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Between Magisterium and Marketplace

Between Magisterium and Marketplace: A Constructive Account of Theology and the Church

Robert C. Saler
Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Between Magisterium and Marketplace
    Book Description:

    What is the relationship of the church to theology? How does the church relate to the work of creative theological authorship, particularly when authors propose novel claims? Even more, how do ecclesial models, particularly of ecclesial authority, underwrite or authorize how theology is done? Saler takes up these challenging and provocative questions and argues for a fresh ecclesiology of the church as event, specifically as a diffusively spatialized event. Establishing this claim through the fascinating historical encounters between thinkers like Thomas More and William Tyndale, John Henry Newman and Friedrich Schleiermacher, Between Magisterium and Marketplace provides a theological genealogy of modern ecclesiology, arguing that modern and contemporary ecclesiology is a theological contest not between Barth and Schleiermacher, but rather Newman and Schleiermacher. Constructing an alternative path, Saler turns to the work of a diverse array of authors past and present to argue for a humble yet hopeful view of the theological task in light of contemporary ecclesial opportunities.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8761-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    At a key moment in Umberto Eco’s 1980 novelThe Name of the Rose, set in a fourteenth-century Benedictine monastery, an elderly and severe monk named Jorge takes the pulpit during Mass to deliver a homily on the human pursuit of knowledge. His sermon hinges upon the distinction between the “preservation” of and the “search” for knowledge:

    But of our work, the work of our order and in particular the work of this monastery, a part—indeed, the substance—is study, and preservation of knowledge. Preservation of, I say, not search for, because the property of knowledge, as a divine...

  5. 1 Situating Authorship: Insights from Contemporary Literary Theory
    (pp. 23-50)

    The nature and function of “authorship” (and its agent, the “author”) have been hotly contested in contemporary literary criticism. Although in what follows I cannot pretend to give an exhaustive account of these contestations, several of the main currents within recent debates over authorship are germane to the questions of theological authorship that I will be addressing. This is so because, as we shall see, much of the problematization of theological authorship touted by twentieth-century literary theorists and by contemporary theologians is located at the intersection of individual authorial creativity/innovation and the claimed legitimacy of authoritative (author-izing) institutions; therefore, the...

  6. 2 The Rock or the Eagle?
    (pp. 51-98)

    In the previous chapter, we saw that the most influential contemporary debates on authorship within literary theory underscore the fact that considerations of the nature and function of authorship must take seriously the various sorts of institutional “authorization” that come into play in both textual production and interpretation. Translated into the realm of theology, this means that inquiry into the historically variegated operations of “authorship” in the Christian tradition must be coupled with a consideration of, as Jacqueline T. Miller puts it, “individual authority or creative autonomy and … the authoritative sanction that external sources provide.”¹ And the space of...

  7. 3 Magisterium or Marketplace?
    (pp. 99-150)

    The preceding chapters have been preparatory in nature. If the task of chapter 1 was to show the necessity of considering ecclesiology when thinking about the nature of theological authorship (even in—or perhaps especially in—situations in which the “authors” in question seek their own effacement), then the consideration of More versus Tyndale and Schleiermacher versus Newman in chapter 2 demonstrated that the history of Christian theological thought has often conceptualized the question of authority in agonistic terms; moreover, the key concepts at play often revolve around the role of magisterium and authorized tradition, on the one hand, and...

  8. 4 Authorship in Public
    (pp. 151-174)

    In the previous chapter, I spent a great deal of time detailing the ways in which Hütter understands the relationship between the Holy Spirit’s poiesis and the institutional church’s practices (including its doctrines) because the resulting dramatic picture of the institution’s authority that emerges from this merger—some might say slippage—is the backdrop against which Hütter’s conception of theological authorship makes sense. Having summarized the basic outlines of this position, we can begin this chapter by focusing more specifically on the view of authorship that corresponds to Hütter’s ecclesiological position.

    Earlier, we saw that Hütter viewed the sort of...

  9. 5 The Church as Diffusively Spatialized Event
    (pp. 175-234)

    I have two overarching goals in this final chapter. My first goal is to describe the fragmentation of the church not as a scandal to be overcome but as a positive good to be celebrated. The second is to argue that the mode of “profusion” in which contemporary theological discourse finds itself is, in a manner that corresponds to the fragmentation of the church, a salutary mode in which to pursue both the task and the appraisal of theological authorship.

    The first stage of this argument begins with a concession, which may or may not disclose itself as a gambit....

  10. 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 235-240)

    In his insightful survey of twentieth-century theology,The Word as True Myth, Gary Dorrien offers the following retrospective upon the shift from the era of the dominance of such theologians as Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr to the fragmented theological scene that the late twentieth century has bequeathed to our own day:

    The giants of twentieth-century theology had expected their students to revise their theological systems to fit the circumstances of a new generation. What they witnessed instead in their closing years was an outburst of “death of God” theologies and an explosion of new theologies of hope, ecumenism, black...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-256)
  12. Index
    (pp. 257-260)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)