Tag Archives: Theology Conference

The Philosophy of the Hebrew Bible

I no longer find myself sitting in the bright, sunny, and (awfully) hot Mediterranean climate of Pasadena, rather I find myself sitting in the bright, sunny, and (awfully) hot Mediterranean climate of Jerusalem. So why am I here? To engage with a similar sort of project that the AT project is engaged with at Fuller Seminary; I am here to think through the relationship between Scripture, analytic philosophy, and the life of faith.

Jerusalem

On June 12th-23rd a group of Christian and Jewish scholars whose expertise range from biblical studies, to political philosophy, to analytic theology gathered to discuss Yoram Hazony’s book, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture.

In this book Hazony contends that western culture has made a major mistake in not seeing the Hebrew Bible as a significant philosophical work. Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and Plotinus’s Enneads are all part of the Western philosophical cannon, but why isn’t the Hebrew bible? Hazony argues the reason this is so is because the Hebrew Bible has been deemed a “work of revelation” as opposed to a “work of reason.”

 

YSSAccording to Hazony the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures are “in fact closer to being works of reason than anything else.” (Hazony, 3) He laments the fact that Western culture, due to Christian influence, has read the reason-revelation-dichotomy into the Hebrew scriptures. This dichotomy, in turn, has affected the standing of Hebrew Scriptures within public spheres. By turning back to conceiving the Hebrew Scriptures as a work of reason, Hazony hopes to restore its standing in public dialogue. Not only does Hazony argue that the Hebrew Scriptures are works of reason, rather he argues that “Hebrew Scriptures can (and should) be read as works of philosophy, with an aim to discovering what they have to say to the broader discourse concerning the nature of the world and the just life for man.” (4)

Hazony’s attempt at constructing a philosophy of Hebrew Scriptures has two major parts, which respectively, make up the structure of his work as an introduction to the philosophy of Hebrew Scripture. First, Hazony provides a methodological framework by which we can begin to read the Hebrew Scriptures as works of philosophy. He then proceeds to provide some examples of how the authors of scripture were engaging philosophical discourse. This latter part addresses topics like metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy. In addressing such topics, he provides plenty of fodder for further reflection by philosophers and analytic theologians.

Dome of the Rock

Over the next few days I hope to write a bit more about the sort of project Hazony is engaged in, so you can expect a few blogs either on the ideas in the book, or ideas that have come out of this workshop and the conference following the workshop.

Analytic Theology Seminars at Fuller Seminary Start Today!

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-6-23-23-pm

 

See the message below from Allison Wiltshire

Hello!

I would like to invite you to join us at Fuller Seminary for a weekly series of talks on human and divine love as part of the Analytic Theology for Theological Formation project.  Our team would be thrilled for you to attend any or all of the events. Feel free to pass along this information to your students or colleagues who may also be interested.
Attached you will find a schedule for the entire series that run January-June as well as a more detailed advertisement for the first 7 events. The first event is tomorrow, January 4, from 3-5pm in the faculty commons at the David Allen Hubbard Library on Fuller’s campus. Dr. Oliver Crisp will open up the series by giving an introduction to analytic theology.
For more information you can visit our website, facebook, or twitter. Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Best,
Allison Wiltshire


Allison Wiltshire 
Fuller Theological Seminary
Research Administrator AT project

6th Annual California Metaphysics Conference: Philosophy of Religion & Metaphysics

The University of Southern California will be hosting the 6th annual California Metaphysics Conference, January 20th-22nd, 2017.  This year’s topic is Philosophy of Religion and Metaphysics!

Speakers:

Attendance is open (and free) to all who would like to come, but you must register by emailing kleinsch [at] usc [dot] edu no later than December 15th, 2016.  Please include your full name and university affiliation in the email.  You will not receive a confirmation email, but your name should appear on the list of participants within 30 days.  Also, let Professor Kleinschmit know if you are a graduate student from outside CA and you are interested in being an assistant organizer!

dornsife

Note: This conference lineup looks so good that I can get set aside the UCLA vs. USC for a weekend. I guess….

Perspectives on Compassionate Love: Lynn G. Underwood

The third plenary session at this year’s CCT annual conference was given by Lynn G. Underwood. Dr. Underwood has published widely in areas such as quality of life, cancer, stress, compassionate love, and the understanding of ordinary spiritual experience in a multicultural context. Originally trained in medicine, she holds a PhD in epidemiology, and is an elected member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine. She is currently a consultant on projects for Harvard University, the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Connecticut and a variety of social services organizations, and is a Senior Research Associate at the Inamori International Center for Ethics at Case Western Reserve University.

Introduction

  • Working definition of compassionate love.
  • Qualitative interviews about compassionate love
    • Trappist Monk Study
    • Qualitative work in developing the DSES
  • Quantitative Work
    • The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale
    • A model to help connect science research with life
    • A few examples of research
  • The Arts (Poetry, film/tv, fiction, visual art)
    • A way to get at the essence and complexity of self-giving love.

