bavinck cites Julius KaftanZur Dogmatik (Tübingen: Mohr1901) p. 21).

39

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena pp. 45–6.

40

Ibid. p. 45.

41

Ibid. p. 46 (my italics).

42

BarthChurch Dogmatics 1.2 The Doctrine of the Word of God p. 138.

44

Ibid. p. 37.

48

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 46.

50

See Edward Idris CassidyEcumenism and Interreligious Dialogue: Unitatis Redintegratio Nostra Aetate (Mahwah: Paulist Press2005) pp. 10 and 16.

53

Donald MacleodPriorities for the Church (Fearn: Christian Focus2003) pp. 100–16.

54

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena pp. 612–13.

57

Bellarmine‘De justif’Controversiisi 8 cited in Bavinck Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 613.

59

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena614; see Berkouwer The Church p. 283.

60

Herman BavinckDe Katholiciteit van Christendom en Kerk: Rede bij de overdracht van het rectoraat aan de Theol. School te Kampen op 18 Dec. 1888 (Kampen: G.Ph. Zalsman1888) p. 26.

61

BavinckReformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena p. 614.

62

BerkouwerThe Church p. 283.

63

Welker‘Is Theology in Public Discourse Possible outside Communities of Faith?’ p. 120. For multiple publics see David Tracy The Analogical Imagination: Christian Theology and the Culture of Pluralism (New York: Crossroad 1981) p. 3. Tracy writes of three publics: society the academy and the church.

64

Júlio Paulo Tavares Zabatiero‘From the Sacristry to the Public Square: The Public Character of Theology’International Journal of Public Theology6 (2012) 56–69.

65

Ibid.69.

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