Author Archive

Jenson – Systematic Theology Volume 1 (Part I)

10/18/2011

Robert Jenson divides his dogmatics in a rather odd manner; he has authored two volumes, the first of which deals with the Trinity, the second of which deals with everything else (or the creatures, as Jenson styles it). This first post will deal with Jenson’s view of the Trinity from Vol. 1.

– “The Trinity is less a homogenous body of propositions that it is the Church’s continuing effort to recognize and adhere to the Biblical God’s hypostatic being” (90).

Jenson’s understanding of the Trinitarian doctrine is relative; that is, the formulation of the Nicene and subsequent ecumenical council are historical conditioned by the antecedent history of the Hellenistic-Mediterranean intellectual traditions to which the evangel encountered. Had it come through differing intellectual cultures it would no doubt have taken different but analogous forms.

– “God is whoever raised Jesus from the dead” (63).

Jenson attempts and mostly succeeds in constructing a very robust Trinitarian understanding. Predictably, he sides with the Alexandrian Christology over the Antiochene Christology. He cites the dissonance of Melito of Sardis with approval: “The Impassable suffered. . . .” “God was killed. . . .” He dismisses Antiochene Christology as simply Arianism transposed, trying to distinguishing the suffering Jesus from the actual Divine Son (126). For Jenson, God most definitely suffers the vicissitudes recorded in the gospel; he is crucified and finally put to death. To be sure, it is the Father that raises the Son up from the dead, though even then he does not do this dispassionately (144).

Jenson writes, “Our divine saviour is not an extra metaphysical entity, whether the incarnate Logos of the Antiochenes or ‘the Christ’ of the more feeble sorts of modern theology. He is Mary’s Child, the hanged man of Golgotha” (145).

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Pannenberg – Systematic Theology Volume 3 (Part III)

09/17/2011

While the doctrine of the  real presence in the Eucharist is something that has traditionally been an issue of saliency specifically to the theologies that derive from (or react to) the Reformation, it has lost some of its interest among modern theologians. Nevertheless, Pannenberg’s ecclesiology includes a detailed explanation of his position on the Eucharist. He does not offer his theology in a vacuum and therefore it is of some benefit for this post to recognize that Pannenberg is confessionally Lutheran.

Pannenberg contends that instead of, say, an Aristotelian doctrines of categories, the concept of anamnesis (ἀνάμνησις) or remembrance is vital for thinking the Eucharist. Pannenberg wants to say that Christ is really present in the elements of the sacrament, but only insofar as “by means of recollection of the historical Lord who went to his death” (312), and not “as a descent of the risen Lord from heaven with transfigured corporeality and mediated by the words of institution – a descent into the elements of bread and wine that have been prepared on the altar or holy table.” (311). In other words, Christ is really present, but not through some ontological change in the substantial qualities of the elements.

He elaborates in his excurses that idea of real presence was linked very early to the idea of incarnation (e.g. in Origen and Justin Martyr, the latter in turn ascribes it to Irenaeus), as in the incarnation when the heavenly Logos took fleshly form and unites himself with the elements of the bread and wine in the same way. This was the issue in the Reformation debates between Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin’s position (which was the via media between the former two).

Pannenberg, as mentioned, does not want to think of Christ’s presence as a descent from heaven into the elements. We are to think of it as “recollection of the earthly story of Jesus and his passion” that we participate in (315). Specifically, by remembering or recalling the event (ἀνάμνησις), we can be said to participate in and show solidarity, not only with the uniting of participants of the Eucharist and thus with the whole church catholic (325), but more importantly to experience solidarity with “the path of Jesus to his death,” and it is in this anamnesis that we can say that Christ is present in the signs of the wine and the bread (315.).

Pannenberg – Systematic Theology Volume 3 (Part II)

09/05/2011

This post and the one succeeding it are going to seem oddly out of place on Jeremy’s blog. This post will deal with Pannenberg’s discussion of prayer, while the next will deal with the status of the real presence in the Eucharist, both of which make up the larger portion on ecclesiology in Pannenberg’s dogmatics.

