Tag Archives: article review

Article | Filling the Governance Gap by Allan Wallis

Read Filling the Governance Gap by Allan Wallis, my annotated copy of this article.

Wallis, Allan D. “Filling the Governance Gap.” National Civic Review 87, no. 1 (1998).

Notes

The dominant vision for regional growth

  1. Ownership of a detached single-family house;
  2. Automobile ownership;
  3. Low-rise workplaces;
  4. Small communities with strong local governments;
  5. Environment free from signs of poverty.

Downs says the dominant vision succeeds admirably in satisfying short-term needs, while simultaneously making it more difficult to solve long-term problems. (103)

Past solutions, notably those that are essentially structural (such as city/county consolidations), offer limited promise for filling the governance gap. Never- theless, some sustaining structure is essential lest regionalism resolve itself to being a celebration of process over substance. But what kind of structure, and how much is needed? “Herein lies a regional paradox,” Savitch and Vogel con- clude. “If metropolitan regions are to pursue effective policies, they must be politically viable (i.e., command popular and elite consensus), yet regional bodies whose policies go beyond the bounds of consensus are apt to lose that viability. In effect, the more aggressive regions become, the less power they possess. Regional bodies must then forever balance these tensions, trading off and adapting themselves to pressure and circumstances. The challenge is to do this while taking a long-term view of the need to convert political legitimacy into broader political mandates.”

Resolving this paradox requires more than analyses of all of the things that are problematic with current arrangements. It requires, as Downs suggests, some type of shared vision based on shared values that are in turn embodied in institutional arrangements.

These visions and values need to be developed simultaneously at the neigh- borhood and regional levels. At the neighborhood level, people must be con- vinced of a net gain in shifting from patterns of spatial and social organization that follow the current dominant vision to a new vision and lifestyle. This is beginning to happen as more and more local comprehensive plans adopt the language of the new urbanist and call for creation of urban villages and transit- oriented developments. At the same time, it is necessary to create vision and binding values at the regional level. A call for environmental stewardship that is based on preserving the natural assets of each region is one important foun- dation. Developing fair-share formulas for distributing a wide range of land uses, including affordable housing, is another.

Vision and values flow through networks of communications and social interaction. This calls for the kind of civic networking that Dodge, Peirce, and others23 recognize as essential to the development of regionalism. Unfortu- nately, evidence of that sort of networking is still hard to find.

Does all this support the contention of such pragmatists as Savitch and Vogel, that the pace for achieving regionalism will be glacial? Not necessarily. If other advanced industrialized countries continue to move rapidly forward on government reform, embracing regionalism in order to make themselves more globally competitive, then changes in the United States may be forced to accelerate. If so, the presentations offered in the books reviewed here will gain a very wide audience.

Article | A Trinitarian Perspective on Christian Spirituality by Mark McIntosh

blackwell companion to christian spiritualityMark McIntosh’s work is important to my research. He has done an incredible job of connecting Trinitarian theology to spirituality. This is obviously important to my research question in which I ask how an increased awareness of social Trinity might impact spiritual formation.

Holdmcintosher, Arthur, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality Blackwell Companions to Religion. Oxford; Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2005.

Chapter 10
Trinitarian Perspectives on Christian Spirituality by Mark A. McIntosh

“In a real sense, the whole of Christian life might well be said to spring from this new and transforming access to a divinely sharing life that frees us from the dominion of death. But especially we could say that this is the source of all Christian prayer and that journey into ever-greater intimacy with God we sometimes call ‘spirituality.'” (178)

He points out three common marks of of Christian Spirituality: self-transcendence, a deepening love for others, a growing sense of freedom and agency. (179)

