Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Method in "Christ and Horrors"

I'm busy reading Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology in the Series: Current Issues in Theology (No. 4) by Marilyn McCord Adams. The blurb is as follows:
Who would the Saviour have to be, what would the Saviour have to do to rescue human beings from the meaning-destroying experiences of their lives? This book offers a systematic Christology that is at once biblical and philosophical. Starting with human radical vulnerability to horrors such as permanent pain, sadistic abuse or genocide, it develops what must be true about Christ if He is the horror-defeater who ultimately resolves all the problems affecting the human condition and Divine-human relations. Distinctive elements of Marilyn McCord Adams' study are her defence of the two-natures theory, of Christ as Inner Teacher and a functional partner in human flourishing, and her arguments in favour of literal bodily resurrection (Christ's and ours) and of a strong doctrine of corporeal Eucharistic presence. The book concludes that Christ is the One in Whom, not only Christian doctrine, but cosmos, church, and the human psyche hold together.
There is a wonderful quote in her section on method, which states:

My assumption is that human reason's best chance at truth is won through the effort of integrating our data with our many and diverse intuitions into a coherent picture with the theoretical virtues of clarity, consistency, explanatory power and fruitfulness.

Christ and Horrors, pg. 11

View Excerpt as PDF (but it only goes up to pg 10 on the first chapter of method). So far it's a good read, and she admits to universalism - the current topic of discussion. It's very philosophical, which is vastly different from this year's reading (however, I am also half-way through Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks, which is brilliant, but technical and quite a tough read for this biblical studies student).
I think that Adams' reflection on method is apt, and her emphasis on theoretical virtues helpful. It reminds me of The New Testament and the People of God by N. T. Wright. If the subject catches your eye, this book (Christ and Horrors) is a well thought out and well argued piece that should stir much theological reflection.

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