Recently in Writings Category

Where might one begin speaking of Derrida's deconstruction and grammatology? Strangely enough, this essay will commence with Scholastic metaphysics in the hope of providing a necessary backdrop to the following discussion. Reading Derrida, one is confronted with the captivating notion of an anti-metaphysic , a critique of and proposed remedy to the entire genealogy of Western metaphysics from Aristotle onward. This essay will explore Derrida's anti-metaphysic as a central principle from which his more characteristic applications derive.
Scotus sets out his theory of individuation by presenting six questions, each of which addresses its own alternative theory of individuation. The attempt is made to refute the first five, following which Scotus presents his own theory, the sixth, as alone plausible. This paper will examine Scotus' refutation of the first question, in which he argues against the position that "natures of themselves are singular". It is in the context of this discussion that Scotus must defend the three-tiered ontology of natures.
The implications of the simple nature of the divine Being have raised the question among philosophical theologians as to how this divine Being is to be understood as possessing Personality 12 . For it is clear that the entire system of Christian beliefs is irrevocably grounded in the central belief that God is a personal Being capable of rationality, volition, communication and relations with beings outside itself 13. And yet these qualities of personality or self-consciousness, as we humanly know and understand them, seem to require a degree of division within the nature of the person, a fact which seems to collide with the simple nature of God.

Deconstruction and Physical Philosophy

This paper will briefly examine several key tenets of physical philosophy and their relation to contemporary deconstruction. The aims of this inquiry are a more thorough understanding of deconstruction's philosophical foundations and examination of its more recent conclusions involving theology and religion in general.
In the field of Christian biblical hermeneutics, figuralism or typology has traditionally been understood as a crucial element in understanding both the texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Typological exegesis of the Old Testament is em p loyed by the earliest of Christian writers in the attempt to apply the historical narratives of national Israel to the Christian church. It will be the intent of this paper to briefly reopen the topic of typology so that the history of the notion and its application to biblical texts is clearly understood, thereby allowing a precise and historically accurate definition of typology to be set forth.
Jean Gerson has been described by Schaff as "the most attractive and the most influential theological leader of the first half of the fifteenth century". Tentler regards him as "the greatest voice in the cure of souls". Ozment sees in him a "rich harvest of medieval thought". And Connolly suggests, "It would be difficult to find anywhere ideas that better sum up the whole tradition of Christian Spirituality than what we find in the pages that [Gerson] wrote." Although the sum of ideas and works of Gerson lie well beyond the scope of this paper, a brief overview of his life and work within the church will be attempted, with special emphasis being given to his development of Mystical Theology.
Regardless of the historical era or geographical location, mystical experiences have fascinated men and caused them to ponder their existence and universe. Not only did such experiences claim some kind of knowledge of the Divine or Absolute, but they also implied by their very existence that such experiences are available to humanity. Entire philosophical schools and religious sects grew up around the possibility of attaining some kind of insight or experience of Highest Reality. And those who claimed to have had an original mystical experience hitherto unknown soon found themselves with disciples searching for the same experience.

A Response to Augustine's De Mendacio [On Lying]

The question which requires exposition is whether one can use deception for a noble purpose without reaping the Scriptural condemnation of liars. Can one deceive another with the intent (and perhaps consequence) of achieving good such that the deception deserves acceptance or even praise? Many believe so, and Augustine offers many examples given in demonstration of such a position.
This paper will examine David Kelsey's "Uses of Scripture in Recent Theology" (1975) as representative of neo-Protestant trends toward a functional understanding of scriptural authority and compare his proposal to the position outlined by Carl F. Henry in the eleventh thesis of "God, Revelation and Authority" (1979). Thesis Eleven of GRA states: The Bible is the resevoir and conduit of divine truth, the authoritative written record and exposition of God's nature and will.
Hunter focuses upon the question of what, if any, are the cultural costs and consequences of orthodoxy's survival in the modern world. Hunter intends this work to be a sociological interpretation, which he admits may be speculative on several points. He states the purpose of this work as follows: "In making this interpretation I hope... to make a contribution to the understanding of the fate of religion in the contemporary world order. I further hope to make a modest contribution to a deeper understanding of modern life - how ordinary individual (for whom traditional religious and cultural realities still provide meaning, encouragement, and hope) make sense out of their daily lives in the modern world."
The aim of this paper is not do arrive at conclusions regarding specific critiques of Aquinas' formulations. What is proposed here is a thorough examination of Aquinas' three cosmological arguments, with the intent of clearly establishing the parameters of the foundation upon which Aquinas' subsequent treatment of God's nature rest.
This essay will briefly examine representative treatments of Williams, his thought and influence, and will seek to demonstrate that a multi-origin view provides the most accurate analysis of Williams.

