Volume 18, Issue 1, February 2005
Awaiting Faith: Jacques Derrida and the Impossible Encounter with Death
John Martis, pp.1-17
What implications does the fact of death have for religious faith? In his Aporias, Jacques Derrida probes Heidegger’s well known analysis, from Being and Time, of human death as constituting the “ownmost possibility” of human being (in Heidegger’s terminology, Dasein). Derrida deems Heidegger’s account susceptible to a fatal aporia, or logical impasse. Developing Derrida’s investigation, this article further invokes Maurice Blanchot and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, linking their work to that of John D. Caputo. It proposes that death, far from confirming us as selves, confirms us as selves-in-loss. Curiously, though, this implies that the religious or “faith” attitude, properly and broadly interpreted as “a saying of ‘yes’ to the radically impossible”, is intrinsic to the interpretation of experience as such.
Uncertain Women: Sexual Irregularity and the Greater Righteousness in Matthew 1
Megan Warner, pp.18-32
The identification of the concept of the “greater righteousness” as a central theme of Matthew’s gospel provides a clue about the significance of the surprising inclusion of five women in the genealogy that opens the gospel. Matthew portrays Jesus’ teaching about the greater righteousness as being concerned not with what the world sees and perceives, but with what God sees and wants. Accordingly, it is possible that a person may be tainted in the eyes of the world and yet demonstrate the greater righteousness. It is argued that in Matthew 1 Joseph’s actions model and announce the theme of the greater righteousness for the remainder of the gospel. Further, it is argued that close consideration of the stories of the four Old Testament women mentioned in the genealogy in Matthew 1 reveals that each of the four women typifies the Matthean greater righteousness and that Mary, by analogy, is also portrayed in this way. These characters chosen to model the greater righteousness stand in antithesis to the characters chosen to model the “lesser” or “old” righteousness, the scribes and Pharisees.
Paul Among Liberals and Communitarians: Models for Christian Ethics
David G. Horrell, pp.33-52
This essay first sketches the contrasts between liberal and communitarian approaches to ethics, represented by Jürgen Habermas and Stanley Hauerwas respectively, as a contemporary context in which to read Paul’s ethics. Paul is not seen as unambiguously affirming the ecclesial ethics of Hauerwas but rather as offering a rather more diverse range of possibilities and points of critical comparison. In the closing sections of the essay three possible models for the contemporary appropriation of Pauline ethics are outlined: one is closest to an ecclesial model, another is closer to a liberal model which looks to foster a wider consensus on moral norms, and a third considers how Paul’s approach to ethics might inform a (possibly post-Christian) social ethic.
Kierkegaard as a Paradoxical Therapist
Neil Pembroke, pp.53-66
The essential problem that Søren Kierkegaard is concerned with in his authorship is that of becoming a Christian. It is argued that Kierkegaard’s authorial strategy reflects the principles of paradoxical psychotherapy. These principles indicate that both the psychological problem and its solution involve an ironic process. In the Kierkegaardian frame of reference, the situation of the immature self is paradoxical, and so is the pathway to full selfhood. The philistine and the aesthete attempt to secure autonomy and personal freedom through an external orientation. But the way to the self is inwards. Consequently, these personalities get caught in an ironic process. The further they push outwards, the further they move away from the locus of genuine selfhood and freedom. This immature form of life can only lead to a loss of self and the associated experience of despair. Paradoxically, Kierkegaard advocates the choice of despair as the way to find oneself in God.
The Bishops and Baptism: Colonial Reverberations of a Tractarian Controversy
Austin Cooper, pp.67-84
One of the great controversies arising during the later days of the Oxford (or Tractarian) Movement was the dispute concerning the nature and effects of Baptism. In England the controversy came to a head in the Gorham judgement of the Privy Council in 1850. The six Anglican bishops in Australasia (five of whom were in some sense “Tractarian”) were drawn into the issue with consequences that had little impact on the issue at home, but added fuel to acrimonious colonial debates. Colonials might import and re-play debates from the home countries, but they did so with more reference to local issues.
