In medias res – December reading

My self-imposed course in systematics for December-January is becoming quite interesting, one week in. I’m reading the following carry-over books from late November:

1. David Cunningham, These Three Are One – so far, an interesting read. I finally got to understand the meaning of things like “missions” and “processions” in the Trinity. While his decision to propose new “names” for the Trinity will no doubt provoke some fury, his own reading of trinitarian doctrine is so far quite solid and well-argued, and the conscious emphasis on practice is a remarkable move.

2. John Macquarrie, The Search for Deity – I read this the first time back in October for a paper I was writing. The book comprises his Gifford Lectures in 1983. It is a piece that builds upon aspects of his attempt to do theology, which I will also re-read this December.

So my reading list for the December holidays (since I will return them when school starts to the LST) are as follows:

1. John Macquarrie, Principles of Christian Theology (1977 edition) – This is another book I am re-reading, this time in extenso, for two purposes: one is to understand his humble attempt to do theology, and another is so that my class can understand his connection to Heidegger’s thought.

2. John Macquarrie, Theology, Church, and Ministry – This is a book which I found on the LST catalog listings and which I have not read. I think this is the book Fr. Joe Mock, one of the chaplains at Brent School, recommended that I should also read.

3. Cardinal Walter Kasper, Leadership in the Church – A collection of essays by a wonderful man I met nearly a year ago. This more recent collection includes his article critiquing the centralizing tendencies of the Vatican.

My agenda for January/February is to read two books. I’m already looking through one of them.

1. John R. Franke, The Character of Theology – A book which would serve as a companion piece to both Principles and Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy. It complements the former as it approaches doing theology from a Reformed Calvinist (as opposed to Macquarrie’s Anglo-Catholic) perspective, and it complements the latter as it provides a theoretical and methodological ground for doing theology in a “generous orthodox” spirit.

2. David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite – Lent to me by Fr. Joe Mock, this work, from initial reading, has insights on almost every page. However, it is a book that, for those who have encountered the latter’s writing, reads like Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Herrlichkeit in English translation (and I had a hard time getting through what Dr. Williams and co. made of the German!) and demands some familiarity with names and concepts in postmodernity, patristics, etc. In other words, I will be reading it with the awareness that it could be read again in the future—but that time, I will understand more of it.

Finally, because of a paper I am working on for my personal project, I am going to read Cities of God by Graham Ward. This is his contribution to Radical Orthodoxy’s political theology, and my intent is to connect this to the project of Michael Hardt and Toni Negri toward an alternative to contemporary capitalism.

Now if you think I don’t have time for fiction, I will be reading The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when it all becomes too much.


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