Elements of Christian Thought: A Basic Course in Christianese

Elements of Christian Thought: A Basic Course in Christianese

by Eugene F. Rogers, Jr.


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In the spring of 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted classrooms around the world, teachers scrambled to convert their lectures and presentations into a format more conducive to online and distance learning.

For Eugene Rogers, this meant transcribing as closely as possible the spoken lectures that have made his Introduction to Christian Thought course at UNC Greensboro, a course he has taught some forty times, justly famous.

The result is this book: an insightful, winsome, and engaging introduction to the history of Christian thought by a teacher at the height of his craft.

For Rogers, the history of Christian thought is the story of a language—it's "Christianese," if you will—that participants use to frame their agreements and their disagreements alike. From Anselm to Wyschogrod, Rogers introduces us to the most interesting speakers of Christianese and their importance, enabling us to both listen in on and take part in the living conversation about God's activity in and for our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506473833
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 05/25/2021
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Eugene F. Rogers is professor of religious studies and faculty in women's and gender studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has taught at Princeton, Yale, Shaw University Divinity School, among others, and has held numerous fellowships. He is author or editor of five books and many articles and translations. In 2010, The Christian Century named his book Sexuality and the Christian Body among "essential reading" published in the past twenty-five years.

Table of Contents

Why You Should Read This Book xi

Why You Should Not Read This Book xiii

What Theologians Talk About xv

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xix

Christianity Is a Language in Which to Disagree

1 Jefferson and Lewis Disagree on the Elements of Christian Thought 3

2 The Study of Religion Is like the Study of a Language 9

Christians Talk about Election, or How God Chooses

3 Wyschogrod Talks about God Choosing the People Israel 17

4 Calvin Talks about God Choosing Individuals for God's Purpose 23

5 Barth Talks about God Choosing Humanity in Jesus 31

Christians Talk about Incarnation, or God Chooses Humanity

6 Athanasius Talks about a God Who Becomes a Human Being 45

7 Tanner Refuses to Talk about Human and Divine as Rivals 49

Christians Talk about Atonement, or God Chooses the Lost

8 Athanasius Talks about God Becoming Human to Make Humans Divine 57

9 Anselm Talks about Christ Paying a Debt of Honor 63

10 Abelard Talks about Christ Teaching Love by Word and Example 69

11 Excursus: Protestants Talk about Anselm and Abelard to Debate Punishment 73

12 Ray Talks about the Community around a Dead Body 83

13 Julian of Norwich Talks about Sin as a Wound 87

14 Balthasar Talks about Christ Emptying Hell 95

Christians Talk about the Trinity, or Love Stronger Than Death

15 Christians Ought to Talk about the Trinity Joining Them to Itself 109

Christians Talk about God Enabling Difference in Creation and Freedom

16 Barth Talks about the Trinity Enabling Creation 123

17 Augustine Talks about God's Freedom Empowering Human Freedom 127

Christians Talk about God's Body Absorbing Evil

18 Chesterton Talks about God Drinking a Cup of Suffering 143

19 Trible Almost Talks about God in the Victim of Sin 149

Christians Talk about God's Body in Resurrection and Eucharist

20 Williams Talks about Your Victim as Your Hope 155

21 Christians Talk as if Breaking the Wafer Opens the Trinity 161

Christians Talk about Human Bodies in Sex and Slavery

22 Williams Talks about God Desiring Humans as If They Were God 167

23 Stringfellow Talking about Slavery Shows How Not to Interpret the Bible 173

Christians Talk about Salvation in Many Ways

24 Harvey and Tillich: Body or Soul? 181

25 Barth and Chrysostom: Faith or Works? 187

26 Cone and Schmemann: Heaven or Earth? 191

Appendix: Objections to the Cultural-Linguistic Approach 195

A Syllabus in Theses with Readings 203

General Index 213

Scripture Index 219

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