On the Scope and Truth of Theology: Theology as Symbolic Engagement

On the Scope and Truth of Theology: Theology as Symbolic Engagement

by Robert Cummings Neville

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Overview

This is the first volume of Robert Cumming Neville's magnum opus, Theology as Symbolic Engagement. Neville is the premier American systematic theologian of our time. His work is profoundly influenced by Paul Tillich, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and the American pragmatists John Dewey and Charles Sanders Pierce. From Tillich he takes the notion of religion, art, and morality as symbol, and the notion that religion is the substance of culture and culture the form of religion. Thus, theology is symbolic engagement with cultural forms, and Neville explores the ways that such engagement occurs among various religious traditions.

One of the most important tasks in theology is to devise ways of testing, correcting, or affirming claims that we had been unable to question before. This book will argue that "system" in theology is not merely correlating assertions, but rather building perspectives from which we can render the various parts of theology vulnerable for assessment.

In fact, one of the unique features of this book is its engagement with other religions. Such dialogue has been a feature of Neville's work from the beginning. Theology as Symbolic Engagement breaks the boundaries of systematic theology and moves away from the static character that characterizes such enterprises from Barth onward. Instead, Neville's book showcases the dynamic character of all theology.

The hallmark of this entire project is its effort to show theology to be hypothetical and to make it vulnerable to correction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780567027221
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 06/05/2006
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

ROBERT CUMMINGS NEVILLE

is Dean of Marsh Chapel andProfessor of Religion, Philosophy and Theology at Boston University.

Table of Contents

Contents


Preface


Chapter 1. Approaches to Theology


Ultimacy


"Theology" in History


Revelation and Religious
Identity


Theology's Publics


Chapter 2. Theology as Symbolic Engagement


Engagement


Truth


Modes of Symbolic
Engagement


Theological Truth and
Context


Chapter 3. Theological
Imagination


Imagination as Synthesis


World Definition:
Finite/Infinite Contrasts: Ultimacy


Invention,
Convention, and Truth


Founding Religious Witness: Core
Texts and Motifs


Chapter 4. Theological
Assertion


Interpretation as
Engagement


Meanings


Reference


Context and Critical Assertion


Chapter 5. Components for Theological System


Religion


Science


Art


Practical Normative
Disciplines


Chapter 6. Dialectical
Systematic Theology


System and Dialectic: The Making of Cases


Stability and
Commensurability of Discourse


Metaphysics


Levels of Abstraction


Chapter 7. Practical
Theology and Truth


Practical Reason and Ritual


Ritual and the Sacred
Canopy


Theology and Crisis


Breaking on the infinite


Chapter 8. Truth,
Scope, Publics, Tests


Symbolic Engagement


The Scope of Learning and
Vulnerability


Creating Publics of Appropriate
Scope


By Their Fruits


Bibliography


Index

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