On their own, each of these, in their shadow forms, would contradict each other

image

“So I am suggesting in all this that the yearning desire that beckons toward the spiritual journey is, in its most authentic depths, God the Holy Spirit: the same Holy Spirit who beckons the divine Source or Father yearningly towards Another, and the same Holy Spirit who impels this Other, the Word and Wisdom of God, to give voice to the loving source from within the utter alterity of creation, and even human alienation from God, int eh suffering and living of Jesus. God the Holy Spirit may thus be identified as fostering Christian spirituality by pouring out within believers a beginning of that transforming state of existence that opens up toward the infinitely sharing life of God: Father sharing all in love and freedom with Son, who does not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but also equally and eternally shares divine life, and Holy Spirit whose very yearning and power of sharing both eternally unite and infinitely diversify the Trinity.” (179)

“At the heart of these paradoxes of the Christian spiritual life seems to lie the same paradox announced in the Gospels: ‘Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it’ (Mark 8:35). what I have been suggesting, then, is that the ground of all this is the constitutive dynamic of trinitarian life itself, that is, life in which each One is by giving way to the Other, in which the personhood of each is not diminished but eternally realized by sharing the whole of divine life with each. Trinitarian relational life, in other words, is the sep structure of spiritual growth, illuminating the human spiritual journey with eternal significance–a journey in which human beings are consummated by an ecstatic journey of love beyond the selves given them by biology or culture, in which they ar not depleted but free and authoritative in their life for and with others, including the divine Others.
“Trinitarian belief, unfolded within the community’s continuing participation in the trinitarian life of God, is not an artificial set of formulas by which to regulate Christan spirituality. Rather, trinitarian belief is an itinerary, a call beckoning believers to a shared journey into mystery. So the point of thinking ‘trinitarianly’ about Chritian spirituality is to become enlightened and empowered by the real life of God, to which (Christians believe), the doctrine of the Trinity directs us. As Thomas Aquinas puts it, the human spiritual act of faith does not reach its goal in a statement of belief but in the divine reality itself (Summa theologiae 2-2, 1.2 reply 2).” (180)

“Not only does the Holy Spirit open a spirituality of the passion to an ever-fuller relational and communal depth; the Spirit also awakens new voice and agency within those drawn into the mystery of Christ’s incarnation and passion. In other words, this trinitarian dimension within spirituality preserves it from collapsing inward–either into a divine monism in which the soul is simply annihilated (with all the dangerous potentials for quietism, passivity, or even the legitimizing of an abusive condition) or into a peculiar form of idealism in which the ‘divine’ metamorphoses into a mere cipher for the most exalted forms of human narcissism.” (183)

“The idea is that the fullness and joy of the eternal trinitarian processions include, as a dimension of their relational self-sharing, the ideas of all the ways in which God can share this giving life with the other, not only the divine Others (i.e., the three divine Persons) but with completely other others (i.e., the creatures)!” (184)

I find the following quote especially interesting, since it was written before Polkinghorne’s book The Trinity and an Entangled Word.

Traherne ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Traherne (accessed June 8, 2014).)) is not somehow denigrating the material creation: spirit, in his theology, is not so much set in opposition to matter as to isolation and bare essence, the muting of creatures’ inherent relationality so that they become mere ‘nature.’…he is suggesting that their ‘matter’ is inherently far more relational, an event of communication, than our usual treatment of creation suggests (perhaps Traherne is in their sense saying something not far from recent thought in quantum physics; see Polkinghorne 1996 on the relational energy of sub-atomic reality).
In this trinitarian perspective on creation, then, we not only recover a new an blessed generosity in every creature, but rediscover also a role for humankind more conducive to creation’s praise and consummation than its exploitation. Traherne envisages humanity not as reducing creation to useful, consumable form, but in fact extending creation into its intended fullness and resonance, precisely by appreciating it in praise.” (188)

The following images are my annotated copy of the chapter:

Article | Near-Death Experiences and Spirituality by Greyson

Greyson, Bruce. “Near-Death Experiences and Spirituality.” Zygon 41, no. 2 (2006): 393-414.

