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Menno R. Kamminga

This article revisits theologian Ulrich Duchrow’s three-decade-old use of the Protestant notion of status confessionis to denounce the capitalist global economy. Scholars quickly dismissed Duchrow’s argument; however, philosopher Thomas Pogge has developed a remarkable “negative duty”—based critique of the current global economic order that might help revitalize Duchrow’s position. The article argues that sound reasons exist for the churches to declare the contemporary world economy a—provisionally termed—status confessionis minor. After explaining the inadequacy of Duchrow’s original position and summarizing Pogge’s account, the article develops a twofold argument. First, Pogge’s in-depth inquiry into the world economy gives Duchrow’s call for a status confessionis a strong yet narrowing economic foundation. Second, to declare the world economy a status confessionis minor is theological-ethically justifiable if the limited though indispensable “prophetic” significance of doing so is acknowledged. Thus, Duchrow’s approach is justified, but only partially.

Andrew Basden and Sina Joneidy

Meaning is important in everyday life, and each science focuses on certain ways in which reality is meaningful. This article (the second of two) discusses practical implications of Herman Dooyeweerd’s understanding of meaning for everyday experience, scientific theories, scientific methodology, and philosophical underpinning. It uses eight themes related to meaning in Dooyeweerd’s philosophy, which are discussed philosophically in the first article (and summarised here). This article ends with a case study in which the themes are applied together to understanding Thomas Kuhn’s notion of paradigms.

Roel Jongeneel

In contrast to the dominant way of thinking in economics, in which economics is seen as a positive or neutral science, this paper argues that economics is a discipline that has its own normativity. This economic normativity should be distinguished from what is usually considered as ethics, which normally has a broader scope (e.g., stewardship). This paper further argues that the budget constraint is a key source of economic normativity, although it is not the only source. Economic-theoretical and philosophical aspects are discussed, and consequences for economic life and policy are assessed.

Michael J. DeMoor

This paper offers a characterization and critique of the idea of bounded rationality and its consequences for public policy. It offers an alternative way of accounting for the crucial features of human rationality that bounded rationality sees, using categories inspired by the Reformational philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and others, and then shows how this alternative account of the “bounds” of human rationality points toward an alternative orientation toward public policy-making.

Migration as a Sign of the Times

Towards a Theology of Migration


Edited by Judith Gruber and Sigrid Rettenbacher

Migrations are contested sites of identity negotiations: they are not simply a process of border crossings but more so of border shiftings. Rather than allowing migrants to swiftly move across stable borders from one clearly defined identity to another, migrations question and renegotiate these very identities. Migrations undermine and re-establish borders along which the identity of migrants (and also that of the supposedly settled population) are constituted, and, as a discourse, migrations serve as a contested site of negotiating identities. Migrations reveal the negotiable character of identities - and representations of migration are themselves a hotspot in contemporary identity constructions.

What can theology contribute to the negotiations on migration? The contributions of this volume work towards a reading of migration as a sign of the times. Together, they offer "steps towards a theology of migration." They show that migration calls for a new way of doing. A theology that is exposed to migration as a sign of the times is drwan into the shifting, unsettling, and undermining of borders. This has impact not only on the discourse of migration, but also on the discourse of theology: it calls theology to move away from its search for well-established definitions (literally: borders) of its God-talk and to venture into new, uncharted territory. It loses its fixed, clearly defined grounds and finds itself on the way toward a renegotiation of what it means to believe in, celebrate, and reflect on YHWH - on God who is with us on the way.

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning

Interpretation, Disagreement, and World Christianity


Joshua Broggi

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning examines the effect of Christian commitments on rationality. When Christians read scripture, traditions supply concepts that shape what counts as normal, good, and true. This book offers an account of how different communities produce divergent readings of the Bible. It considers two examples from World Christianity, first a Bakongo community in central Africa, and then a Tamil bishop in southern India. Each case displays a relation between tradition and reason that reconfigures the hermeneutical picture developed by Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. To see what transpires when readers decide about a correct interpretation, this book offers theologians and scholars of religion a fresh strategy that keeps in view the global character of modern Christianity.

Calvin's Salvation in Writing:

A Confessional Academic Theology


William A. Wright

Academic writing is not a neutral medium for conveying truth; its powers and faults must be exposed before theology entrusts its mysteries to the academic text. To that end, William Wright, en route to putting Calvin’s Salvation in Writing, institutes a new theological genre, “theography”: theology that “confesses” its academic parameters--with both gratitude and repentance. He delineates those parameters by contrasting the philosophical rationales for writing found in Hegel and Derrida. Drawing on their insights into dialectic and difference, Wright sets out Calvin’s doctrine of justification and sanctification across a shifting written terrain. Observing Calvin’s doctrinal structure thus becomes a path to save academic writing from claiming for itself either too much or too little.

Calvin's Salvation in Writing: A Confessional Academic Theology is the philosophically boldest employment of Calvin to date. Through innovatively mining Calvin’s theology, William Wright designs a new method of theology that will enliven the field.