– Pannenberg begins his discussion on prayer by noting that it has no fixed or traditional place in dogmatics. Indeed, if any doctrine could be considered an appendage or addendum, or even an afterthought, it is prayer. But prayer in dogmatics is not simply an expression of religious piety but, as Pannenberg observes, a fruitful discussion of religious epistemology and pneumatology. Prayer presupposes both God and knowledge of God (202). For Pannenberg, prayer should therefore immediately proceed yet remain closely tied to pneumatology because, “the spirit alone enables us to pray and gives us strength to do so” (203).  In keeping with this, Pannenberg again nuances whether prayer should be oriented within the larger context of the cultic or religious community, as it was in world religions and ancient Israel, or whether prayer in a dogmatic context should focus on the prayer in the life of individual. Given Jesus’ pronouncements on prayer, Pannenberg sides with the latter, while noting that one can only pray alone in the Christian ecclesia when one prays together with the church, e.g. in the Lord’s Prayer.

– Pannenberg orientates prayer also within his section on love. Prayer is therefore not merely a response on the love for ones neighbour, but also love for God.

With participation in the filial relation they receive their own subjectivity before God that expresses itself as spontaneity in relation to the Father and hence also to all creaturely reality. Prayer is a particularly suitable form by which to express this divinely generated spontaneity. In it addressing God as Father stands closely related to intercession for others, so that the link between love of God and love of neighbour finds concrete manifestation in Christian prayer (205).

This again ties in to Pannenberg’s anthropological digression to the root of prayer in human history, where it probably arose among ancient tribal people as petitionary prayer in response to some emergency which exposed both humanity’s impotence relative to the powers of nature and the vicissitudes of history, as well as his awareness of this and full dependence on higher transcendent powers to which he could not obviously control but which he thought at least he could petition or at the very least satiate.

– Pannenberg writes of the conditions that Jesus attaches to having one’s prayers heard, for example, forgiveness, because for Pannenberg, “Those who will not forgive others have fallen out of the dynamic of the divine love for the world and thus have no more right confidently to invoke the Father ‘in the name of Jesus’” (209). Finally, he deals with the understanding prayer coterminous, perhaps, with the doctrine of divine providence that asks whether prayer is ultimately superfluous.  To this Pannenberg sides with the Christian tradition and says that, of course, it is not superfluous. The Kingdom, Pannenberg observes, does not come into this world like fate, unalterably fixed in every detail from the very beginning (209).

Only in the future of consummation will eternity have come fully and totally into time and taken up time into itself. But the path to this point is by no means determined in every detail. Openness to the future relative to each finite present is real, not illusory. Hence believers are summoned to cooperate with God on his way to the future of his kingdom by their actions and prayers (209-210).

Amen.

Pannenberg – Systematic Theology Volume 2 (Part III)

08/31/2011

This post will focus on §3 of chapter ten of the second volume of Pannenberg’s ST on God’s self-actualization in the world through the incarnation.

Pannenberg astutely notes that the incarnation is not irrelevant to Trinitarian doctrine as if it were some addendum to the doctrine, but is instead a natural corollary of the mutual self-distinction within the immanent trinity itself and also an outgrowth of the contingent creativity of God. Pannenberg differentiated between creation and lordship. God is, by the fact that he brought the world into being, the creator of the world. However, only insofar as he rules over the world is he Lord and also truly God in the fullest sense of the term. Certainly, God in the eternal mutual self-distinction of the intra-Trinitarian relations of the Trinity was God prior to and without the creation of the world; but the creation of the world and independent creatures necessitated for Pannenberg the fact that lordship over creation was a condition of proof of the deity of God. The rule of the Father is brought, as Pannenberg says, to acknowledgment through the incarnation and the work of the Son in Jesus Christ (390).

Pannenberg then orientates himself with his ontological eschatology; Jesus Christ is the eschaton proleptically instantiated, and brings the future of God to the present world through the death but especially the resurrection of Christ, where death has been abrogated and finitude no longer rules.  However, the presence of God in Christ also indicates God’s abiding absence in that God is only present through the Son, who in this way can be seen as a mediator between creation and the creator. This for Pannenberg is part of the independence of creation, whereby God allows creatures their own independence, which for Pannenberg forms the “inner goal of all creation” (ibid.). This divine absence reached its nadir at the cross in the cry of dereliction. But, again, for Pannenberg this absence or even abandonment “is itself a factor in [God] becoming present for the world through the son” (392). As this pertains to God’s self-actualization in the world, Pannenberg says:

Since we cannot separate the deity of God from his royal lordship, it follows that the irruption of the future of this lordship in the world of the Son has as its content the absolute reality of God in and for the world. Because, however, the sending of the Son and Spirit is from the Father, in relation to the fulfillment of the mission by the obedience of the Son the world of the Sprit, we thus may speak of a self-actualization of the Trinitarian God in the world (393).