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES AND SPIRITUALITY by Greyson – flattened my annotated copy

Annotation Summary for: NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES AND SPIRITUALITY by Greyson
 
Page 1, Underline (Custom Color: #4c4ccc):
  Content: “Some individuals when they come close to death report Abstract. having experiences that they interpret as spiritual or religious. These so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) often include a sense of sepa­ ration from the physical body and encounters with religious figures and a mystical or divine presence. They share with mystical experi­ ences a sense of cosmic unity or oneness, transcendence of time and space, deeply felt positive mood,  sense of sacredness, noetic quality or intuitive illumination, paradoxicality, ineffability, transiency, and persistent positive aftereffects. Although there is no relationship be­ tween NDEs and religious belief prior to the  experience, there are strong associations between depth of NDE and religious change after the experience. NDEs often change experienced values, decreasing their fear of death and giving their lives new meaning. NDEs lead to a shift from ego-centered to other-centered consciousness, disposi­ tion to love unconditionally, heightened empathy, decreased interest in status symbols and material possessions, reduced fear of death, and deepened spiritual consciousness. Many experiencers become more empathie and spiritually oriented and express the beliefs that death is not fearsome, that life continues beyond, that love is more important than material possessions, and that everything happens for a reason. These changes meet the definition of spiritual transfor­ mation as “a dramatic change in religious belief, attitude, and behav­ ior that occurs over a relatively short period of time.” NDEs do not necessarily promote any one particular religious or spiritual tradition over others, but they do foster general spiritual growth both in the experiencers themselves and in human society at large.”
 
Page 2, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Raymond Moody, the psychiatrist who coined the term near-death experience in 1975, de­ fined them as “profound spiritual events that happen, uninvited, to some individuals at the point of death” (Moody and Perry 1988, 11).”
 
Page 2, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Moody identified fifteen ele­ments that seemed to recur in NDE reports: ineffability, hearing oneself”
 
Page 3, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “pronounced dead, feelings of peace, hearing unusual noises, seeing a dark tunnel, being out of the body, meeting spiritual beings, encountering a bright light or “being of light,” panoramic life review, a realm where all knowledge exists, cities of light, a realm of bewildered spirits, supernatural rescue, border or limit, and coming back into the body (Moody 1975).”
 
Page 3, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “four recurrent aftereffects: frustration upon relating the experience to others, broadened or deepened appreciation of life, elimi­ nation of fear of death, and corroboration of out-of-body visions.”
 
Page 3, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “four compo­ nents: cognitive, affective, paranormal, and transcendental features.”
 
Page 3, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “The first, cognitive features reflecting changes in thought processes, includes distortions in the sense of time, acceleration of thought processes, a life review or panoramic memory, and a sense of revelation or sudden understanding.”
 
Page 3, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “The second component, affective features reflecting changes in emotional state, includes a sense of peace and well-being, feelings of joy, a sense of cosmic unity, and an encounter with a brilliant light that seems to  radiate unconditional love.”
 
Page 4, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “The third component, paranormal phenomena, includes extraordinarily vivid physical sensations, apparent extrasensory perception, precognitive visions, and a sense of being out of the physical body.”
 
Page 4, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “The fourth component, transcendental features reflecting apparent other­ worldly phenomena, includes apparent travel to a mystical or unearthly realm or dimension, an encounter with a mystical being or presence, vis­ ible spirits of deceased or religious figures, and a border beyond which one cannot return to earthly life.”
 
Page 5, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “One plausible physiological model attributes NDEs to decreased oxy­ gen (hypoxia) or to complete lack of oxygen (anoxia), because that appears to be the final common pathway to death (Whinnery 1997).”
 
Page 5, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Another frequently cited physiological model attributes NDEs to medi­ cations given to dying persons.”
 
Page 5, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “NDEs have also been speculatively attributed to a number of neurotrans­ mitters in the brain, most frequently endorphins (Carr 1982), although other models implicate serotonin, adrenaline, vasopressin, and glutamate”
 
Page 5, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “1989). NDEs have been speculatively linked to a number of anatomic locations in the brain,”
 
Page 5, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Psychological models also have been proposed attributing NDEs to psy­ chological defense mechanisms, depersonalization, wishful thinking, ret­ roactive confabulation, and expectation”
 
Page 6, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “In evaluating proposed explanations for NDEs, it is necessary to consider those features of NDEs that are similar to those of mystical experiences.”
 
