Theology: A Very Short Introduction
by David F. Ford
Oxford University Press, 1999

The interactions herein will contain short quotes, followed by questions that have been raised by the quotes and their context.

Chapter Two. Theology and Religious Studies: How is the Field Shaped?, pp. 16-30.

p. 16 "Theology deals with questions of meaning, truth, beauty, and practice raised in relation to religions and pursued through a range of academic disciplines."

Given this definition of academic theology, what is the place of inter-disciplinary integration in the church context? If such integration should indeed take place in the church context, how should we go about it?

In the academy--especially in the distinctively Christian seminary--how do we go about balancing questions of meaning, truth, beauty, and practice without overemphasizing any one area?

p. 20 [refers to three responsibilities of theology] "If this is the 'ecology of responsibility' embracing academy, faith communities, and societies, clearly different institutions have very different emphases within it. All institutions should ideally recognize all three responsibilities, but their balancing of them can vary widely."

How can instutitions assess their current balance of academic, faith community, and societal concerns?

Once the assessment has been completed, how do we go about making corrections, and on what basis are such corrections determined?

p. 30 [refers to five types--or categories--of academic theology] "At one extreme (Type 1) theology is assessed from the outside according to whether or not it agreed with some modern framework or agenda. At the other extreme (Type 5) theology is a repetition of some past expression of Christian faith and so is completely internal to it... Type 2 tries to do justice to what is distinctive in Christianity while choosing one modern framework through which to show its relevance. Type 3 does without any overall integration and engages in continual correlation... Type 4 gives priority to Christian self-description..."

Which types are faithful to Christian orthodox belief?

How much room exists for questions in the Type 3 and Type 4 categories?

When do the questions begin to undermine the truth?


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