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Tuesday, July 18, 2006 

Concerning Theology and a Possible Name Change

I must confess to the dismay of many of my theologian friends that I have never cared too much for "systematic theology." If you take a glance at my library you will find that it is heavy on biblical studies and light on theology, particularly systematic theology. My problem with much systematic theology is its presupposition about revelation being propositional. And because of the assumption of the nature of revelation as propositional it is a small step forward to systematization. The reason I have a problem with systematization is that it assumes an exhausitive continuity in revelation that I do not think is there in our biblical witness. But I also prefer biblical studies over systematic theology for a more practical reason: I am a fan of all things historical. To put this another way, when I read works related to the field of biblical studies I feel more grounded in history. Yet when I read systematic theology it is more often than not an engagement in asbstract thinking which in turn causes me to feel divorced from history.

Nevetheless, theology is a necessary discipline. In fact my favorite statement, "God raised Jesus from the dead" is itself a theological indicative that I myself have tried to unpack in a theological manner (see this post in particular). For those of us who are believers whenever we read our Bible and reflect upon on it or when we present the gospel message we engage in a theological task. Thus I hope no one thinks I am dismissing theology altogether. My problem is that sometimes systematic theology goes further than it should, sometimes beyond the "Wholly Other" that it seeks to present.

But as this post by Chris Tilling nicely pointed out there has arisen a broad, unhealthy division between those rooted in biblical studies (Tilling uses the term "exegetes") and theologians. This gulf has caused both groups to make egregious errors in their respective disciplines. For this reason, I am committing to reading more theological works than I have in the past. Therefore, to my readers, do not be surprised if some of my future posts become a bit more "theological." However, the vast majority of my blog will still be devoted to the general field of biblical studies which brings me to a question that I would like to ask my regular readers.

Initially when I started this site I wanted to chiefly focus on issues concerning the resurrection, thus its title. The problem is that my own interests have always been much more broad (as my recent series has exhibited). Moreover, I realize that eventually I could exhaust material on which to blog about concerning the resurrection. This has occasioned the possibility of changing the name of my blog which I am definitely considering. But before I decide I would like to have some input from my regular readers as to whether or not this would be a good idea. (For one thing I realize it would mean those who are linked to me will have to change their link addressess and so I'm not sure if I want to cause that). If you do not wish to leave comments then feel free to e-mail me. I would appreciate any feedback you all are willing to offer.

I say that if you feel as though you have exhausted all potential good posts on the Resurrection, then by all means switch! Those of us who blog on a regular basis waste enough time as it is...and so a little more to change a link won't be too difficult. Any potential new names?

Stick with your original name! After all, all theology is ultimately about the resurrection, in one way or another.

Thanks for the link. I would suggest you keep the name; I like it personally. And any more engagement with theology is always welcome!

I really like the current title. I wouldn't worry about it appearing to reflect narrow interests -- I never assumed the blog was going to be about "just" resurrection issues on account of its title.

The growth of panentheism assures the growth of the negative theology of Bishop Nicholas of Cusa and the unification of Science and Theology. In my new book 'The First Scientific Proof of God' (see http://georgeshollenberger.blogspot.com/), I discuss Cusa and negative theology in fine detail. I do not believe that system theology will have a long life.

Like Loren, I like the title and I always assumed you would blog on topics other than the resurrection.

You could always change the title of the blog without changing your url. Maybe opt for an unpronouncable symbol, and refer to it as "the blog formerly known as Resurrection Dogmatics".

Obviously you should do whatever you like! But personally, I really like the current name -- I think it's one of the best blog-names around.

And right from the start, I never thought that the whole blog would be about "the resurrection" -- rather I simply assumed that you would be thinking theologically from the starting-point of the resurrection.

So anyway, if you decide to change the name, make sure the new name is equally cool and equally evocative!

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