Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2010
The beginning of the academic year, as the first article in this issue reflects, is not only a time to gather but also a time when people and ideas are scattered in various ways for the sake of theological education. The subsequent articles in this issue indeed provide evidence for the variety and potential of theology, exploring the presence of God in scripture, culture, liturgy, and the tension between science and theology.
A Time to Scatter, a Time to Gather
Catherine Playoust, pp.1-14
The beginning of the academic year (the occasion when this paper was delivered at the United Faculty of Theology) is not only a time to gather but also a time when people and ideas are scattered in various ways for the sake of theological education. Several biblical and early Christian texts deal with the themes of scattering and gathering, particularly in three interlocking contexts: the sowing of seed to produce a harvest that will be gathered in; the dispersal of a multitude and its subsequent restoration to its own land; and the assembly of a group followed by its sending forth to various places with the group’s goals in mind. Scattering comes with high risk, and often grief and sorrow, but bears the potential for joy at the attainment of the harvest or other goals. The Gospel of John is notable for portraying the crucifixion as both a time of scattering and grief (followed by regathering and joy at the resurrection) and a time of gathering and triumph.
Identity for Women: A Proposal for the gendered imago Dei based on 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Katherine Abetz, pp.15-32
1 Corinthians 11:1-16 has long been a contentious text with regard to gender relationships and the imago Dei. For women in particular, Augustine’s and Barth’s interpretations of this text fail to establish embodied identity, while feminist anthropomorphisms are no cure for this lack. This article argues that, with regard to gender and human identity, the imago Dei is best understood in terms of relations between male and female at three “levels”: divine, divine-human and human. Human gendered identity is derived from the Trinitarian pattern of relations, as well as from the reversal of female and male, noted at the human level in 1 Cor 11:11-12 and applicable to the relation of Mary and Christ. Notwithstanding the masculine bias of Augustine’s interpretation of the text, his recognition of the Son as the Father’s Word, known also as Wisdom, not only supplies the source of women’s generic identity but also reveals a non-remote cosmological first cause, presented as feminine in relation to the Father while masculine in relation to redeemed humanity.
Clifford Geertz’s Account of Culture as a Resource for Theology
Robin Koning, pp.33-57
Culture is a major category of analysis in contemporary theology, as in all of the humanities. In clarifying the idea of culture, a number of theologians, particularly those engaged in the theology of inculturation and postliberal theologians like Frei and Lindbeck, have drawn on the work of cultural anthropologist, Clifford Geertz (1926-2006). This article outlines Geertz’s definition of culture and his proposals for how culture is best studied, especially through his concepts of local knowledge, thick description and culture as text. It then offers suggestions as to why his approach, which sees culture in terms of meanings embodied in symbols, may be of use for theology.
From Stages to Strands: Re-interpreting the Liturgical Movement
Gavin Brown, pp.58-83
This study proposes a new model for interpreting the liturgical movement in the Christian denominations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most historians have argued that the liturgical movement evolved through clearly defined stages before having a decisive impact on the churches in the 1960s and 1970s. This essay moves away from a “stages model” in favour of a “strands model” of inter¬pretation, arguing that the liturgical movement was always constituted by antagonistic strands of ecclesiastical discourse which effected shifts in the outlook of the movement as the configuration of these strands altered. The pre-Vatican II Australian Church is used as a case study in applying the strands model of interpretation.
Militant Atheism and Biblical Literalism: Comrades-in-Arms for Promotion of Disharmony between the Science and Theology of Creation
Alan Clague, pp.84-96
This article considers the extreme positions of anti-Christian protagonists of the science of creation and anti-scientific protagonists of a literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation. It points out the weaknesses of the arguments of both groups, and the use of these weaknesses by both protagonists in propaganda against each other. The underlying proposal is that moderate science and moderate theology of creation do not oppose each other.
