Christian Theology

Coordinator:  Dr. Mihail NEAMŢU

Advisory Board:  John BEHR (St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary, US); David BRADSHAW (Kentucky University, US); Tristram ENGELHARDT JR (Rice University, US);Gyorgy GEREBY (Central European University, Hungary); Jean-Yves LACOSTE (Catholic Institute, Paris, France); Nicholaos LOUDOVIKOS (Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessalonica, Greece); Andrew LOUTH (Durham University, Great Britain); Virgil NEMOIANU (Catholic University, Washington DC); Russell RENO (Creighton University, US);


ARGUMENT

Theology in the 21st century can think through its themes of reflection only by mirroring the polyphonic character of the early Christian tradition, seen asan open project. Patristic authors distinguished themselves through their constant attempt to construe Christian doctrine by contemplating theologically and conversing philosophically about truth, goodness, beauty, looked upon as first attributes of God. Thus, early Christianity did not bring about the divorce of revelation from the philosophical, aesthetic, literary or civic pursuit of truth. The early scholastic thinkers endeavoured, in their turn, to reconcile the patristic legacy with the metaphysical systems of Greek origin in ways that were later challenged both by theologians of Eastern Orthodox and Protestant persuasion.

Ever since nominalism has conquered the early modern mind, faith and reason, creation and nature, have been seen as separate realms of discourse. Western philosophy became disconnected from the epistemological concerns of early Christian theology. This has led to the birth of fideism, on the one hand, and the revival of rationalism, on the other. The weakening of scriptural reason achieved the relegation of theology to the margins of metaphysical rationality, and the reduction of religion to private ethics. With Spinoza first, and Immanuel Kant later, theology ceased to be part of those sciences that produce critical and, thus, respectable knowledge.

Late modernity, however, has challenged the universal claim of secular rationality. The shocking experiences of World War I and WW II, the Holocaust and the Gulag in Europe and across Russia have brought into question the metaphysical and political model of rationality cultivated by the Academia after the Enlightenment. Paradoxically, the decline of faith in reason has triggered an unusual amount of interest in rethinking the question of God and the phenomenology of the sacred. Many contemporary thinkers have raised questions about the possibility of faith, politics and ethics in the absence of metaphysics. As far as the Christian world is concerned, the rediscovery of the patristic sources during the 20th century has been instrumental for the revival of the dialogue between faith and reason in the third millennium.

This new book series aims at exploring the conceptual and institutional organisation of Christian faith in conversation with different aspects of Western civilisation. In what way does the Eastern Orthodox differ from the Christian Latin understanding of fides et ratio? What was Athens to Jerusalem, and how different was Mecca from these European centres of art and thought? How does theology today relate to the Western history of ideas? How can the relationship between the Church and the secular politeia be envisaged in accordance with the particularities of each culture? These are only some of the many broad questions hosted by this Zeta Books series.