Editors' Notes

By Ferlo, Roger; Fout, Jason A. | Anglican Theological Review, Summer 2018 | Go to article overview

Editors' Notes


Ferlo, Roger, Fout, Jason A., Anglican Theological Review


In his magisterial work The Love of Learning and the Desire for God, the volume from which this centennial issue of the Anglican Theological Review borrows its title, Jean Leclercq identified three principal strains of monastic learning: theology, spirituality, and cultural history.1 Its a triad we found useful in considering how best to describe this centenary issue. Theology, of course, takes pride of place as the principal preoccupation of the ATR writers from the journals debut in 1918. But since the completion of that initial volume, which included the first of Vida Scudder s several contributions to the journal,2 one can discern a spiritual undersong in even the most technical of academic pieces. The love of learning and the desire for God-theology and spirituality-lie at the heart of our one-hundredyear-old enterprise, and this centenary issue celebrates that.

This double focus on theology and spirituality should come as no surprise to longtime readers of the journal. But a century of publishing history offers an unusually clear window through which to view an implicit cultural history (the third element in Leclercqs monastic triad)-a history of Anglican thought in North America marked by both striking continuity and remarkable change in the way our writers go about their business. There is continuity in the conviction that responsible theological reflection, comprehensive rather than partisan, is essential to the life of the church-a conviction that remains a particular charism of this journal. But there is also a history of change- sometimes radical change-in both what is said and who could say it in these pages. In the first several decades, one gets the impression that theology in the Episcopal Church, with just a few exceptions, was more or less the exclusive domain of upper middle-class, Anglo-Saxon males writing from privileged positions in Episcopal seminaries intellectually located in the shadow of the Ivy League universities. There were very few womens voices heard, and almost none from writers in racial or ethnic minorities. Of course, this profile matched the profile of academia itself until the 1960s, as well as the composition of our seminary faculties and of leadership in the Episcopal Church as a whole.3

History is, of course, what it is. Whatever the demographic and cultural limitations, both imposed and self-imposed, of past scholarship, those first several decades of the journal's publication produced some memorable writing, two examples of which (from Evelyn Underhill and Samuel M. Shoemaker) you will find reprinted in this issue. Both of those pieces were written for a lay as well as an academic audience, part of the so-called Church Congress syllabus that was one of the first attempts by the Episcopal Church to make academic scholarship more widely accessible, still a goal of the journal in our own day.4 Included with these two exemplary pieces-Underhill on worship and Shoemaker on personal evangelism-are brief introductions by Kathleen Henderson Staudt and Ian Markham, reflecting on the ways these pieces remain significant for a church in which worship and evangelism have been continuing sources of both innovation and conflict.

The remaining five articles, drawn from more recent decades, reflect some remarkable changes in direction within both Anglicanism and academic theology generally, particularly since the 1970s. These articles are likewise introduced by contemporary scholars with an eye to their current significance: Richard A. Rosengarten on Nathan A. Scott, Jr.; Bill Wylie-Kellermann on William Stringfellow; Jason A. Fout on David F. Ford; Brad East on John Webster; Sofia M. Starnes on poetry; and Kelly Brown Douglas re-examining and rethinking her own essay on womanist theology, which first appeared in these pages twenty-three years ago. (You will also find in tins issue an insightful review essay by Daniel Wade McClain, as well as many fine book reviews.)

The more recent writings garnered from the archives reveal an ever-widening variety of theological points of view and theological styles; a greater sensibility to the newly heard voices in global Anglicanism, whether liberal or conservative; a closer attention to issues of gender and racial inequality; and an increasing appreciation for the theological richness of imaginative writing, beginning with the introduction of poetry in the 1970s as regular feature of the journal. …

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