Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Truth of Christianity and a newly discovered blog

I was delighted to receive a comment from a certain Sister Macrina Walker, ocso, a Cistercian monastic of Koningsoord Abbey in the Netherlands. Not only is she well informed concerning good BelgianTrappist beer, she has her own blog, A Vow of Conversation. According to the "About" section, she has "questions about the role of tradition in theology and became increasingly aware of the shortcomings of a typically Western modern-cum-postmodern theology that is cut of from the life of faith and the tradition of the Church." She's particular interested in the Church Fathers, with a completed thread dealing with the Syrian Fathers here (she also links to a fascinating Syrian Encylopaedia , the WikiSyriaca, here).

If that isn't enough to make her blog worth reading, she also happens to be a big fan of Andrew Lowth, a scholar whose significance I am slowly beginning to grasp.

As always, it's Brevard Childs who got me onto the Lowth trail. Childs' later work was dedicated to finding continuity in the Christian tradition, evidence of a theological force creating a Wirkungsgeschichte with a certain profile. Key is the centrality of the hermeneutical category of allegory and the distinction between a literal and a spiritual sense to Christian scripture. It is Childs' influence by Karl Barth - especially his understanding of Scripture as "witness" - that enabled continuity between Childs' historical critical, canonical, and later ... well ... "theological" exegesis.

It's so incarnational it hurts. In a nice way.

Here's a great Lowth quote, taken from Sister Macrina Walker's personal introduction:

For the truth that lies at the heart of theology is not something there to be discovered, but something, or rather someone, to whom we must surrender. The mystery of faith is not ultimately something that invites our questioning, but something that questions us.
Andrew Louth, Discerning the Mystery. An Essay on the Nature of Theology (Oxford: Clarendon, 1983) 95.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments, Phil, and the link. My knowledge of beer was non-existent before coming to the low countries (it's called inculturation!) and is still more or less limited to that made by our brothers!

Phil Sumpter said...

Well, I've just got back and despite an illness I got to try a few. I now have a row in my kitchen of key representatives of the varieties I've not yet tasted. So far I'm a fan of the strong, dark, malty Trappist brews. Though I have to admit, there's a certain purity to the German variety which I think I prefer ...

OH, and two other monastaries which still brews beer and which are still functioning are Rochfort and Orval. We arrived at Rochfort just in time for Vespers.