SMC330 Exam Notes

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St. Michael's College Courses
Reid Locklin

1. Gregory of Nyssa, Julian of Norwich and Gustavo Gutiérrez, among others, all give prominence to some notion of “oppression” or “captivity” in their theologies of sin and salvation. How are these proposals similar? How are they different? To what extent does the soteriology of Gutiérrez and other liberationists represent a new development in Christian theology and to what extent does it represent a return to earlier traditions?  Gregory of Nyssa  Good/bad change, proof/demonstration of God, gate-keeper mentality  Freewill was a gift, used wrongly and following the consequence of adversary opposition; Used against God  A good change, eating, drinking, sustaining one's life in a good way, course of the human life is natural; Restoration of original state, purification  The process of restoration difficult and painful  Salvation: Killing of sin, recapitulation vs sin & death -> new life; release from captivity to sin and devil, raise up to God; restoration of human nature  Flesh: harmony between human and God…. Persuading devil, trickery, availability, persuasion > power; meeting point between life & death; devil need flesh to control  God: must be God, if not it wont be real/secure; goodness and excellence; unchangeable vs changeable creation, immortal, divine; existence of anything, humanity is a thing that exists, the divine is a thing that exists, actual transformations of thing, the thing-ness of what they are; Sin and death understood as a lost of being, and being is restored as the resurrection of Christ; God dispel darkness, contradict dark, better than humans  Ransom allegory; God is not only good, but he is wise; devil can’t hang in to him, he’s fair, just, good, could have released from captivity but not just, honor devil’s legitimate rights; lying for humankind, positive outcome for devil and human, darkness burn away  Strength; offers a universal redemption, universalist, rational and logical coherence vs weakness: death doesn’t seem to be defeated, we are still dying, still exhibiting signs of captivity to the devil  His answer; death has been destroyed because the fear destroyed by martyrs  During the fall, the devil tricked human kind; devil put forward something as good, that was actually evil. apparent ‘good’ is the bait that causes us to sin.  God does the same thing with Jesus. He disguises himself as the human nature of Christ, and uses this bait to trade for humans who are enslaved to sin. Devil takes the bait and releases captives, and discovers that when he takes Jesus, it’s actually God, so he has to release it. And as a result, the devil loses everything.  Notion of theosis / divinization exchange of human and divine. God became a human being so that human beings may become Gods -> divinizing, recapitulating human nature, human divinized, God become human so human can become god  recapitulation; redo and re-explain what’s been done before, return to original state by renacting full life… what was lost in Adam recreated in Christ (Adam human nature created)  Allegory of clay pot – only way to fix it to shatter it, make it back into clay, remake  Julian of Norwich  Question of rational argumentation of resurrection… alternative view and approach; mystical vision and allegory  Theology born of suffering and illness… vision of bleeding crucifix, overwhelming blood and love of God  Offers reflections on her visions…. MORAL EXEMPLARISM  Image of hazelnut in God’s hand, everlasting tiny thing + image of Jesus as loving mother, feminine… also in Anselm  Vision of Lord and Servant, Theory of redemption, Adam -> Christ mystical union  Adam fell from grace, Jesus chose to fall o save Adam, raise him back up with him -> recapitulation and theosis (link with Gregory with Adam)  co-existence of blame and blamelessness; God doesn't blame humans in her visions because fall is due to love of God; felix culpa -> good error/fault, fall and what comes after the fall is greater than what was before, servant no fault of own for falling`  Deep language of love. simplify the image further by looking at it in God’s love.  Narrative, symbols, mystical visions  Gutierrez  Revised soteriology  Salvation is an intrahistorical reality; inside not outside history, history is one  Salvation embraces all persons and whole person (oppressed)  Integral liberation – including all aspects of life including social and political  Quantitative to qualitative (extensive to intensive)  Historical reality of sin, human act transformed to perfection with Christ  Political liberation; creation of new order, human self-creation, historic salvific act  Christo-finalized, one history; Recreation and complete fulfillment  New creation from work of Christ, liberation from sin, new chosen people  Eschatological promises, future and historical present, bible as book of promise  Historical promises, beyond foreseeable, hope for gift  Christ the Liberator, human act transformed into perfection, fullest sense  History as means to look at what’s beyond us, transcendent  One human destiny; Salvation and new creation connected  Creation: