Zwingli, Huldrych Huldrych Zwingli was born on 1 January, 1484 in Wildhaus (Switzerland). After he completed the Latin School in Weesen, Basel, and Bern, he studied in Vienna and enrolled at the University of Basel in 1502, receiving a Bachelors degree in 1504 and Masters in 1506. That same year he was ordained a priest, and was called as pastor to Glarus, where he dedicated himself to intensive study and fostered contact with Swiss humanists like J. Vadian (1484–1551) and H. Glarean (1488–1563). In 1516 Zwingli moved to Einsiedeln and continued his studies, focusing especially on the letters of Paul and the Gospel of John. At the end of 1518, he was called as pastor to Zurich, and in the following years Zwingli matured to a reformer whose sermons found a large audience and were the cornerstone for social change in Zurich.
In 1522, when respected citizens publicly broke Lenten norms, conflict ensued with the bishop of Constance. Zwingli justified breaking the fast in Concerning Freedom and Choice of Food, which was a comparison between the Reformed principle of Scripture and the Catholic principle of tradition. That same year he demanded that the bishop of Constance remove the rule of clerical celibacy and that sermons be preached according to Scripture in his Supplicatio ad Hugonem episcopum Constantiensem, while in his Apologeticus archeteles he rebuked the bishop's authority altogether.
His preaching and actions met with some resistance in Zurich itself, prompting the city council to convene a hearing in January, 1523.
Ubiquity The doctrine of the ubiquity (or omnipresence) of the human nature of Jesus is a feature of Lutheran theology that derives from M. Luther's teaching that Christ is present in the consecrated elements of the Eucharist in both his divine and human natures. Luther argued that restricting the real presence to the divine nature violated the Christology of Chalcedon, according to which both natures are united in Jesus' person without division or separation. In short, Luther maintained that to have Christ in his divinity only was not to have Christ at all, since the Christ is always the Word made flesh (John 1:14). In order to account for Christ's simultaneous presence in both natures in heaven (see Ascension and Session) and at an indefinite number of geographically separate celebrations of the Eucharist on earth, however, his human nature had to share the omnipresence characteristic of the divine nature (see Attributes, Divine).
Though Luther sometimes referred to medieval Scholastic distinctions between various modes of presence to justify his claims, he preferred to defend his position by appeal to biblical texts rather than through metaphysical speculation. Later Lutheran theologians grounded the omnipresence of Christ's human nature in the Christological doctrine of the communication of attributes (communicatio idiomatum).
Balthasar, Hans Urs von Among the most influential Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–88) gave himself to the work of spiritual direction, translation, and publishing, founding and leading a religious community, and he produced a massive theological literature that, in many ways, is only explicable as the fruit of his spiritual life. His writings range from important studies of Origen, Gregory of Nyssa (see Cappadocian Fathers), and Maximus the Confessor, to analyses of the spiritual life as it unfolds in many different contexts (especially as it is revealed in the lives of the saints and mystical writers), to his great fifteen-volume trilogy in which theology unfolds according to three transcendentals of the beautiful (The Glory of the Lord), the good (Theo-Drama), and the true (Theo-Logic).
In each of these categories (in which he consciously inverts the order of Kant's critiques), Balthasar shows how the patterns of worldly being might become translucent to the consummate truth of their existence. A literary scholar by training, Balthasar often employed genealogies of cultural structures in order to portray their evolution and their transformation within the Gospel. Thus a central motif of his theology is the impression that the divine makes within the world, calling forth from the creatures a variety of finite expressions and echoes in which they are most themselves when they are also epiphanic of divine glory.
Gay and Lesbian Theology: see Queer Theology.
Gender: see Feminist Theology; Sexuality.
