10 June 2009

I presented a paper at the Scottish Universities Theology Conference, St Andrews:   A ‘Saving Interruption’: Moral Knowledge and Participation in Christ

I explore briefly the epistemic significance of  Jüngel’s search for a christological natural theology, drawing particular attention to ‘participation in Christ’ as the epistemic event in which moral knowledge occurs.  I consider the implications of this view for the doctrine of moral knowledge, and conclude with an interpretation of  Jüngel’s statement that truth is to be understood christologically as an event of a “saving interruption.”   (synopsis & link to my paper)

July 2008

Seattle Pacific University – Summer Seminar in Theology

A collaboration of the Schools of Theology and Business & Economics, featuring presentations by Doug Koskela, David Nienhuis, Daniel Castelo, and Jeff Keuss (8 & 29 July; 12 & 26 August).

1-4 September 2008:

Presenting paper in Rome at conference: The Grandeur of Reason: Religion, Tradition, and Universalism

Metaphysics and Morality:  Implications of Epistemological Realism in the Theological Ethics of Oliver O’Donovan

How is the reality of the moral order within the cosmos to be conceived?  Is it objectively real and complete, or subjectively discerned and emergent?  Oliver O’Donovan offers an epistemological realism which seeks to accommodate the irreducible tension in this question.  This paper identifies and addresses some challenging implications of his approach.  O’Donovan argues for eschatological transformation, as witnessed in the resurrection, as a unifying concept for ethics.  The resurrection binds together the personal and universal aspects of moral reality. Upon this foundation O’Donovan builds his doctrine of ethics by pursuing a path of epistemological realism that systematically avoids the twin perils of voluntarism and empiricism that often confound ethical discourse. While this approach avoids certain epistemological weaknesses, it also introduces challenges for theological anthropology.  These challenges stem from the attempt to formulate the moral order as an ontological reality independent from the role of personal transformation in providing epistemic access to moral knowledge.   I identify these implications and outline the need for a complementary ontological view of moral agents as persons in relationship.  This qualification of O’Donovan’s epistemological realism promises to address more effectively the metaphysical aspects of moral learning and personal transformation so important for an adequate account of our participation in the moral order.
 October 24, 2007:
Leading a faculty seminar at Seattle Pacific University during Jürgen Moltmann’s visit, on the topic of:
Experimental Theology: the key to science & wisdom?
What do science and faith have to say to each other?  In his book Science and Wisdom Jürgen Moltmann says, “it is essential …to develop a theologia experimentalis, an experimental theology which, together with the modern world, faces up to the experimentum veritatis, the experiment of truth.”  Here is a grand challenge for our university—how do we excel in the teaching and practice of experimental theology?What does this mean for our faith? And how do we live into the hope that our faith seeks wisdom in dialog with every branch of science?  This discussion will explore the interplay of science and faith, and seek practical advice for a university that desires to excel in both.