On Kant's Notion of Moral Autonomy

This paper will examine Kant's understanding of the relation among morality, autonomy and rationality with the two-fold aim of offering both critique of and alternative to Kant's epistemological presuppositions and conclusions. It will be argued that Kant's pivotal notions of a cognitively inaccessible noumenal world about which we may only posit that we are members qua intelligence (and thereby autonomous), and that this noumenal realm exists exclusively and innately within the rational subject (thereby making the subject moral "lawmaker") are intuitively unwarranted and arguably false. It will also be argued that pure reason and moral law derive their universality from their objective and transcendent reality within and above the individual. This paper will not address the question of the moral law's content nor will it attempt to offer a theory of how the moral law motivates conformity.
This is the second in a two-part series examining Western Europe's role in the development and facilitation of "racism". (For Part One, see "Ignorant Science: The Eighteenth Century's Development of a Scientific Racism", in Quodlibet vol 1, num 8, December 99.) This paper will attempt three things: [a] to provide an objective though limited account of the relation between slavery and Western theology; [b] to enforce the distinction between Scriptural theology and those contextual elements which may reside in theological formulations; and [c] to provide a case study of this distinction through a treatment and analysis of the Ham story. This subject matter covered will be limited to [a] longstanding traditions developed in the 3rd and 4th century Church which remained until changes occurring in 1965 with Vatican II, and [b] popular theology within the Antebellum (i.e., pre-Civil War) South.
This paper will attempt a brief interaction between the views outlined in Kevin Vanhoozer 's "Is There a Meaning in This Text?" (Zondervan Publishing House, 1988) and Stephen Fowl's "Engaging Scripture" (Blackwell Publishing, 1998). Conclusions will be drawn regarding their degrees of compatibility and whether or not one can coherently hold to both hermeneutics simultaneously.
This paper will examine the philosophes' treatment of 18th century European science and philosophy regarding non-European/non-white peoples which to this day remain influential and which directly contributed to the death or oppression of tens of millions of non-whites through slavery or conquest.
This paper will begin with brief overview the movement of the sociological models of development theory over the last half century from a strictly localized toward an entirely global perspective. The paper will then turn to the historical model of development found in the works of Oswald Spengler, which provides predictions of a global nature pertaining to a possible destiny for modern Western society. It is the intent of this paper to: (a) show that as research (and modernity) continue, the need for a global development theory becomes more apparent; and (b) show one author's historical model of development and its claims regarding the future global influence upon Western modernity.