always talking about new creation, all interrelated  Deifies political activity, Inclusion…Struggle for just society part of salvation  Sin – impediment to communion; Christological sense of salvation  Anselm doesn’t talk much about Jesus but conclusion is God man… Gutierrez too  Exodus telling what Christ means, shaping interpretation  Anselm - Metaphysical (debt repaid), ontological -> existential o convicted of God’s wrath to appreciate his grace, throw self at God’s mercy o Move us in particular way ; “For us.” Pro nobis o extranos – important stuff happens out there, between God man and father, humans as side players o God just, rewards and Jesus, salvation… merit and reward  liberating action of Christ, struggle for just society is part of salvational history – not consequence but integral. Part of message but apart  Anticipation/participation in single salvific process  Placing life of Christ into historical and liberating experience of exodus from Egypt  Analysis of situation, critique of tradition and light of situation, searching traditions for elements that may function to liberate rather than oppress  Situation of poverty = death, alienates persons from themselves and society, form of foreign captivity  Xtians talk about usually in quantitative terms, how many saved, but need to speak of it in terms of qualitative terms, what it entails  Gregory of Nyssa – sin - enslaved to devil – salvation to liberate from that  Calvin – sin as alienation of God, breach of relationship with God (like Gutierrez)  Gutierrez adding meaning o abject to poverty – impediment to communion with God, sin o sin includes structures and injustice o sin depersonalizes persons 3. The twentieth-century theologian Jürgen Moltmann argued that eschatology and the kingdom of God must assume a central role in any Christian understanding of Jesus as Messiah and Saviour. Evaluate Moltmann’s argument in critical comparison with those of John Calvin, on the one hand, and Rosemary Radford Ruether, on the other. How do these scholars’ different contexts, assumptions and leading concerns shape the ways they respond to this critical issue?  Moltmann – Theology of Hope  Jesus is how we see future of God, cross is sign of God’s hope on earth  stop short of giving theology revolutionary role, only see as able to critique, not alternative… liberation theology  Postwar context 60s – political hope, JFK, student riots  Past -> future, change ourselves, countries - Action on behalf of oppressed/poor  Concept of Kingdom of God, presence of God, repentance/transformation  Freedom -> spiritual/political  Critique of secularism and privatization of religion leading to distortion of religion  Religion removed from society and politics, just me and God  Privatization of religion led to reinventing of Xtianity as just another commodity  Object of advertising, individual choice, shoppers and consumers of religion  Critique of existential theology  Individual subjectivity implicitly reinforces privatization of religion that focuses on individual; Humans do not exist as individual self-transcending but part of history of suffering and injustice  Eschatology – eschatos (the end) + logos (word)… discourse about final reality  Apocalyptic view of end… Paul called for belief of Jesus because through resurrection, became lord of cosmos and became lord of history and time, individuals… lord of social and political powers of world  came with word of promise from God to make all things radically new, understand Jesus in social terms – rethink Jesus and rethink God, who they are  Hebrew scriptures, Moses meeting God in burning bush -> “I am who I am”  Hebrew more correct to translate to “I will be who I will be”  Transition from static categories (on being) to dynamic (becoming)  Promise – pledge proclaiming reality not yet at hand… new future, is already word- present… Promise of new creation, futurity; New – element of surprise implied  Surplus value of hope (because promise wasn’t as expected)  Promise in future presence of God, remaking earth  Not just author of creation but content of recreation; Future is mode of God’s being  Moses and Promised Land – not milk and honey – new future and hope  God meeting at promised point of future but move on  Revolution and Revelations  Jesus, anticipation and anticipator… makes promises about future presence, confirms exact same pattern; behaves in present as if future has arrived  Future is God, end of law and start of new justice, messiah of hope, forgiveness  From history to end of history, eternity and future mode of being  Not restoration of life before but general resurrection already begun, promise already present in crucified and risen Christ  Christ has come for the people like criminals, poor, oppressed  Christ of God – sign of God’s hope on earth in those who live in shadow of cross  crucified god – hope for future, freedom. Liberation and revolution  Calvin – Protestant Reformation, corruption of Roman Catholic, indulgences  sin as alienation of God, breach of relationship with God (like Gutierrez)  Reason, images as explanatory values o Luther feared that the notion of salvation as a free gift of god was at risk of being lost. emphasize the 5 solas (5 “onlys”) Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, scripture alone, to the glory of god alone. o Saved by Christ, with grace, through faith and scripture, praise only glory… o Jesus died to save you and me personally from sins  Calvin draw out systematic implications of Luther’s insight  Piety and faith, defend protestants, systematic theology… bible readins as existential interpretation not philosophical interpretations, need to know God as creator and redeemer; Christ as priest, prophet and king.  