Monday, March 26, 2007

Jungel and Thomas

Hi all,

what do you make of Jungel's engagement of Thomas on analogy, especially in light of the new reading of Thomas from Burrell, Kerr, Rogers, et all? My initial reaction is that there is something remiss in Jungel's reading of Thomas. I think it's a neglect of the tertia pars and its controlling christological function, but I'd like to hear what others think.



paulo said...


jack kilcrease said...

I would highly recommend Dr. Steven Paulson's (of Luther Seminary) dissertation "Analogy and Proclamation: Eberhard Juengel, Martin Luther and the Struggle over the Hiddenness of God." Paulson does a fine job deconstructing Juengel's criticisms of Luther's doctrine of the Hidden God in light of the theological presuppositions of Analogy. He ultimately finds that Barth and Juengel are more or less not very different than St. Thomas, in that they believe in an exitus-reditus schema (though different manners) and that the creature's goal in both theologians is to 'correspond' to God 'hidden in his majesty.' In other words, Christocentric or not, Thomas and Juengel are theologians of 'glory,' just in somewhat different ways. In that sense, they are very similar and therefore Juengel's criticisms of Thomas are as humorous as those of Barth.

When I read the Summa, I did notice that Thomas is a Christocentric thinker, through and through. The problem is, what kind of Christocentric thinker? We've gotten into a mode since Barth (actually since Schleiermacher) of thinking automatically "Christocentric=Good." Our course, Christocentric isn't automatically good. It's only good if it means that Christ ends hiddenness, wrath and law. Christ isn't very interesting otherwise. In this respect, Thomas is actually not very different than most Protestant theologians of the last 200 years because he believes that Christ is something of a window through which we can look at God hidden in his majesty and therefore through the power of grace correspond to. No matter who you look at Barth (order of God's decrees) Pannenberg (plan of history), Moltmann (socialism is good, because God's inner being looks like socialism) you more or less get the same thing-LAW, LAW and more LAW. Also you get the apotheosis of the creture because in doing the law they correspond to God's eternal being. This is actually exactly what Thomas teaches which is most likely people like Carl Braaten and Robert Jenson, who spent their theological careers creating Jabberwocky theologies out of the bits of German Protestant thought, more or less think that the way to save Christianity is for everyone to accept a Hegelized version of Roman Catholicism and create an alternative society with the pope as it's over lord. It's sort of the same old thing, just with cooler speculative metaphysics (which often seem, especially in Jenson's case, pretty darn incoherent).

In any case, I like your blog and am happy that your writing on it again. Please keep it up!

cynthia r. nielsen said...

Dear Patrick,

Where might I find the literature by Burrell et al that you mention?

Also, and my apologies for a rather banal request-- when you
get a chance, would you mind updating your link for my blog to (I am no
longer on blogspot).

Best wishes,