This is not, as Pannenberg takes pains to illustrate in his excurses, an actual ontological self-actualization of God who no prior reality (393). Pannenberg cites with disapproval the idea that God is the cause of himself (causa sui). The self-actualization of which Pannenberg speaks is the self-actualizing of God through and to the world, not the self-actualization of God in and of himself.

Pannenberg – Systematic Theology Volume 2 (Part II)

08/18/2011

Pannenberg’s second volume touches on three areas: creation, anthropology, and Christology. This 2nd part will treat of Pannenberg’s anthropological remarks, which are altogether much more briefly than in his own Anthropology in Theological Perspective.

– Pannenberg beings his eighth chapter on the dignity and misery of humankind. Pannenberg prefers to use the term “misery” in place of sin here because “it sums up our detachment from God, our autonomy, and all the resultant consequences” (179).  Sin is in this way seen in light of its relations or effects as opposed to merely its brute facticity, i.e. the alienation it produces from God. With Augustine, Pannenberg says, “we are not most miserable when we are not aware of our plight – i.e. not in misfortune, sickness, or closeness to death, but when the goods of this world cause us to forget God; we are miserable in the midst of prosperity and affluence because we find life empty and meaningless” (ibid.). There is, however, above this misery a dignity to humanity related not only to both our relation to God as his creatures and our future with God in the eschaton, but primarily in the incarnation. As Pannenberg writes, “The human destiny for fellowship with God, which finds definitive realization in the incarnation of the Son, means that humanity as such, and each individual within it, is lifted above the natural world and even also above the social relations in which we exist. The destiny of fellowship with God confers inviolability on human life in the person of each individual.” (176). For Pannenberg, these two facets form the presupposition of God’s redeeming work.

– Also in his section anthropology, Pannenberg deals with the unity between body and soul. Pannenberg notes that advances in neurological sciences and their correlative establishment of the complete interrelation between physical and psychological aspects of the human person have destroyed the traditional idea of the soul as a distinct substance that contains ethereally the irreducible locus of human personhood and could, as such, survive the ceaseation of bodily and cognitive function of the human organism that come in the state of death.  As Pannenberg notes, modern theological anthropology tends to more explicitly emphasise the complete corporality of the human person as well as the unity between the body and soul in so far as the soul is not reified but instead understood as the living and vitalizing force within the body itself that is not therefore hypostasized from its function within the human person as it constituent element. Personhood does not exist outside of embodiment. Though Pannenberg notes that the Fathers, in distinction from the prevailing Platonism of the 2nd century, defended the psychosomatic unity of personhood in contending that the soul was the form of the body and the resurrection was necessary insofar as the soul was incomplete without its body, they were not able to keep Platonism from excursing into Christian thought for they accepted the prevailing Hellenistic view of the soul as an independent entity from the body. In Gen. 2:7. Pannenberg notes that insofar as the bible speaks in a language relating to Hellenistic thought, “the soul is not merely the vital principle of the body but the ensouled body itself, the living being as a whole” (185). Pannenberg would, in the language mind-body philosophy, be a physicalist to the degree that soul is not some metaphysical centre to human personhood but rather the vitalizing force that is indicative of, and necessary for, life.

Pannenberg – Systematic Theology Volume 1 (Part II)

07/18/2011

Pannenberg’s third and fourth chapters of his Systematic Theology (Vol. 1) expand his methodological considerations as he develops his understanding of the truth of God in the experience of religions, before moving on to describe the concept of revelation in the history of theology. I want to offer some points of observation, and continue to some degree Jeremy’s third point.

Pannenberg ostensibly seeks to offer a theology that is at once didactic, coherent and, most characteristically, apologetic; it should be concerned with the truth of Christian doctrine (this is in distinction from someone like Brunner, for example, who holds that systematic theology is not, as such, apologetic in nature). The apologetic aspect is something that I think is not sufficiently emphasized. Not because it is apologetic as such, but the way in which Pannenberg is apologetic. Pannenberg’s apologetic stance is hardly conventional, as he undercuts nearly all apologetic argument as they are traditionally employed.

In the chapters that Jeremy wrote on in the previous post, Pannenberg writes that the traditional arguments for the existence of God do not establish the existence of God with certitude (or even necessarily alter the debate), but that they remain important only as philosophical criteria which make talk of God broadly intelligible (95). Pannenberg also writes that Kant effectively confuted all speculative arguments for the existence of God (90). Is this apologetic?