Gilson, Étienne Étienne Gilson (1884–1978) was a Parisian Thomist (see Thomism). Like C. Péguy (1873–1914) and J. Maritain (1882–1973), he listened spellbound to the lectures of philosopher H. Bergson (1859–1941) at the Collège de France. He simultaneously heard L. Lévy-Bruhl (1857–1939) lecture on D. Hume (1711–76). While Bergson attuned Gilson to metaphysical realism, Lévy-Bruhl inspired and trained him to be a historian of ideas. Gilson wrote his PhD under Lévy-Bruhl on R. Descartes (1596–1650). His first major works were on T. Aquinas (1919) and Bonaventure (1924). After founding the Institute for Mediaeval Studies in Toronto in 1929, Gilson taught half the year in Paris, as professor of medieval philosophy at the Collège de France, and half in Toronto.
Gilson made three principal contributions to twentieth-century theology. Neo-Scholastic ideology and the exigencies of Catholic apologetics had made Aquinas the theoretical standard by which to judge, and the historical model to which to assimilate, the other medieval thinkers (see Scholasticism). Gilson's first service to modern theology was as a historian. With his highly readable, text-based studies of Augustine, Bonaventure (1221–74), Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), P. Abelard (1079–1142), Dante (ca 1265–1321), J. Duns Scotus, and lesser lights, Gilson demonstrated the diversity of medieval Christian thinkers. Such historical research by a respected historian and Thomist laid the groundwork for the ressourcement movement of the 1950s.
Abba The biblical record indicates that abba, the Aramaic word for ‘father’, was the form of address used by Jesus for God (see, e.g., Matt. 11:25–6; 26:39, 42; Luke 23:34, 46; John 11:41; 12:27–8; 17:5, 11, 21, 24–5). This usage appears to have been regarded as significant enough that it is one of the few pieces of Aramaic that is preserved untranslated in the Gospels (Mark 14:36). Jesus commended the same form of address to his disciples (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2; cf. John 20:17), and, again, its significance was such that it appears to have been preserved even among Greek-speaking communities in its Aramaic form (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).
While scholars disagree over whether or not Jews customarily addressed God as ‘Father’ before Jesus' time (cf. Isa. 63:16; Jer. 3:19), there seems little question that Jesus' use of the term was regarded by his followers as distinctive. The canonical evangelists understand Jesus' use of ‘Father’ as correlative of his own status as ‘Son’ (Matt. 11:27; John 17:1; cf. Matt. 3:17; 17:5 and pars.). From this perspective, later developed explicitly in the doctrine of the Trinity, God's identity as ‘Father’ does not refer to a generic relationship between Creator and creature, but rather to a unique relationship with God's own co-eternal Word (John 1:1; see Logos), who, as ‘Son’, enjoys an intimacy with God that has no creaturely parallel (John 1:18).
Kairos Document The Kairos Document is a theological comment on the crisis in South Africa, originally published in 1985. Written by a group of theologians who were brought together by F. Chikane (b. 1951), later to become general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, the document arose from discussions among primarily Black Christians. They were eager to develop biblical and theological models that would inspire activism to end apartheid, the system of racial separation and subjugation that characterized South Africa until 1994, when the first democratic elections were held. The 1985 edition was signed by 151 Church leaders, theologians, and others, despite the country being under a partial state of emergency. It was revised slightly and reissued in 1986 at a time of a total state of emergency, but with thousands of Christians openly endorsing it.
The kairos is defined as ‘the moment of grace and opportunity, the favorable time in which God issues a challenge to decisive action’. The text critiques ‘state theology’, which defends the status quo, and ‘church theology,’ which cautiously criticizes apartheid. The document promotes instead a ‘prophetic theology’, which calls for action to confront ‘the evils of the time’ and announces ‘the salvation that we are hoping for’.
Many inside South Africa denounced the document. Some theologians in other parts of the world criticized the text as too millenarian and apocalyptic (see Premillennialism). Widely hailed as a turning point in theological debates within the country, however, the text inspired similar efforts across the world.
There is no shortage of Christian theological reference works in print. Moreover, the proliferation of web-based resources (most notably the increasingly comprehensive Wikipedia) means that basic information about even the most obscure theological terms is rarely more than a few mouse clicks away. Under these circumstances the production of yet another theological dictionary may seem unnecessary at best and reactionary at worst. Consequently, before embarking upon this project, we discussed at some length what possible justification there could be for The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology.
