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Category Archives: Theological Ontology

Idolatry and participation

Lately, I’ve noticed several re-articulations of a theological trend we’ve talked about here plenty of times before, namely the position that the church’s practices mediate God’s presence and action in the world, form Christians to be virtuous selves in contrast to the acids of modernity, and make Christ concretely present in the world, when otherwise […]

Is evil privation?

It has become an almost undisputed datum in contemporary theology that evil is to be understood in the Augustinian manner as a privation of goodness. Evil has no reality or being as such. Rather it is simply a lack, a minus within the plenitude of goodness (See for example Confessions VII 13[19]). This sounds absolutely […]

Augustine and Self-Constituting Narration

Brian Horne’s essay “Person as Confession” is an interesting look at what Augustine was perhaps “doing” in writing his Confessions. This has clearly been a source of debate among scholars of Augustine for some time, but Horne’s analysis certainly poses some interesting questions. Why, for example did Augustine assume that people would be interested in […]

A Further Note on Perichoresis

Many of the advocates for social trinitarianism point to its ethical and political implications. If human relationality is supposed to image divine trinitarian relationality, then clearly there are a great many ethical implications from this about community, social justice, etc. Moltmann in particular typifies this sort of claim. Moreover, the claim for the robustness of […]

Human Being as Gratuity and Futurity

Previously I’ve charged David Bentley Hart with proffering a primarily protological ontology. But here he strikes a more resolute eschatological note: “Both our being and our essence always exceed the moment of our existence, lying before us as gratuity and futurity, mediated to us only in the splendid eros and terror of our in fieri, […]

Bringing One Another into Being

I seem to keep returning to Douglas Knight’s The Eschatological Economy.  I certainly think that it deserves to be counted among the best theological books in recent years.  One suggestive claim offered in the book involves, in a sense, a heightening, or a radicalization of what in recent years has come to be called a […]

The Metaphysics of Discipleship

Perhaps the recurring issue in discussions of Christian discipleship regards simply whether or not it is something that Christians should think they can actually do.  Not long into the established church’s history the notion became prominent that the ethics of Jesus, particularly as recorded in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and other prominent […]

The Kenotic Subject

“The kenosis of God creates the possibility of a human subject very different from the consumer self.  The absolute uniqueness of Christ cannot be subsumed under any more general categories of being.  If God is God, then God must always be beyond our comprehension: si comprehendis non est Deus.  We are, nevertheless, invited to participate […]

The Ontology of Telekinesis

It’s always interesting what the American superhero genre does to reveal the contemporary zeitgeist.  While I wouldn’t doubt that children of all epochs have wished they could fly or had super strength, the American superhero mythos is a particular phenomenon which reveals all manner of interesting thins about the Western understanding of power and selfhood.  This […]

Karl Barth Blog Conference 2008: Update

As it turns out my own proposal for a plenary paper for this year’s Karl Barth Blog Conference will be published on day three of the conference.  The title for my piece is “A Still Greater Historicity:  Hegel, Jüngel, and the Historicization of God’s Being”.  This paper will exmine  the role of Hegel in Jüngel’s trinitarianism […]

Basic Ontology: A Meditation

The truth of the matter is that giving life away isn’t the least bit sexy or heroic. Frankly it’s often the most draining, shitty way to live that you could ever think of. After all, giving life away means that often your life is going to end up being consumed by those around you. In […]

Death, Martyrdom and the End of Words

I like words.  No, I love words.  I confess that I especially love theological words that I can often italicize, either because I like to emphasize them or (even better), because they are Greek or Latin words, the mere transcribing of which lends credibility to any argument.  Ekstasis, perichoresis, hypostasis, circumincessio, logos incarnandus, unio mystica, […]

I have no ontology!

In a recent post at Faith & Theology, George Hunsinger and Kim Fabricious go head-to-head in a ‘propositions-off’ about the much-discussed issue of the logos asarkos.  While there is much in that post that I would like, and hope someday to respond to, there was one statement by Hunsinger that particularly struck me.  For his fifth proposition, […]

Resurrection and Revolution: Some Ontological Considerations

In some recent conversations at Faith & Theology there has been a lot discourse about the ontological implications of the resurrection of Christ.  Basically, the argument is between those who insist that we must find a “logically prior” ontological ground for the resurrection of Christ in a postulated eternal logos asarkos and those who argue that the resurrection […]

John Zizioulas on Intelligent Design?

I’m now reading what I take to be the best book written by an Orthodox theologian in the last 20 years, with the possible exception of Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite.  John Zizioulas’ Communion and Otherness is a masterpiece that is not only beautifully Eastern, but philosophically erudite and which engages meaningfully with Western […]

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