Calvin sees satisfaction in terms of punishment, broaden the vision of Christ’s work beyond his death.  God – Man, Intermediary, Restoration of balance  Language of necessity and biblical specificity (not God-Man in abstract but only biblical context, reason within bible alone), wrath, debt & obligation, appeasement of God’s hatred…  prophet – teach, King – protects, only offer satisfaction as priest – Anselm theme offered alongside… one of things Christ does  God’s wrath appeased through blood, punishment – penile satisfaction  Hating corruption… hating us but finds what is good in us  Doesn’t fundamentally hate us because searching for good  Nuance around sin like around God’s love; natural state to fall for humans  all about what happens for us, centre of what God is concerned about Feminism  oppressed women and dehumanized men, value and full humanity of women  redemptive of God, whatever damages – contrary to God’s intent  sexism, patriarchy and androcentrism (having man at center)  action, structure and society normed for men, neutral position male  enlightenment liberal feminism – rationality, ontological similarity, fundamentally same rational soul as men, education… equal rights and opportunities  cultural/gender feminism – women have distinctive way of being in world than men, pacifism, cooperation, nonviolent settlement, romantic feminism, mutuality  reformism and enlightenment liberal feminism… revisionist, reexamine Xtian tradition and see essence affirming equality between men and women, push reforms not changing structures of church necessarily  symbolism and cultural feminism, romantic… Xtian tradition more feminist than masculine, person of Christ, calls men to be more like women, Xtianity as better suited for women in some way… masculinization of women, open to collaboration  liberationist approach – theology looks different when taken from another perspective, new ways of seeing Xtian history and understandings/images  masculinity used to oppress women in history then man and woman same… romantic Xtology, Jesus as woman, spirit Xtology, new, women central  less emphasis on the ‘maleness’ and superiority, image of Christ to be something that women can relate to better, and it’s harder when it seems misogynist.  o Maleness is irrelevant.  o Exemplify the qualities of Christ which have nothing to do with his gender.  o Look at Christ outside of his patriarchal context.  o Concerned with empowering women, roles of authority  o Broader vision of human liberation. Want a new humanity.  § For Ruether, feminism isn’t about just woman and men, it’s a movement that aims for a holistic social transformation- dehumanizing for both woman and man.  · If one focuses on female images, it does not necessarily displace male norms. But draw emphasis to this polarity between man and woman.  Androgynous Christologies don’t work - Jesus is split into 2, and when you have that, it becomes androcentric and the maleness dominates.  Gender/Cultural (male Christ with complementary female principle) - Other option is Spirit Christology; Christ’s spirit lives on and present in both male and female - Complementary  Need a liberationist re-reading of Christ  · First step is to strip Jesus of his masculine image as Messiah.  · Go back to Synoptic gospels and re-encounter Jesus. Reverse status and take an unexpected role.  · Kenosis of Patriarchy- Kenosis- emptying oneself. Patriarchy deconstructing itself.  involve yourself in a re-reading of the Christ event. Analysis, critique, searching for alternatives. Find them in Jesus’ social relations, relationship with women and in Jesus’ self description.  Matthew- most patriarchal of all 4 gospels. Women have a very small role. Mary doesn’t speak in here. Strong emphasis on 12 apostles as strong authority.  Tied in – commodity/market economy/social contexts (JFK vs Reformation vs Feminist ----------- 2. The twentieth-century theologian Karl Rahner famously described the Definition of Chalcedon (451 CE) as the “beginning” of a conversation, rather than the “end” of one. Critically discuss the Definition itself, including the events leading up to it, as well as Karl Rahner’s creative re-interpretation of it. How successful is Rahner in translating the central teaching of the Definition into a contemporary context?  Mutual correction (Apollinaris errors addressed in Theodore, Theodore expanded on by Nestorius, Cyril in response to Nestorius)  Unity (divinity) Alexadria, logo-sarx, Cyril one principle of action, logos must share, not divided into 2, Concord unconfused unity vs duality (humanity) Tertullian
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