In part we were encouraged by our sister publication, Robert Audi's Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, which is widely recognized as having achieved remarkable compactness and accessibility without sacrificing accuracy or comprehensiveness. At the same time, we recognized that the extraordinarily pluriform character of contemporary Christian theology, including but also cutting across traditional confessional and juridical boundaries, raised particular challenges. Nevertheless, it seemed to us that there was a place – and, indeed, a need – for a single-volume reference work that was at once comprehensive in its coverage of topics, inclusive in the many perspectives of its contributors, and, most importantly, committed to a specifically theological examination of each topic considered. In short, we wanted a text that would exhibit what Hans Frei once referred to as a ‘generous orthodoxy’: coherent and capacious, but neither partisan nor blinkered.
In order to achieve these aims, we sought to enlist the services of a broad range of prominent theologians writing in English.
Magisterium Derived from the Latin word for ‘teacher’, ‘magisterium’ is a term in Catholic theology for the teaching office of the Church, rooted in Christ and transmitted through apostolic succession to all bishops in communion with the papacy. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, because its task is to preserve the faithful from error (§85) through authoritative interpretation of Scripture and tradition, the magisterium possesses the charism of infallibility with respect to matters of faith and morals (§890). Yet, because this charism can be exercised in different ways, a distinction is drawn between the supreme and the ordinary magisterium. The former is exercised when the pope, either by himself or together with the college of bishops, proclaims a doctrine ‘by a definitive act … for belief as being divinely revealed’ (Cat., §891; cf. §88). By contrast, the ordinary magisterium refers to the process by which bishops (and especially the pope) propose ‘a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation’ through less formal means like preaching or catechesis (Cat., §892).
It is Catholic teaching that the magisterium, while not itself a source of revelation, nevertheless forms a functional unity with Scripture and tradition, such that ‘one of them cannot stand without the others’ (Cat., §95). This claim that proper interpretation of Scripture requires a teaching office is a central point of disagreement between Catholics and the Churches of the Reformation.
Sabbatarianism ‘Sabbatarianism’ is a term used to refer to any conflation of Christian and Jewish practice with respect to the observance of a weekly day of rest. Historically, this takes two main forms: first, the belief that Christians should honour the Jewish sabbath (viz., Saturday) rather than Sunday as their weekly day of rest; second, a scrupulous observance of Sunday as a day of rest and worship to the exclusion of all other activity.
The former type of sabbatarianism was defended by some Transylvanian Socinians in the sixteenth century (see Socinianism) and some English and American Baptists from the seventeenth century; it is today most widely practised by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (see Adventism). Its proponents look both to the Ten Commandments, which explicitly name Saturday as the day of rest (Exod. 20:8–11; Deut. 5:12–15), and to Jesus' own practice of sabbath observance (e.g., Luke 4:16). Their opponents point out that Christian observance of Sunday, as the day of Jesus' resurrection, has been the normative practice of Christians from the earliest times, with clear roots in the NT (e.g., the reference to ‘the Lord's day’ in Rev. 1:10; Paul's designation of ‘the first day of the week’ for making offerings in 1 Cor. 16:2).
Scrupulous observance of the Sunday sabbath is historically associated with English-speaking Reformed Christianity, with its stress on the formal replacement of Saturday by Sunday as the divinely instituted sabbath – with all of its attendant obligations (see, e.g., WC 20.7).
Vatican Council I Called by Pope Pius IX (r. 1846–78) on 8 December 1869 by the bull Aeterni patris, Vatican I was the first Catholic council since Trent, and is counted by Catholics as the twentieth ecumenical council. It was the first attended by a significant number of bishops from outside Europe. Its agenda was initially broad, with extensive preparatory work producing fifty-one schemas (draft documents) for the council fathers to consider. However, the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 forced the proceedings to conclude – without officially closing – after only four sessions, the first of which was merely preparatory. In fact, only two schemas were considered, and, apart from the opening proclamation, only three documents produced.
