David Tracy gave a long lecture on the “tragic unconscious of the West.” He summarized the tragic vision as including a) necessity; b) intense suffering and c) an active response to suffering that is not necessarily heroic. One of the intriguing points he made was that tragedy’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Hart defends himself

David Hart responded to several critiques of his book, The Beauty of the Infinite , in an AAR session this morning. Gerard Loughlin defended Nicholas Lash against Hart’s assaults on his endorsement of a tragic reading of the gospels. Hart responded by saying that he had not misread or . . . . Continue Reading »

Why the Son?

James Jordan suggests that the reason the Son enters the world to take the bride has to do with the structure of the Triune life and with the factor of time. History is about the human race growing from the daughter of God into the bride of God; humanity is daughter to the Father and is destined to . . . . Continue Reading »

Music and Spirit

A couple of interesting lectures on Music and Theology in the Christian Systematic Theology group of AAR. Nick Adams offered a very detailed and technical discussion of Messiaen’s Messe de la Pentecote in order to explore some issues in doctrinal change and continuity. He noted that Messiaen . . . . Continue Reading »

Nuggets from James Jordan

A few notes from the ever-stimulating James Jordan, who spoke at a conference in Lancaster, PA this weekend: 1) He connected the opened eyes of Adam and Eve after the fall with the Lord’s seeing in Gen 1, where sight is associated with evaluation and judgment. To say that their eyes were . . . . Continue Reading »

Hart on creation

Reviewing David Hart’s recent book on the tsunami in The Christian Century, Willis Jenkins writes, “Curiously underplaying the resources of his own Eastern Orthodox tradition, Hart only vaguely affirms that creation must be an ‘ecstasy of spiritual intelligence and desire.’ . . . . Continue Reading »


John Milbank gave a very long, very dense lecture (amusingly interrupted by microphone problems and a fire-alarm evacuation of the hotel) on Sophiology and theurgy, drawing mainly on Bulgakov. I can’t say that I understood all that was going on, but I resonated to one respondent who asked why . . . . Continue Reading »


John Franke’s lecture at ETS argued that postfoundational theology must be joined to a postcolonial attention to the “margins” of the Christian church. Though the postcolonial point was the thrust of the lecture, I was interested, given some current controversies in which Franke . . . . Continue Reading »

Luther and Imputation

Scott Clark presented a paper arguing that imputation was inherent in Luther’s mature understanding of justification, challenging various alternative readings of Luther, particularly those arising from the Finnish Lutherans. He offered a number of helpful points: He gave a quick but helpful . . . . Continue Reading »

Rehabilitating patriarchy

Russell Moore gave a vigorous presentation at ETS on why egalitarians are winning the evangelical gender debate. He summarized some of the recent sociological work on evangelical family life, which presents a mixed picture. On the one hand, Bradford Wilcox’s Soft Patriarchs, New Men shows . . . . Continue Reading »