God and the Teaching of Theology
Divine Pedagogy in 1 Corinthians 1-4
400 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268105211 | May 2019
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268105235 | May 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105242 | May 2019
Theologians today are facing a crisis of identity. Are they members of the academy or the church? Is it still possible to be members of both? In God and the Teaching of Theology, Steven Harris argues a way through the impasse by encompassing both church and academy within the umbrella of the divine economy. To accomplish this, Harris uses St. Paul’s description of this economy in the opening chapters of his first letter to the Corinthians.
Through Paul’s discussion of wisdom, the Spirit, and the apostles’ role in sharing that divine wisdom, theologians of the patristic, medieval, and Reformation eras found a description of their own work as educators; they discovered that they too had roles within the same divine economy.
This book thus offers a rich description of the teaching of theology as part of God’s own divine pedagogy, stretching from God the teacher himself, through the nature of students and teachers of theology, to the goal of this pedagogy: human salvation in the knowledge of God. In addressing the current identity crisis of theology faculties, Harris looks backward in order to chart a way forward. His book will appeal to academic theologians, and to theological and church educators, pastors, and Christians interested in the relationship between academic study and their faith.
Steven Edward Harris is a fellow of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics and research scholar at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.
“The book is a work of genius both in conception and execution. Steven Harris’s idea of canvassing a large number of commentaries on 1 Corinthians 1–4 from the earliest patristic period through the Reformation era shows how deeply insightful these commentators were; he weaves them together skillfully. . . . Harris understands deeply both the biblical text and the theological issues involved, and his judgments—both theological and historical—are sage and balanced. The level of scholarship here is high indeed, and this kind of ecumenical reception history on a crucial theological topic is much needed.” —Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"Harris’s book on God’s pedagogy and its human mediators within the church is a treasure to be gratefully received and shared. This rich exploration into the history of interpretation demonstrates the power of the volume’s thesis: God redemptively teaches divine truth in Christ through the faithful and humble teachers he gives us. In this case, Harris’s synoptic and ordered study of past readers of 1 Corinthians 1–4 yields, not a scholarly archive, but a vivid disclosure of divine wisdom’s formation of the Christian people. The result is a profound meditation, ecumenical in spirit, on theological learning and teaching that is incisively relevant to our own time. A remarkable achievement." —Ephraim Radner, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
"Theology is too important to be understood as an object of study to be prodded at by experts; its true, abiding nature as doctrine, that is, teaching, needs to be recognized, and that within an optimal context of teachers modeling lives under transformation. What we get from this refreshing and stimulating book is not just how God was understood in 1 Corinthians 1–4 but how human biblical science as part of a living and faithful tradition gave access to divine wisdom. A crystal clear thesis is accompanied by beautifully readable prose drawing on the length, breadth, and depth of Christian scriptural interpretation." —Mark Elliott, University of Glasgow
"John Conley’s beautifully written and cogently presented study, The Other Pascals, ambitiously and sensitively inscribes these gendered female theologians into their appropriate and well-earned historical, cultural, and religious context. In so doing, Conley adds immeasurably to our understandings of the history, philosophy, and theology of the seventeenth century."