Music Understanding Faith
Christopher Willcock, pp.85-97
Our experience can either disclose or occlude the reality that lies at the heart of experience. The various forms of artistic expression are privileged pathways to that reality, and of these pathways music, as the most abstract of the arts, discloses the real presence in meaning in an utterly substantive way. The presentation is built upon three theses: (i) that music puts us in touch with that which transcends the sayable; (ii) that understanding, in both its substantive and verbal senses, is the act of translating an object of creative endeavour into one’s personal ”code”; and (iii) that faith is that mysterious condition or habit in which one is, to whatever degree, and with whatever constancy, familiar with God.
The Many Faces of Faith: A Guide to World Religions and Christian Traditions
Richard R. Losch
William W. Emilsen pp.98-100
1, 2, and 3 John
Mary Coloe pp.100-102
The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary
David Neville pp.102-104
Christian Contradictions: The Structure of Lutheran and Catholic Thought
Dean Zweck pp.104-106
Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition
Joerg Rieger and John J. Vincent
Gordon Dicker pp.106-108
The Futures of Evangelicalism: Issues and Prospects
Craig Bartholomew, Robin Parry, Andrew West (eds.)
Gordon Preece pp.108-111
Ministries: A Relational Approach
Edward P. Hahnenberg
Randall Prior pp.111-113
Moral and Epistemic Virtues
Michael Brady and Duncan Pritchard (eds.)
John G. Quilter pp.113-115
Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2005
Jesuit Communication Centre, Ireland
Maryanne Confoy pp.116-116
JOHN MARTIS S.J. teaches philosophy at Jesuit Theological College, Parkville, Melbourne, where he has just been appointed Principal. His specific research interest bears upon the question of modern and post-modern subjectivity and its implications for faith. His book, Something Ceaselessly Fleeing: Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Representation and the Loss of the Subject, forthcoming from Fordham University Press, will be the first monograph in any language on this continentalist philosopher.
MEGAN WARNER is Resident Tutor in Theology at Trinity College in the University of Melbourne. Her teaching career has included positions as Lecturer in Law at the University of Western Australia, Associated Teacher of the United Faculty of Theology and adjunct member of staff of the Trinity College Theological School. Her current research comprises a re-reading of Genesis 20-22, and pursues an interest in the idea of the depiction of Abraham as law observant.
DAVID HORRELL is Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies at the University of Exeter, UK. Much of his work has focused on Paul and on the use of social-scientific perspectives in New Testament studies. He is the author of The Social Ethos of the Corinthian Correspondence (T & T Clark, 1996), An Introduction to the Study of Paul (Continuum, 2000), and a forthcoming work, in which the themes of the article appearing in this issue are further developed: Solidarity and Difference: A Contemporary Reading of Paul’s Ethics (T & T Clark International, 2005).
NEIL PEMBROKE is lecturer in Religion and Psychology in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Recent publications include: “A Trinitarianian Perspective on the Counseling Alliance in Narrative Therapy”, Journal of Psychology and Christianity; and Working Relationships: Spirituality in Human Service and Organisational Life (London: Jessica Kingsley Press, 2004). His areas of scholarly interest are the integration of psychology and theology, and pastoral theology.
AUSTIN COOPER lectures in Church History and Christian Spirituality at Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne. He has published widely in matters relating to the Oxford Movement and is currently working on three English lay Tractarians who were all successful lawyers. [Editor’s Note: in 2004 Austin Cooper was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his signal contribution to theological education in Australia.]
CHRISTOPHER WILLCOCK, Australian Jesuit priest and composer, teaches liturgy in the United Faculty of Theology, Melbourne. In 2004 he was also composer-in-residence for the Melbourne Chorale, who presented the premières of two works they had commissioned: a setting of Psalm 50/51 (Miserere); and Etiquette with Angels, on a poem by Andrew Bullen S.J. The first performance of his Christmas song cycle, Southern Star, with texts by Michael Leunig, was broadcast in December 2004.