Hello and welcome!
We are delighted to announce the launch of Blogos, a site which invites others to participate in some of the exciting and, indeed, highly constructive discussion that is taking place in the Logos Institute. This will be a forum through which a host of scholars will join the conversation to talk about the work they are doing in theology, biblical studies, and philosophy. If we are to engage faithfully and responsibly with the truth claims at the heart of the Christian faith, it is imperative that these three disciplines engage rigorously with each other. While specialisation within these fields remains paramount, one of the profound weaknesses in the contemporary theological debate has been the extent to which these disciplines tend to operate in isolation from one another.
The forms of engagement Logos seeks to encourage are not easy. A particular challenge we face is that scholars tend to be reluctant, in practice, to listen as carefully to or, indeed, respect the voices of other disciplines as much as the familiar voices within their own. This is especially the case when scholars from another discipline are perceived as challenging the established orthodoxies and orthopraxies of one’s own particular domain. When this happens, it can be enormously tempting for scholars to withdraw into the comfortable echo-chambers that characterise their own fields. In theology, we are too quick to engage primarily with friends who share our commitment to Augustine or Aquinas or Calvin or Schleiermacher or Barth…
What is proving exciting for those of us in the Logos Institute has been the opportunity to witness what can be achieved when, in tandem with the task of theological retrieval, theologians engage with contemporary Biblical scholarship and analytic philosophical theology. The latter two have witnessed a sea-change in the last forty years and everything is to be gained when theologians learn from these developments and, indeed, are enabled to contribute to the critically important research being undertaken within these fields.
Central to the whole approach of the Logos Institute is a commitment to the methodological and epistemological ideals that characterise the new field of “Analytic Theology”. Over recent decades, analytic philosophy, which increasingly characterises academic philosophy worldwide, has sought to embrace the ideals of lucidity, transparency, open accountability, and intellectual rigour in its approach. Consequently, it seeks to avoid abstruse expression, the overuse of metaphor and the like. Analytic Theology seeks to embrace these same ideals and encourage the methodological and epistemological commitments and intellectual discipline that characterise the field of philosophy.
With the help of this new blog Logos will endeavour to encourage a wider discussion in which there exists a sense of humility and mutual respect for the contribution that scholars in other key, cognate fields stand to offer the pursuit of truth. It seeks to draw on and encourage a shared commitment to get to the ‘fact of the matter’ concerning some of the most important questions it is possible for human beings to address.
It is also our hope is that these conversations will reflect faith seeking understanding––that they will be of service to the Church in response to the challenges it faces in the contemporary world. Throughout the history of the Church, biblical studies, Christian philosophy, and theology have worked together to this end. It has only been in the last hundred or so years that they have begun to grow apart and head off on their own independent trajectories. This has encouraged specialised research that has facilitated huge strides in the various disciplines, particularly in biblical studies and Christian philosophy. At the same time, however, it has become increasingly clear how all three fields can succumb to naiveté and, indeed, confusion when they commit to operating in isolation from the others.
In addition to the more regular content of Blogos, we shall also have a channel devoted to Logia: our new initiative that seeks to support female students and faculty and to encourage women to pursue postgraduate research in the theological disciplines. As an integral part of Logos, Logia reflects this same commitment to bring philosophy, theology, and biblical studies into conversation. The hope, however, is that Logia will also help to mobilise what has traditionally been a massively under-utilised talent (a lost theological resource) by drawing far more women into theological service of the academy and the church. Logia is currently being headed up by Christa McKirland, who is finishing up her PhD in Logos under the supervision of Alan Torrance.
Finally, we are extremely fortunate to have Drs Stephanie Nicole Nordby and Jonathan Rutledge running this blog. Stephanie Nicole already has a PhD in philosophy and is currently pursuing a second PhD within Logos, under the supervision of N.T. Wright and Oliver Crisp. Jonathan also received a PhD in philosophy and is completing a second PhD at Logos under the supervision of Alan Torrance.
Andrew Torrance is co-founder of the Logos Institute and a Lecturer in Theology at the University of St Andrews. He is author of The Freedom to Become a Christian: A Kierkegaardian Account of Human Transformation in Relationship with God. He is also co-editor with Thomas McCall of the forthcoming two volumes Knowing Creation and Christ and the Created Order: Perspectives from Theology, Philosophy, and Science.
Alan Torrance is the Director and co-founder of the Logos Institute, and he is also Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of St Andrews. He is author of Persons in Communion: Trinitarian Description and Human Participation. He is also the editors of several volumes including The Doctrine of God and Theological Ethics (with Michael Banner), and Scripture’s Doctrine: Studies on the New Testament’s Normativity for Christian Dogmatics (with Markus Bockmuehl).