Theologie Totale

In here new book God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay on the Trinity Sarah Coakley outlines a new method for doing systematic theology. While I don’t have a really grasp on it yet, I am trying. Thankfully Coakley outlines 9 points which are of utmost importance to this new method. I will probably end up commenting on this method in the future, but for now I leave you with the 9 Hallmarks of Theologie Totale:

  1. Privileging Contemplation – Contemplation is not simply foundational, its the creative source of life to which we must constantly return.
  2. Theology in via – It involves an ongoing journey of purgative transformation and change.
  3. The Counterpoint of philosophy, science, and theologie totale – Theology does not subsume secular philosophy or science, grace and nature remain theoretically demarcated.
  4. Orthodoxy as goal – Orthodoxy seems a bit complicated for Coakley, it seems to be more about Orthopraxy than getting our dogmatic statements “correct.”
  5. Theologie totale as socially located but not socially reduced – in my mind this is the most distinctive aspect, it pays attention to social location and sociological finding without reducing all things to mere sociological causes.
  6. Theologie totale and the expansion of the classical systematic loci – this method uses all the classical systematic loci, but not in the same ordering. It also adds new loci as needed, for instance: race and class.
  7. Theologie totale and aestheic expression – it pays attention to the various mediums through which religious ruth is expressed non-verbally, e.g. music, liturgy, icons, art, poetry
  8. The overcoming of false divides – it overcomes the divide between  academic/pastoral,  liberal/conservative, systematic/philosophical
  9. Desire as the constellation theological category of theologie totale – at the heart of her systematics is an examination of the relation of divine and human desires, this is why the entire systematic collection will be called “On Desiring God.”

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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