For Pannenberg, the truth of theology is provisional and unproven. While he has a fairly high opinion of the historicity of the resurrection (more precisely, the ability of one to establish the likelihood of it’s historical occurrence, see his Jesus – God and Man), I don’t understand Clayton’s criticism that Pannenberg suffers from a lack of “epistemic humility.” The veridicality of theology is for Pannenberg, again, provisional and something that will only be determined in the eschaton. Theological truth-claims are not something that can be established in toto, and are as such contestable – in fact, theologians must expect their claims to be criticized. Hence, Pannenberg’s goal of re-establishing theology’s credibility in the university and the wider intellectual debate is central to his project (see his Theology and the Philosphy of Science).

In a related fashion, Pannenberg also dismisses of the virgin-birth as a legendary appendage to the gospel narratives, probably coming from a tradition that post-dated Paul (this, to be sure, is not necessarily unusual). As well, he undercuts the usefulness of the idea of the mythic Adamic fall. Pannenberg’s methodological chapter on the nature of religion, where he overviews the nature of religion in the context of the debate regarding religions reduction to its most universal constituent factors, is again subservient to the section on the question of truth in the concept of religion.

Certainly, Pannenberg’s theology is oriented toward an apologetic stance, but it is not an apologetic stance that can be understood as an uncritical salvaging of the Christian tradition from the exigencies of external criticism. The great strength of Pannenberg’s strong methodological dialogue with the natural sciences (which is more clearly evident in the second volume of this systematic theology than this one), is that Pannenberg allows these other disciplines (e.g. anthropology, cosmology, etc.) to correct his theology quite freely. If a doctrine can no longer be held because it has been rendered meaningless through the insights of another discipline, then Pannenberg happily jettisons it. If  I could, I would describe Pannenberg’s Systematic Theology as ‘a dogmatics without dogma.’

Jungel – God as the Mystery of the World (Part II)

06/28/2011

Eberhard Jüngel’s God as the Mystery of the World is a remarkable book, ranging impressively from constructive appropriations of the theologies of Hegel and Bonhoeffer, particularly their understanding of the incarnation, to theological evaluations of atheism in Nietzsche, Fichte, and Feuerbach, and to masterly and original theological insights on the analogous talk of God (which he carries out adroitly in conversation with Barth), all while trying to avoid a simplistic dichotomy between theism and atheism. Perhaps the only real weakness in the book is that it’s missing a discussion with, or even mention of, Altizer, given that so much of its contents centre around discussing the meaning of the death of God. Jungel also represents one the finest example of constructively building of Bonhoeffer’s theology in the Barthian tradition, which seems to some degree to have ignored some of Bonhoeffer’s more radical insights (although I realize there are somewhat different schools of thought regarding how one should interpret Bonhoeffer’s corpus, particularly his famous Letters).

Although this is becoming something of a platitude in prefaces to my posts, I would like to note that this book is peculiarly difficult to summarize, although, to be fair, this is probably due as much to my poor skills of summarization as it does with Jüngel’s distaste for succinctness. As an example of Jüngel’s work, I want to isolate a small section where he discusses Nietzsche and Paul together on his chapter of the unity of perishability and God.

Jüngel speaks of this antithesis between the metaphysical conception of God, which cannot think God as anything other than totally apathetic and immutable and cannot, consequently, think of God as crucified. Paul’s understanding of God, Nietzsche astutely realized, was not a continuation or a mere revision of the God concept understood thusly. It was its complete negation, deus, qualem Paulis, creavit, dei negation (205).  The “God” who Paul creates as the crucified one, the God who is the sole source of discussion in the apostolic literature, is a God who confounds the wisdom of the world. As Jungel writes, “For Paul, the Crucified One is weak, subject to death” (206).  This thinking of God as weak – of linking perishability with God – was not a source of sorrow for Paul. On the contrary, this is the centre of the gospel, the source of joy and rejoicing. Jungel notes that, for Paul, there is one phenomenon that does not see a contradiction between power and weakness: love. (One could, consequently, read God as the Mystery of the World as a commentary on the statement “Deus caritas est” from John’s Epistle). “It is the unity of power and weakness, and such is certainly the most radical opposite of the will to power which cannot affirm weakness. Pauline ‘theology of the cross’ (theologia crucis) is, accordingly, the most stringent rejection of all deification of self-willing power” (206). For Nietzsche, even if this God was true he could not believe in him (ibid).

