A lot of attention gets focused on the content of theology: the ideas and arguments that theologians produce. Rather less gets focused on the practice of theology: who does it, where, and how, and what it might mean for them to be doing it well. Of course, there is plenty of discussion of ‘method’ in theology, but it often focused at an abstract level, asking about the kinds of argument and evidence that can properly underpin theological conclusions, rather than on the practical activities of arguing, evidence gathering, and concluding, and on the people who engage in those practices.
That’s why the American theologian Jim Fodor and I decided to put together a theology textbook with a difference: The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology, which came out last month. Rather than examining the standard range of theological topics (God, Christ, creation, salvation, sin, and the rest) it involves a series of theological practices: arguing, reading classic texts, interpreting questionable traditions, handling scripture.
Several of the chapters have been written by members of the Department: I’ve contributed chapters on ‘Reason’, ‘Tradition’, and (with Jim Fodor) ‘Scripture, Devotion and Discipleship’; Karen Kilby has written on ‘Seeking Clarity’; Gerard Loughlin on ‘The Literal Sense and the Senses of Scripture’; and Paul Murray on ‘Engaging with the Contemporary Church’. Simon Oliver, our new Van Mildert professor, has written on ‘Reading Philosophy’. And we have been joined by a wide range of other authors from the UK and the US, writing about everything from how to use the creeds in theology, to how to engage with postcolonial theory.
Full details of the book are available at http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415617369/
Professor Mike Higton. Professor Higton’s post at Durham is part of the University’s Common Awards partnership with the Church of England and is responsible for academic input into the University’s validation of the Common Awards in Theology, Ministry and Mission offered by the Church in colleges and courses around the country, and for developing collaborative research projects that bring together people from the church and university sectors to discuss the future of theological education. Professor Higton currently supervises or co-supervises several PhD and DThM students at Durham, Cambridge, and Exeter Universities. Research interests include Christian Doctrine, Christology, Postliberal Theology, Anglican Theology, and Theology of Higher Education. More Information can be found on our Contributors page and the Department’s website.