Editor's Notes

By Hefling, Charles | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Editor's Notes


Hefling, Charles, Anglican Theological Review


It is frequently said that in modern times biblical scholarship cut its ties with the church's theological and ethical concerns, to chart an independent course of its own. Exegetes became academic specialists whose studies were of interest to other exegetes and hardly anyone else. The resulting isolation of disciplines that were once complementary aspects of one mindful enterprise is certainly to be regretted. Fortunately, it is by no means universal. Rigorous scholarly interpretation need not, nor does it always, rule out conversation with theological tradition or contemporary praxis. This issue of the Review offers two fine articles on Scripture, quite different in many respects, yet similar in their openness to other fields of inquiry.

C. K. Robertson examines early church leadership, concentrating on Luke's gospel and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles, with special attention to groups that Luke designates with numbers-the Twelve, of course, together with the Seven and the Seventy. The examination makes use of systems analysis, not to replace or contradict methods that have long been employed by commentators, but to add to what they have discovered. A systems approach, as Robertson notes, is valuable not so much because it gives new answers to questions that have been answered many times already, as because it elicits questions that may never have been asked before. Such an approach is especially well suited to understanding change and the limits within which change can be accommodated-topics that are not without contemporary relevance, to which the conclusion of the article turns suggestively.

Anyone who has followed the trends displayed by recent publications in systematic and philosophical theology will be aware that the doctrine of the Trinity has moved from the wings to center stage. One central issue in the discussion has been whether, and how far, what can be known about the way in which God is integrally multiple ought to be reflected in normative statements about human societies, and vice versa. Katherine Grieb presents a careful study of the ethical problems Paul faced in the communities he wrote his letters to, and asks whether his description of the church as "koinonia of the Spirit"-a description that serves as the unifying "glue" of his ethics-might also be the decisive element in his incipiently Trinitarian language. It was from these problems, which were at once practical and theological, that Paul drew his insights about the integrity of God, insights, Grieb suggests, that may well bear on conceiving the Trinity today in such a way as to draw out its social implications for the church.

Two additional articles honor the journal's dedication to retrieving and developing Anglican tradition. Egil Grislis, whose perceptive explorations of Richard Hooker s work have appeared previously in the ATR, here investigates a side of Hooker that is not often presented. That he was judicious, extraordinarily well-read, and unswervingly devoted to his church is all common knowledge. That he might have been, perhaps was, not only a man of prayer but a mystic has not usually been considered and certainly not stressed. The evidence of what he wrote is assembled and evaluated in Grisliss article, which concludes that "in the eucharist, as in prayer, Hooker did not remain the calm, analytical theologian, but at times could even record the ecstasy which he had personally experienced."

In answering the question posed in the title of his article-why the ancient creed known as "Nicene" is still recited-Mark Chapman draws on the thought of F. D. Maurice and at the same time makes a contribution of his own to theology today. What the creeds mean and how they mean it can be elusive. …

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