Page 6, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Many of the experiential features of mystical experiences in general are similar to those of NDEs.”
 
Page 6, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Prot­ estant theologian Judith Cressy (1994) has compared typical NDE phe­ nomenology and aftereffects to the lifelong mystical experiences of medieval Roman Catholic mystics St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross and concludes that they shared ecstatic out-of-body travel, visions of God, clair­ voyance, loss of fear of death, and healing transformations.”
 
Page 6, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “British theologian Paul Badham also concludes that the NDE “shares many of the character­ istics of the deepest religious experiences known to humanity” (Badham 1997, 10) and that modern resuscitation techniques have made  available to ordinary people mystical enlightenment that formerly was available to people only on rare occasions.”
 
Page 7, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “A sensory phenomenon that is particularly common to both NDEs and mystical experiences is the sense of seeing a bright light of unusual quality.”
 
Page 7, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Walter Pahnke, who was both a minister and a psychiatrist, and Will­ iam Richards, a theologian and psychologist, delineated nine aspects of mystical experience, based on the previous work of James (1902) and Brit­ ish philosopher Walter Stace (I960): a sense of cosmic unity or oneness, transcendence of time and space, deeply felt positive mood, sense of sa- credness, noetic quality or intuitive illumination, paradoxicality, ineffabil- ity, transiency, and persistent positive aftereffects (Pahnke and Richards 1966). All nine of these features are commonly reported as part of the NDE (Pennachio 1986).”
 
Page 7, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Perhaps the most important feature common to both mystical experi­ ences and NDEs, however, is the transformative impact of the experience.”
 
Page 8, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Clearly, the pro­ found transformative aspect of NDEs suggests that we need some explana­ tion that goes beyond the physiological models we have so far and even beyond the psychological experience associated with coming near death.”
 
Page 8, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “One skeptical view of the NDE is that it represents essentially a religiously inspired illusion: The crisis of impending death triggers a series of hallucinations in keeping with an individual’s religious belief system and expectations concerning an af­ terlife. As psychologist Kenneth Ring put this hypothesis, “Believing is seeing” (1980a, 3).”
 
Page 8, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “In a cross-cultural study in the United States and India, psychologists Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson (1977) did not find any straightforward relationship between religiousness and deathbed visions, although they did find that an individual’s belief system influenced the interpretation of the experience.”
 
Page 9, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “neither the likelihood nor the depth of a near-death experience was systematicallyrelated to individual religiousness. Non-religious people—including self-professed atheists—were just as likely to have Moody-type experiences as were the conven­tionally devout. Similarly, there was no obvious relationship between religious affiliation and near-death experiences among my respondents. (Ring 1980a, 4)”
 
Page 9, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Ring found, as did Osis and Haraldsson (1977), that the interpretation that was placed on the experience by the individual was markedly influenced by his religious belief system.”
 
Page 10, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “These changes that often follow NDEs meet the definition of spiritual transformation as “a dramatic change in religious belief, atti­ tude, and behavior that occurs over a relatively short period of time” (Schwartz 2000, 4).”
 
Page 10, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Ring found that NDErs did not attend church more often than they had prior to their experiences or participate in other modes of formal religious worship: Rather, there is a heightened inward religious feeling that  is often indicated which does not seem to require a conventional religious format for it to be manifested. Instead, near-death survivors will describe themselves as feeling closer to God, as more inwardly prayerful, or as having a greater awareness of God s presence. This personal sense of God is sometimes so strong that conventional religious obser­ vances seem irrelevant or unnecessary. (1980a,”
 