In their deliberations, the council fathers tended to adhere to one of two perspectives. The majority were ultramontane, supporting the Roman Curia's assertion of the absolute authority of the pope and the Church's rejection of modernity in all its forms (see Ultramontanism). The minority, which included J. H. Newman and many German-speaking bishops, were more liberal. The first document, a profession of faith, stressed conformity and obedience to the Church's teachings as necessary for salvation. The third session produced the dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith, Dei filius, promulgated on 24 April 1870 as a papal bull. Here the council set out their understanding of the relation between faith and reason in response to the Enlightenment's questioning of the possibility of knowledge of God and the rationality of faith.
War: see Just War.
Weil, Simone Simone Weil (1909–43), born into a freethinking Jewish family in Paris, was one of the first women graduates of the École Normale Supérieure. Throughout her life she was attentive to society's marginalized. Her writing addressed a variety of topics, including Greek philosophy, K. Marx (1818–83), Christianity, the Bhagavad Gita, literature, science, mathematics, politics, and ethics. Like Marx, she sought to reconnect theory and praxis by developing a philosophy of work. This commitment shows in her activities: teaching, working for a year in a factory, supporting French labour organizations and the unemployed, attempting to fight in the Spanish Civil War and working with the French Resistance in London, where she died in 1943.
Locating herself on the border of all things Christian and non-Christian, Weil simultaneously criticized and embraced the religion. Her critique was levelled at institutionalized Christianity, the church, and its collusion with any form of empire (whether fourth-century Rome or twentieth-century France), that produced a theology that excluded any others – whether religions, beliefs, cultures, or ideas. Weil embraced a unique version of Christianity, emphasizing inclusion, contemplation, renunciation, and truth. She saw Christ as revelatory, but not unique: incarnation occurs before and after Jesus, from the beginning of creation when ‘the Word was with God’ (John 1:1). The import of Christ is his decreative, or renunciatory, stance. He gives up his life in order to (1) attend to the least among us, (2) criticize institutional power, and (3) reveal the supernatural use of suffering.
Painting, Theology and The juxtaposition of theology (literally, talk about God) and painting can be seen as a kind of mistake, since painting, by its very mode of expression, was rarely if ever intended to carry a specifically theological (i.e., propositional) message. Depiction of various kinds has roots in the prehistoric era and may be evidence of humankind's yearning for expression, creativity, and appreciation of beauty. Depiction is found in the catacombs at the beginning of Christianity, and it may be accepted that from the beginning Christians valued the concretization and illustration that forms of depiction offered.
Christianity is a faith which pays close attention to words and acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Word of God incarnate. Although this is to confess word become person (and, more specifically, a person in whom was revealed grace and truth), elements of Christianity have always struggled with an acknowledgement that human language cannot encompass God, and, correspondingly, with the question of how mystery, which makes space for the ineffable, may be preserved in human forms of expression. The apostle Paul regularly made use of paradox as a mode of indicating the utterly unanticipated path of God's salvation. How may paradox and ambiguity, over the centuries, when expressed verbally, not suffer a flattening? Or, given that Christianity is both didactic and prophetic of its nature, how may that didactic note avoid forms of closure which tend in a literalist direction?
Dalit Theology Dalits (literally meaning ‘broken’ or ‘crushed ones’) refer to the 180 to 200 million outcaste people in India. Cast out of human society and yet appropriated as slaves of the dominant Hindu caste communities, they were traditionally treated as untouchable and unapproachable because of their polluted status in the eyes of the Hindu caste communities. Even though the practice of untouchability was outlawed and a provision of reservation (affirmative action) was introduced through the Indian Constitution in 1950, Dalits continue to suffer under the cumulative effects of colossal economic marginalization and multi-layered social oppression brought on by the three millennia-old hierarchical, discriminatory, and comprehensive caste system.