A History of Christianity in Indonesia
James Haire, pp.97-105
This volume, edited by Jan Sihar Aritonang and Karel Steenbrink, tells in English the long, involved and significant story of what has been hidden or written out of much of the sweep of the history of Christianity, especially in the dominant English-speaking world. Here we have a volume which tells the story of what are currently at least twenty-four million Christians (more people than the population of Australia), that is around ten per cent of the fourth most populous country in the world. It is also the story of the most populous Muslim country in the world, in which the interaction between Islam and Christianity has been highly significant.
The Church’s Bible Series: Isaiah, Interpreted by Early Christian and Medieval Commentators.
Rober Louis Wilken et al.
Howard N. Wallace pp.106-108
The Triune God: Doctrines. Vol. 11, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan
Bernard J. F. Lonergan
Neil Ormerod pp.106-108
The Triune God: Systematics. Vol. 12, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan
Bernard J. F. Lonergan
Neil Ormerod pp.108-110
Abiding Faith: Christianity beyond Certainty, Anxiety and Violence
Anthony J. Kelly pp.110-111
Resurrection & Responsibility: Essays on Theology, Scripture, and Ethics in Honor of Thorwald Lorenzen
Keith Dyer and David Neville (eds.)
Gerald O'Collins pp.112-113
The Freedom Paradox: Towards a Post-secular Ethic
Brendan E. Byrne pp.113-115
Shane Mackinlay pp.115-117
Identity and Mission in Catholic Agencies
Neil Ormerod (ed.)
John Honner pp.117-120
CATHERINE PLAYOUST majored in music and pure mathematics at Sydney University, followed by studies in theology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney and an STL at Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Her doctoral research at Harvard Divinity School (ThD 2006), under the direction of François Bovon, focussed upon ascension into heaven in the Gospel of John and other early Christian literature. She has also published on the infancy narratives and the Acts of Thomas. Since joining the faculty of Jesuit Theological College in 2008, she has taught New Testament at the United Faculty of Theology, Parkville, where she is currently Head of the Department of Biblical Languages and Literature.
KATHERINE ABETZ majored in French and German at the University of Tasmania, as well as completing a nursing course and becoming a nurse educator. She has won some literary awards, had short stories published in three anthologies, and had a short play accepted for use in schools. She is currently completing doctoral studies with the Melbourne College of Divinity in the area of what it means for a woman to be created in God’s image. She lives in the northeast of Tasmania, where her husband is minister of the Uniting Church parish of Scottsdale-Bridport-George Town.
ROBIN KONING teaches theology at Jesuit Theological College, Parkville. Following ordination as a Jesuit priest, he spent some years on pastoral placement with Indigenous communities in northern Australia, before receiving a doctorate in theology from Regis College and the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2005. His research interests are in inculturation (particularly in relation to Australian Indigenous cultures), Bernard Lonergan, theological method, and John Paul II. He has published in Mission: The Journal of Mission Studies and the Toronto Journal of Theology. For the first half of 2010 he is a Lonergan Fellow at Boston College.
GAVIN BROWN completed his PhD in church history at the University of Melbourne in 2003. His current areas of interest include the history and theology of the Eucharist, the history of Australian Catholicism, and cultural and literary theory. He has published articles in the Journal of Ritual Studies, the Australasian Catholic Record and the Journal of Religious History. He is currently head of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College in Melbourne, Australia.
ALAN CLAGUE, a retired Chemical Pathologist (with a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia) and a Biochemical Human Geneticist (with a Membership of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia), has published a number of papers in Chemical Pathology. He is currently pursuing postgraduate studies at St Paul's College within the Brisbane College of Theology.
JAMES HAIRE AM KSJ MAOxon PhD (Birmingham) is Professor of Theology at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Canberra and Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture at CSU. A Past President of the Uniting Church in Australia, he is also a Minister of the Evangelical Christian Church in Halmahera (Gereja Masehi Injili di Halmahera (GMIH)), Indonesia, where has lectured for the past 38 years (1972-2010), 13 of them as a resident (1972-1985).