 

Compassionate Love

  • Other-centered love, self-giving love, apage, altruistic love, etc.
  • Focus has been on human experience of self-giving love, love centered on the good of the other, with the motivation of supporting their flourishing, not only relieving suffering.

 

Key Qualities of Compassionate Love

  • Some elements of free choice
  • Some degree of cognitive understanding of the situation
  • Some understanding of the self
  • Valuing the other
  • Openness and receptivity
  • A response of the heart (core, where emotions and cognitions integrate)

 

Qualitative Research: Structured Interviews

 

Features of Compassionate Love

  • Asked the Monks, here is what they said:
    • Humility, unselfishness, receptivity, setting aside your agenda for the sake of the other, being present to the stuation of the other, a mature view of reality, sense of detatchment, trust, openness, acceptance of self in order to accept others, listening, suffering with another, helping the other become fully themselves, being aware of our emotions

 

Internal process for giving compassionate love

  • Weighing individual actions
  • Attitude of heart

 

Practices for Strengthening Love

  • Quite time, strengthening self-identity, prayer, spiritual reading, critique of aware community, listening, doing compassionate things, cultivating awareness of motives,

 

Quantitative Research

  • Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES)
    • Designed to transcend religious boundaries but still address theistic experience within particular religious contexts.
    • Measures perception of ordinary interactions with God.
  • How often do you experience the following on a scale of 1-6 (examples):
    • Spiritually touched by the beauty of creation
    • Feel thankful for blessings
    • Feel deep inner peace/harmony
    • Find comfort in my religion or spirituality
    • I feel God’s presence
    • I feel God’s love for me directly
    • I feel God’s love for me through others
    • I feel a selfless caring for others
    • I accept others even when they do things I think are wrong

 

Upshot

  • Higher scores on the DSES predicts lower burnout rate for pastors, nurses, parents.
  • People under high stress tend to be less loving, yet when they have higher DSES they are able to be loving even in stressful situation

Love and Epistemology (Abstract) – Biola’s CCT

This weekend I will be at Biola’s Center for Christian Thought presenting a paper on the topic of love and epistemology. It is titled: Amo ut Intelligam (I Love so That I May Understand): The Role of Love in Religious Epistemology. Below you can read the sort of long abstract:

Abstract

Most contemporary discussions about religious epistemology have revolved around discussions about foundationalism, coherentism, realism, anti-realism, basic beliefs, and divine hiddenness among other topics. However, one topic that has received noticeably little attention is the role that love plays in our knowledge of God. This paper turns to the works of T.F. Torrance in order to show how love plays a crucial role in our religious epistemology.

In his epistemological works Torrance presents two basic principles of knowledge: The first principle is that “All genuine knowledge involves a cognitive union of the mind with its object, and calls for the removal of any estrangement or alienation that may obstruct or distort it.”[1] The second principle is that “we may know something only in accordance with its nature.”[2] That is, the nature of that thing prescribes the mode of knowing appropriate to it and determines the way we ought to behave towards that thing. The concept of love plays an important role in both of these principles.

In regards to the first principle, I show that God’s loving act of atonement is what removes the estrangement and alienation from God which prevents knowledge of him. Specifically I argue that given the Holy Spirit’s nature and his role atonement we are enabled to love God and thus to enter into the union of love with God which is necessary to know him. In regards to the second principle I show that this principle entails that in order to know God we must know God in a godly way. Thus given that it is God’s nature to be loving we must approach God in love in order to know him.

Both of these points have interesting implications for the task of theology. The first implication is that only those who love God will be able to have knowledge of God. This does not mean that the person who does not love God cannot hold true beliefs about God, it simply means that these beliefs do not count as knowledge. A second implication is that theologian who desires to know God must be committed to growing in her love for God. This in turn has implications for the personal life of the theologian, i.e. she must be committed to being a part of a community that helps her grow in love for God, she must be committed to loving others as God has loved her, she must seek to eradicate those things in her life which hinder her from loving God, etc.

This paper does not seek so circumvent other important topics in religious epistemology, since discussions about justification, realism, and divine hiddenness are certainly important. Rather it seeks to show that love ought to play a more prominent role in our religious epistemology. By showing this I provide another reason for further research into the nature of love.

[1] Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, 25.

[2] Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, 25.

Chicago Here I Come!

I’m off to Chicago! I will be presenting my paper: Bad Books and The Glorious Trinity: Jonathan Edwards on the Sexual Holiness of the Church
at the 2015 Midwest Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. I’m excited to go to a city I have never been to and to present some important theological and practical findings out of Jonathan Edwards’s trinitarian theology.

The conference’s theme is pretty interesting: The Sexual Holiness of the Church. There will be plenty of presentations on sexual ethics, same sex attraction, and pornography – all from a theological perspective. I hope to add my two cents by taking a look at how Jonathan Edwards handled a sexual scandal in his church back in the day.

If you are interested in what will be presented click here.

(P.S. I will be blogging about the conference and about the Chicago food scene when I get back!)