Page 11, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “the humanitarian and ethical teachings of the great religions: respondents will stress the importance of love, caring and compassion for others. In fact, if there was a single value which seemed to epitomize the comments of near-death survi­ vors in this respect, it was their increased emphasis on the need for unconditional love or acceptance for others. . . near-death experiencers emerge from their con­ frontation with death convinced, as a group, that there is a life to come and that it will be beautiful, peaceful and joyous. This is a striking effect statistically, and, again, it is found chiefly for experiencers; near-death survivors who do not have an experience tend to show no change in their belief patterns here. (p. 4)”
 
Page 12, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “British philosopher David Lorimer (1990) presented NDEs, and par­ ticularly the moral assessment that takes place in the life review, as provid­ ing an experiential basis for moral order based on “empathie resonance” with other people, meaning the direct perception of an intrinsic intercon- nectedness and interdependence of all living beings.”
 
Page 12, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “This experience, he reported, leads to a new appreciation of the Golden Rule— “whatever you wish that men would do unto you, do so to them” (Mat­ thew 7:12 RSV)—as not just a prescription for moral conduct but also an accurate description of the interconnectedness of the universe.”
 
Page 12, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Lorimer concluded that the ego-shattering effect of NDEs reveals the illusion of separate individual egos by inducing direct experience of cosmic unity.”
  Comment: is this statement connected to relational ontology?
 
Page 12, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Asked an open-ended question about the most sig­ nificant change resulting from the NDE, the single most common response (31 percent of respondents) was “spirituality” or “spiritual growth.””
 
Page 13, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “a sense of spirituality or inner connection to God gained in the NDE took precedence over subscribing to religious doctrine.”
 
Page 13, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Sabom (1998), after completing a rigorous study of 116 NDEs and then observing NDEs and their aftereffects in his own patients over twenty years as a cardiologist, found that NDEs produced a stronger faith and a higher level of commitment to traditional religious practice, which he thought, in turn, affected their medical outcome. Although he originally had approached the study of NDEs as a skeptical medical scientist, expect­ ing to find that these experiences were misfirings of a dying brain, he even­ tually  concluded that they were instead powerful spiritual experiences whose underlying message was consistent with divine revelation from more tradi­ tional sources.”
 
Page 14, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Mainstream theologians have had little to say about near-death experi­ ences.”
 
Page 14, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Whatever the reason for the disinterest in NDEs among theologians, the result is that most of what has been written about the implications of NDEs, discussed below, has come from psychologists who argue that NDEs should have relevance to theology.”
 
Page 15, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Ring argues, in concert with Lorimer (1990), that for NDErs the Golden Rule is no longer just a commandment one is taught to obey but rather an indisputable law of nature, as inevitable as gravity. They know it is the  way the universe works because they have experienced it first-hand in suffering directly the effects of their actions upon others. Though they do not feel punished or judged for their mis­ deeds, they do receive back as part of their life review everything they have ever given out, measure for measure.”
 
Page 15, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Working independently of Moody, he reported a similar phenomenon and concluded that the expan­ sion of consciousness at death implied separation of the soul from the body and that the continued fellowship with God reported by many NDErs reinforced New Testament teachings (Hampe 1979). That conclusion is shared by British theologians Paul and Linda Badham (1982, 89): “What appears to happen is that the soul leaves the body and begins to move on to another mode of existence.””
 
Page 16, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “However, whereas some religious scholars view NDEs as proof of spiri­ tual capacities in humans and of divine grace, others see them as Satanic deceptions that contradict Christian teachings.”
 
Page 16, Underline (Custom Color: #3f217f):
  Content: “Fox (2003) points out ways that NDEs appear to contradict traditional Christian beliefs in the afterlife.”
 
Page 16, Underline (Red):
  Content: “First, NDEs suggest a separation of a disembodied soul from the physical body at the point of death, which seems to contradict the Christian belief in resurrection of an embodied soul.”
 
Page 16, Underline (Red):
  Content: “Second, NDEs imply that survival of death is a universal human birthright rather than a gift of grace.”
 