Aquinas on Human Action and Culpability

In order for certain human actions to be deemed moral, thereby making the individual culpable, the demonstration must be made that such actions are distinct from acts which arise through external principles, as well as those acts arising from internal principles which are non-culpable. This brief paper will examine Aquinas' theory of human activity in general and voluntary activity specifically. Our purpose will be to determine Aquinas' placement and definition of human moral culpability as pertains to the individual's voluntary action.
This paper intends to explore the postmetaphysic evaluation of traditional systems and will focus predominantly on its impact upon traditional and constructive theology. The writings of Jean Luc Marion, currently perhaps the foremost pupil of Jacques Derrida as regards the discussion of postmetaphysic theology will be the locus of this discussion. Our aim here is to arrive at a brief but meaningful [a] definition of metaphysics, [b] evaluation of the role and import of metaphysics in traditional Christian theology, and [c] overview of Jean Luc Marion's postmetaphysic approach to theological and hermeneutics.
This essay will examine Thomas Hobbes' (1588-1679) physical philosophy and epistemology with special attention given to their impact on biblical interpretation and authority. A central aim of this essay is an evaluation of Hobbes' central philosophical principles and their implications toward the communication of religious content.
Through prolific writing and treatment of various subjects the so-called Hobbsean "system" emerges as an impressively coherent philosophical worldview. This system grounds in Thomas Hobbes' (April 15, 1588- December 4, 1679) unique understanding of philosophy as comprised solely of physics, a ground from which then proceeds his more infamous theory of civic and religious authority. In the interim between ground and political theory abound writings on optics, geometry, mathematics, Aristotelianism, psychology, perception, and more. All of these together comprise a reality which for Hobbes necessarily results in a world both natural and social governed solely by mechanical principles.

On Alvin Plantinga's Notion of the Divine Nature

This paper will examine those portions of Aquinas' formulation which are central to Plantinga's argument, with the aim of gaining an understanding of Aquinas' position and intent, with which we may then better evaluate Plantinga's interpretation and response.
This paper will examine the origin and implications of Exodus 3:14 in the broader context of Exodus 3:1-4:17. The intent here is to arrive at an objective reading of 3:14 in particular and 3:1-4:17 as a whole whereby later treatments of this verse might be evaluated. The paper concludes with a brief tracing of Talmudic and early Christian treatments of Exodus 3:14.

John Calvin on Free Will

Calvin views the human soul as consisting of two fundamental faculties under which all other faculties are subordinate: Understanding and Will. Regarding the relation of these two faculties, he writes, "The understanding is, as it were, the leader and governor of the soul; and that the will is always mindful of the bidding of the understanding, and in its own desires awaits the judgment of the understanding."

Luther's Contribution to a Christian Sexual Ethic

Luther equates the inevitability of one's sexual impulses with one's being male or female, for just as the latter state is far outside our control of manipulating, so also is the former. This implies that all humans by design inevitably move toward multiplying through sexual intercourse. But this drive is not to be pursued unchecked, and marriage here is the checkrein. Also derived from this is Luther's conviction that within the estate of marriage, marital love elevates those involved above all other possible "love" relationships. In marriage, humans find the apex of physical existence.

Jacques Derrida's The Gift of Death

The content of The Gift of Death was originally presented at Royaumont, December 1990, in a conference entitled "the Ethics of the Gift". Gift in recent deconstructionist parlance has come to signify the unsignifiable, a Name for the ineffable. The Gift transcends all conceptualization yet underlies our more basic nature. It eludes all categorization while at the same time provides a meta-context within which all human philosophy and religion (erroneous or otherwise) takes place. For the deconstructionist the Gift is that boundless parameter within which all deconstruction takes place and progresses.
This essay will present first an overview of recent trends within historiography and then an alternative approach to historiography will be offered through which the following corollaries are defensible: (a) the credibility of Christianity's fundamental reliance upon historical figures and events as a basis of faith, proclamation, and scholarship; (b) the possibility of access, investigation, and verification of these same historical figures and events by non-Christian scholars; (c) the use of valid historical-critical methodologies with the expectation of ascertaining historical accuracy; and (d) recognition and integration of recent theories emphasizing the pervasive influence of the observer upon the object. It is my conviction that these corollaries must be defended if evangelical Christian faith and scholarship intend to in any way engage modern academia with the same claims they have traditionally espoused.
This paper will begin with a brief survey of the development of the Christian Calendar, followed by an introduction to the lectionary, emphasizing its purpose, role and structure.

On A Priori Knowledge

This paper will present my position on a priori knowledge.

Martin Luther and Scripture

This paper will briefly overview Luther's understanding and treatment of Scripture. Luther's view of the authority of Scripture will be examined first, in relation to Ockham, the papacy, the councils, the fathers, and reason. Secondly, Luther's hermeneutic will be given. And lastly, mention will be made of Luther's Christocentic understanding of Scripture.