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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Homework, already??

One of the things we have to do for Systematics is to turn in a short journal entry each class session, contemplating the reading we had to do for that day. Being a comfortable resident in the blogiverse, I figure to post them here as well.

Systematics Journal Entry #1

I found David Ford’s book, Theology: A Very Short Introduction, to be a pleasant way to start this course. I’ve been a little intimidated at the prospect of taking this class; I do not have an extensive background in this material, and there is so much to learn and absorb as to be overwhelming. However, the approach Ford takes in this text-- simple without being simplistic, and offering clear explanations to the novice without being patronizing-- is quite palatable.

I especially appreciated the way Ford outlines the spectrum of theological thought, using Frei’s linear portrayal of 5 basic types of Christian Theology (p. 23-27). That gave me a visual image, upon which I could then hang the various theologians and topics, as a basis for both comparison and understanding. It helped to have that picture in my head as I read the later sections. I could then read the chapter discussing Jesus, for example, take the various thoughts expressed there, and identify where on the spectrum they might fall. This really made it easier for me to hold on, as it were, to the discussion at hand.

An image I found less helpful was that used to illustrate the connections between world, self, and language (p. 145). In this case, the diagram seemed to me to limit understanding, rather than expand it. For example, are there not also issues of truth between world and self, as well as between world and language? The epistemological discussion of an apple (p. 147-155) was a far more effective demonstration of the intricacies involved in theological discussion and understanding.


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