Day: 13 July 2010

random find while rooting around the library

[T]heology as a whole is more than systematic theology or dogmatics.  There is biblical theology, too, historical theology, practical theology, and other theologies as well.  Systematic theology is only one contribution to a greater shared theological whole.  This means that it cannot be a closed system, but must indicate the points of contact where there can be dialogue with the other theological systems.  The age-old dispute about ‘the crown of theology’ is a vain one.


It is impossible to say anything that is theologically valid for everyone at all times and in all places.  A perennial theology is out of the writer’s power.  So he [or she] must critically resolve the naive, absolute self-centeredness of his [or her] thinking.

-J. Moltmann,
Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology, xvi, xvii

I would suggest that what Moltmann says about theological systems applies just as well to the various interpretative disciplines.  No one discipline is able to answer all of the questions that arise from the text, and thus no one discipline has the final say–or, provides the best (read: only) way for understanding the text.  To say otherwise not only supplants beneficial dialogue, it is also nothing more than academic snobbery.