This robust logic understanding of the incarnation, the logic of which Jüngel outlines with the help of Nietzsche, Paul et al, is for me the most impressive part of Jüngel’s work. Jüngel has no fear of exploring the consequences of the death of God. Few are the theologians who truly pursue the logic of the incarnation to its end.

Bonhoeffer – Ethics (Part I)

06/06/2011

In my post on the first half of Bonheoffer’s Ethics, I’m going to concentrate my focus on his first chapter, titled appropriately “Christ, Reality and Good.” [I should also mention that we are using the newest English language edition of Bonhoeffer’s works, Ethics being volume six].

Bonheoffer begins startlingly with this abrupt statement:

Those who even wish to focus on the problem of a Christian ethics are faced with an outrageous demand – from the outset they must give up, as inappropriate to this topic, the very two questions that led them to deal with the ethical problem:  ‘How can I be good ?’ and ‘How can I do something good.’ Instead they must ask themselves the wholly other, completely different question: ‘what is the will of God?’ (47).

In this, the first sentence of his Ethics, Bonheoffer’s intimates his intention that he seeks to overturn to entire project of conventional philosophical ethics. For Bonheoffer, theological ethicists are not to attempt to adjudicate what is good and bad in abstracto or even in relation to the world, through its values and conventions; they are to find out what the will of God is, a wholly different and more radical question, because “it presupposes a decision about ultimate reality, that is, a decision of faith” (Ibid).

While the oft-used ‘Christocentricism’ risks becoming passé from continual misuse, Bonheoffer can hardly be described as anything else. His is a powerful discussion of Christian ethics, one that I’ am in overwhelming sympathy with (this book, it should be mentioned,  is read profitable with his Discipleship). Bonheoffer ethics are really an expansion of Luther’s theologia crucis. For Bonheoffer, a Christian ethics is not something that can be thought generally or abstractly, apart from God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ. Bonheoffer offers  an ethica crucis, if you like. One cannot simply adjudicate difficult ethical questions through general philosophical principles which one may presuppose and ratiocinate. Being good, moreover, is not some correspondingly abstractive orientation that one only simply ‘is’ or ‘is not.’  Instead, good is only known through knowledge of Christ. “Faith in this Jesus Christ,” Bonheoffer says, “is the source of all good” (75).

Of all the theologians I have read, only Bonheoffer truly grasps the fullest expression of the disjunction between being in the world and being in God. Bonheoffer fully affirms the world in all its profane vicissitudes. The only way to be truly for Christ is to be truly in the world. There is no escaping or avoidance. The church is not a community that separates itself from the world, offering a crass “Platonism for the people” (Nietzsche) that despises the world, longing only for an ethereal or otherworldly heaven. It is a body that recognizes the unity of the world and God affected by Christ. “It is a denial of God revelation wish to be ‘Christian’ without being ‘Worldly,’ or to wish to be worldly without seeing and recognizing the world in Christ (58).” The monk and the cultural bourgeois Protestant are thus two sides of this same coin: the former ignoring the world, and the later ignoring Christ. As Bonheoffer argues, there are not two realities battling over each other for supremacy. The reconciliation between the two has been affected by Christ. The only way to be truly in Christ is to be fully in the world. Reality is made one in Christ.

Kierkegaard – Philosophical Fragments

05/02/2011

It is obviously inappropriate to try to present Kierkegaard’s thinking like it’s an overarching philosophical system by extracting one part from a mosaic of his thought and demonstrating how it connects to another part. The best way to misunderstand Kierkegaard is to mistake his philosophy for a ‘system.’ I won’t, therefore, try to write some sort of overview of this work, but simply concentrate on one aspect of his Philosophical Fragments, which has been the practice of our blog posts anyway.

Although the bulk of Philosophical Fragments concerns itself with outlining how a concrete historical personage can represent eternal truth (as an answer of sorts to Lessing’s ugly ditch of history), I’m going to concentrate this blog post on Chapter III and Kierkegaard’s discussion of the arguments for the existence of God, a topic which has of late been preoccupying my thinking.