Page 16, Underline (Red):
  Content: “Third, a judgment at the time of death appears to contradict belief in a far-off judgment day when Christ returns. (However, Fox did note that there is a belief going back at least to the third century in two judgments: first a “friendly warning” at death and later the earth-shattering finality of the judgment day.)”
 
Page 16, Underline (Red):
  Content: “Fourth, the divine being of light is often encountered by non-Christians, who do not identify it as Christ.”
 
Page 16, Underline (Red):
  Content: “Finally, all NDErs seem to go to the same place after death, regardless of whether or not they were “saved,” “born again,” or baptized.”
 
Page 17, Underline (Red):
  Content: “In fact, Ring argues, the unconditional love NDErs report in their expe­ riences does not gloss over their sins or excuse their future behavior (Ring and Valarino 1998). Quite to the contrary, NDErs experience first-hand”
 
Page 18, Underline (Red):
  Content: “in their NDEs the painful consequences of their sinful behavior and return to earthly life as confirmed disciples who understand from their experi­ ence that their behavior does indeed matter far more than they could have imagined.”
 
Page 18, Underline (Custom Color: #4c4ccc):
  Content: “The empirical data sup­ port her view that all NDEs do not lead to immediate transformation; but, whereas all NDEs do not lead to radical changes, those that do transform do so through a process that is characteristic of other spiritual encounters.”
 
Page 18, Underline (Custom Color: #4c4ccc):
  Content: “Ring (1984) develops a hypothesis of NDEs as “spiritual cata­ lysts” fostering spiritual awakening and development. He argues that this spiritual catalysis is linked particularly to the later stages of NDEs in which one transcends space and time, communes with a divine light, and is over­ come with peace and joy.”
 
Page 19, Underline (Custom Color: #4c4ccc):
  Content: “Ring speculates that, with increasing resuscitation technology enabling more and more individuals to return from the brink of death, the cumula­ tive impact of their uplifting testimonies may foster the spiritual evolution of the collective consciousness of humanity.”
  Comment: This is similar to “Bob’s Big Idea” in which Robert Kegan speculates that the medical technology that has allowed human beings to live longer is making it possible for more people to reach the 5th order of consciousness. This is necessary, because, without it, humans will eventually kill each other off with weapons of mass destruction. see this post 
 
Page 19, Underline (Custom Color: #4c4ccc):
  Content: “these experiences should foster spiritual growth by leading us to question some of our basic assumptions about mind and brain, about our relationship to the divine, and about the universe and our role in it. This may prove to be their primary relevance to theology.”
 
 
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Steve Thomason

Article | Augustine in Contemporary Trinitarian Theology by Michel Barnes

Michel_Rene_BarnesMy research relies heavily on the Social Trinity and draws upon theologians like Lacugna, Moltmann, Zizioulas, among others. It is important to note that not everyone agrees with their theological constructs. Michel Barnes is a key voice that has pointed out a fundamental flaw in the recent Trinitarian conversation. The flaw centers on a misunderstanding and misappropriation of Augustines’s doctrine of the Trinity. Barnes statement can be summarized:

I have argued that contemporary systematic appropriations of Augustine are based upon methods and accounts that are preselected for mirroring a widely held hermeneutic or ideology of systematic theology. These methods and accounts typically include an unconscious dependence on de Régnon, a tendency towards a logic of ideas, including a lust (operative even when unfulfilled) for encyclo­pedic comprehensiveness at the conceptual level coupled with a reduc­ tive use of primary sources, a retreat from the polemical genre, with an emphasis on the philosophical content of doctrine. The popular judg­ ment that Augustine’s trinitarian theology sacrificed the oeconomia is presently too burdened by the unreflective use of such hermeneutical presuppositions to be regarded as established or even likely. ((Barnes, Michael R. “Augustine in Contemporary Trinitarian Theology.” Theological Studies 56, no. 2 (1995): 237-250.))

My Highlights of the Article

Page 1,

Content: “time since Augustine’s trinitarian theological depth, the last decade has seen a significant and widely expressed interest on the part of systematic theologians in the implications of Augustine’s theology for the development of trinitarian doctrine.”

