If Your Biblical Theology Contradicts Dogmatic Theology, It’s Bad Biblical Theology

One frustrating aspect of theological discussion is the opposition that we too often find between dogmatic theology and biblical theology. In some quarters, the legitimacy of dogmatic theology is often questioned, with some equating dogmatic theology with philosophical theology, or even philosophy period, and wanting to "subsume" it to biblical theology. I was reminded of it by Wesley Hill's defense of the venerable doctrine of impassibility.But here's the thing: dogmatic theology is not a th … [Read more...]

Me, Elsewhere

Time for your not-really-weekly roundup of my non-Patheos writing! Remember, if you want to keep abreast of all my English-language writing as it appears, you should like my Facebook Page.Will 2015 be the year the media turns against Pope Francis, The Week. Of obvious interest to this crowd.The Catholic revival starting in France, The Week. I have been to the mountaintop! Maybe.Be Charlie Hebdo, but don't ignore Boko Haram's atrocities, The Week.The real story behind … [Read more...]

How Do We Relate To Jesus?

As frequent readers will know, I'm often wary of drawing facile antinomies between "Modernity" and "Christianity" but here I will indulge just a little bit.One frequent theme you will read about in the history of philosophy is Kant's supposed "Copernician revolution": capital-T universal "Truth" is not a thing "out there" that objectively exists independently of us and that we grope our way towards; we only experience the "noumenal" through the "phenomenal" and so the only thing we can say a … [Read more...]

Papal Infallibility As An Instrument Of Unity

The common misconception about the doctrine of Papal infallibility is that the Pope can say whatever he wants and Catholics have to believe it. Actually, the effect of Papal infallibility works in the opposite direction, restraining the Pope; as Ross Douthat explained in a column relating to the latest Synod: On paper, that doctrine seems to grant extraordinary power to the pope [...] In practice, though, it places profound effective limits on his power. Those limits are set, in part, by normal … [Read more...]

Courtly Love And “The Traditional Family”

Over the Christmas break, I read C.S. Lewis's The Allegory of Love (my first Lewis book! I enjoyed it!), a wonderful book of literary history and criticism, which looks at the invention of the poetry genre of "courtly love", which is really the invention of what we would today call romantic love, period.One of the things Lewis is at pains to stress in his book is that the very notion of romantic, or passionate, love, or however you want to call it, was basically alien to all culture until … [Read more...]