In this historical context Dalit theology emerged in the 1980s as a liberation strand of Indian contextual thinking, reflecting upon the ongoing Christian mission of resisting oppression and advancing freedom, with special reference to the ‘broken people’. Dalit theology developed in dialogue with liberation theology in Latin America and Black theology in the USA. It also reflects a long history of Indian Christian attempts to inculturate the message of Christianity into the social, cultural, and historical contexts of South Asia (Inculturation). These theological currents aided in its oppositional stance towards forms of missionary and western theology that tended to be highly individualistic and calculatingly ahistorical.
Dalit theology correlates the ‘pain-pathos’ of those marginalized by the scars of untouchability with the hope of the Christian Gospel that encompasses and empowers them on a path towards overcoming the spirit of brokenness and celebrating the promise of new life in Jesus Christ.
James, William The psychologist and philosopher William James (1842–1910) is best known as a founder of the psychological–phenomenological study of individual religious experience and the philosophical tradition known as pragmatism. In theological studies, James is best known for his books The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). Following the publication of the former, James speculated that he should have titled it ‘the right to believe’. In it he rejected the widely accepted views of D. Hume (1711–76), I. Kant, and G. W. F. Hegel by choosing theism and the right or will to believe over absolutism, agnosticism, and determinism. James observed that for many persons religion is a ‘live option’ (defined as an unavoidable and significant choice, upon which a believer is willing to act) and defended the intellectual legitimacy of adopting a religious faith. In Varieties, he rejected objectivism and advocated a radically inclusive empiricism. He argued for the validity of sensory and religious experience and hypothesized that the human ‘subconscious’ functioned as a doorway between the ‘conscious self’ and ‘The More’ that, when open, allowed an individual to receive an experience of the ‘reality of the unseen’. For James, in both volumes, strict adherence to logical reason resulted in deterministic monistic systems, while reality – as it is shaped by free will – remains empirically pluralistic.
Oblation Derived from a Latin word for ‘offering’, ‘oblation’ has several meanings. In Catholic canon law it is used for anything given over to the use of the Church. In the more narrowly liturgical context of the mass, oblation refers to the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine, whether as brought in unconsecrated form to the altar during the offertory (the lesser oblation) or in their presentation after consecration (the greater oblation). Protestants generally restrict the use of oblation to the offertory, on the grounds that to designate the consecrated elements (in distinction from the unconsecrated bread and wine, as well as the monetary and other gifts brought forward in furtherance of the Church's ministry) as an oblation implies that in the celebration of the Eucharist the Church offers something to God rather than thankfully receiving what God offers it.
In the monastic context oblation refers to the medieval practice of dedicating children to religious life (cf. 1 Sam. 1:11, 22–8) by trusting them to the care of a monastery. Such children (known as oblates) were raised in the community until they were judged sufficiently mature to decide whether they wished to commit their lives to it by taking monastic vows. The reasons for dedicating children were varied, and often desperation (among the poor) and convenience or political calculation (among the rich) trumped religious motives.
Laity The Greek word laikos, from which the word ‘lay’ derives, does not occur in the Bible, although the noun laos, meaning ‘people’, is frequent, specifically designating the people of God as distinct from the Gentiles. Thus, the word laos properly refers to a sacred or consecrated people, distinct from a people who are not so consecrated. Several scholarly studies have shown that, although laikos is philologically related to laos, the use of the former term suggests that it refers to a further distinction within the people of God, according to which the laikos is opposed to the priest and Levite as one who is not consecrated for leadership in worship. In short, laikos designated a segment of the Christian population that were not leaders of the community and who exercised no cultic function. It referred to those who were not priests, deacons, or clerics.
Y. Congar (1904–95) argued that in 1 Peter the priestly themes and levitical ethic of the OT are carried over to the people of God as a whole (see, e.g., 1 Pet. 2:9). By contrast, Clement of Rome (fl. 95) is the first to contrast laikos to ‘priest’ (1Clem. 40:5), and uses the former term to refer to that part of the people which is neither priestly nor levitical; nevertheless, for him laikos refers to the non-priestly, non-levitical element among the holy people.
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