Page 2,

Content: “This belief, and the associated diagrams that one finds in de 7 Margerie and LaCugna, or the “plurality-model/unity-model” jargon that one finds in Brown, all derive from a book written about 100 8 years ago, namely Théodore de Régnon’s studies on the Trinity. For it is de Régnon who invented the Greek/Latin paradigm, geometrical diagrams and all. De Régnon’s paradigm has become the sine qua non for framing the contemporary understanding of Augustine’s theology. To this extent, works as otherwise diverse as LaCugna’s and Brown’s 9 10 both exhibit a scholastic modernism, since they both take as an obvi­ ous given a point of view that is coextensive with the 20th century.”

Page 4,

Content: “To take just one of these limitations, the standard division of trini­tarian theologies into the Greek tradition, paradigmatically expressed by the Cappadocians, and its opposite, the Latin tradition, paradig­matically expressed by Augustine, ignores the close affiliation that flourished between Alexandrian (“Greek”) and Roman (“Latin”) the­ologies a generation earlier.”

Page 5,

Content: “The overwhelming presence in systematic discussions of Augustine of a watered-down version of de Régnon’s paradigm, coupled with an ignorance of the origin of the paradigm, reveals the systematic pen­ chant for using grand, broad-stroked, narrative forms. Like turn-of-the-century historians, contemporary systematicians seem to be dis­tinguished by the confidence with which they will deploy such grand, architectonic narrative forms.”

Page 11,

Content: “If the judgment that the de Trinitate lacks polemical intention were not so automatic it would be infamous; the ideological need for de Trinitate to be free of polemical intent means that the well is poisoned on that judgment, even if it is true we cannot say that we know it to be so.”

Page 11,

Content: “Augustine’s treatment of trinitarian economy in de Trinitate occurs 41 primarily in Books 2 to 4; it is Book 2 particularly which has served as a scholar’s laboratory, as it were, of Augustine’s economic theology of the Trinity. Formally, there are three noteworthy features to Augus­tine’s argument in this book. First and foremost, it is a polemically charged argument, designed to combat a false “economy of the Trin­ity”: various clues (e.g., the debate over the exegesis of John 5:19), as 42 well as the evidence of Collatiocum Maximino 26 and Contra Maximinum 2, identify the proponents of this false economy as Latin Homoians (“Arians”). Anti-Nicenes excluded the Father from Old Tes­tament theophanies so as to argue from these appearances the Son’s changeability and materiality, and so Augustine must counter this argument. Another interesting feature of Book 2 is that it is cast as a series of exegeses of Scripture (primarily passages from the Old Tes­tament). Probably Augustine’s choice of scriptural texts to exegete, and thus to dispute interpretations, is governed by Old Testament passages Homoians have chosen in support of their arguments (as is the case for New Testament passages in Books 5 and 6). Nonetheless, the book remains structured around scriptural exegesis. The final noteworthy aspect of the argument in Book 2 is that while the specific passages disputed are determined in response to Homoian polemic, some scriptural passages cited in support of Augustine’s position are used because these have an older history, authority, and role in an economic theology of the Trinity. I am thinking, in particular, of the pivotal appeal to John 1:1-3 at de Trinitate 2.2.9, which resembles Tertulliano especially John 1:1 as the paradigmatic expression of the economy of the Trinity.”

Page 12,

Content: “Any substantial interpretation of Augustine’s argument in Book 2, like any credible characterization of Augustine’s argument in de Tri­nitate as a whole, would have to interpret the text in light of these three aspects, for otherwise Augustine’s argument would be repre­sented in a false context and thus misunderstood. However, I have not found that readings οι de Trinitate in light of aspects such as the three just enumerated are common among contemporary theologians. More­ over, given the importance of Book 2 for most modern patristics’ ac­ counts of Augustine’s economical theology of the Trinity (especially Catholic accounts), it is surprising to find e.g., LaCugna’s treatment.

 

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