How does one demonstrate the existence of God? This is a difficult question, usually answered by the broaching of certain, now almost classically codified arguments, grouped under titular genuses that claim to show that God is the demonstrable corollary of their deductive (or inductive) powers. For Kierkegaard, this endeavour is pure folly. Firstly, why does one attempt to demonstrate the existence of God? Of course, if God does not exist, then this renders his demonstration impossible. But the proponent of this type of natural theology must have already concluded that God exists, or else he would have realized the laboriousness of his task in attempting to prove the existence of something that does not exist. Kierkegaard writes, “The whole demonstration continually becomes something entirely different, becomes an expanded concluding development of what I conclude from having presupposed that the object of investigation exists” (40).

Further, the arguments for the existence of God seek to demonstrate God from his works: the world is what is given and God is what is sought (from the given). As Kierkegaard avers, one does not demonstrate that the stone exists, but that what exists is a stone; in the same way, a court of law does not demonstrate that the criminal exists, but that who does indeed exist is a criminal (ibid.). Natural theology does not demonstrate that God exists, but that the world which exists is from God (or the world which exists is a creation of God, and by being a creation of God, God must therefore exist to create it). Arguments for the existence of God are not, then, per se about God, but about the world.

Kierkegaard agrees that in God essentia involvit existentiam and that God’s works are works only God can do (42). But, God’s works are not directly visible to us. As Luther wrote, if we are to judge the creation of the world and its governance by ways visible and known to us than we must conclude that either God is a malicious tyrant or that he simply does not exist. For Kierkegaard, we cannot demonstrate the existence of God though this method of syllogistic ratiocination, all we can do is “elucidate the God concept” (43). “For the fool says in his heart there is no God, but he who says in his heart or to others: just wait a little while and I shall demonstrate it – ah, what a rare wise man he is!” (ibid.).

Tracy’s Blessed Rage for Order Part II

04/26/2011

I suppose the machinations of theological methodology are a necessary evil of the discipline, an extended prolegomena that precedes actual theological reflection; a sort of reflecting on how one reflects, if you like.

If Tracy’s Blessed Rage for Order is a second order reflection on reflecting about God, then this blog post is a third-order reflection; to put it awkwardly, a reflection on how one has reflected on reflecting (and any comments on this post thus simply become fourth-order instances in this same continuum). The Roman Catholic theologian David Tracy’s Blessed Rage for Order is one of the most eminent and important examples of this type theological methodology, a meditation not so much on theology itself, but on how one should do theology – or, in what context in which theology should be carried out. To this end, as Jeremy helpfully outlines in the previous post, Tracy basically outlines what he sees as five basic models of theology that are presently employed; the orthodox, the neo-orthodox, the radical, the liberal, and the revisionist. I will not so much take issue with how he has labeled theologians so much as with the fact that he has labelled them at all.

While it is natural to try and organize thinkers in thoroughgoing acts of categorization, I think naming in such a manner is part of a power discourse that ultimately seeks to negate what he been named by placing thinkers who share a few superficial commonalties into a group so that they can be dismissed. As Kierkeegard somewhere said, “Once you label me you negate me.” Hence the reason why some scholars deny the existence of the category of Gnosticism, which is really a large and disparate category of various religious tendencies grouped under a model and which the early church dismissed. This is my largest issue with Tracy’s theological methodology. In comparing his revisionist model to others, he hardly seems to be to do justice to any of them.  I have an especial distaste for the term “neo-orthodox” to describe the school of theology supposedly fronted by Karl Barth, as if Barth, Brunner, and Tillich were identical theologically. The category seems woefully inaccurate. The term certainly rpceeds Tracy, and perhaps I am taking out some of my angst at such categorization on Tracy, but I don’t find it helpful. But more to the point, I don’t see how the neo-orthodox as outlined by Tracy is mutually exclusive of his concept of orthodoxy, which as Tracy represents covers quite a wide spectrum (24). (I don’t think, for example, anyone would really question Barth’s orthodoxy.) Moreover, for Tracy neo-orthodox is really a reaction to and part of the liberal model. A “moment” in the liberal model, as Tracy words it (27).  Thus, neo-orthodox can be thought of as part of three of the five models.

His fifth model is, as far as I can tell, really best described as a modification of the liberal or neo-orthodox category, as Tracy spends a great deal of time in the book developing a method of correlation distinct, but not unlike, Tillich’s more famous ‘method of correlation.’ His whole dichotomy of placing certain theological systems into models is for me unhelpful and obfuscating. And because of its general nature, it really does not do justice to the systems it seeks to categorize.