Divine Teaching - An Introduction to Christian Theology


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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part I Becoming a Theologian 1

1 How God Makes Theologians 3

Astonishment and Theological Virtue 3

Resurrection to Pentecost: Where Christian Theology Begins 7

But Can You Study Theology without Having to Believe? 13

2 Strange Calling: Theologians as Adventurers, Pirates, Mystics, and Sages 16

Adventure: Continuing Conversion of the Theologian 16

Piracy: Thinking Analogically 18

Mystical Life: Interpreting Reality in Terms of God 22

Wisdom: Thinking by Means of God’s Thoughts 27

3 Divine Teaching and Christian Beliefs 31

Theology’s Weakness and Wisdom’s Parting Gift 32

Sacred Teaching: The Nature and Function of Christian Beliefs 35

Visions of the Whole: Origen, Aquinas, and Barth 40

How Not to Believe: The Dangers of Fantasy and Fanaticism 46

Part II Theology’s Search for Understanding 55

4 Salvation: The Foundation of Christian Theology 57

Orientation 57

Why Start with Salvation? 57

Salvation as the Basis for Christian Theology 59

Identifying Different Approaches to the Mystery of Salvation 65

5 Salvation: Meeting Heaven Face to Face 79

Landmarks 79

Irenaeus: Salvation and New Creation 80

Brief Interlude: A Crucial Difficulty in Soteriology 86

Augustine and God’s Justice 87

Anselm and the Divine Order 91

Pathfinding 94

On the Death of Christ: Orthodox, Feminist, and Girardian Concerns 94

Salvation and the Paschal Mystery 99

6 Divine Life: Trinity, Incarnation, and the Breathing of the Spirit 111

Orientation 111

Sheer Bliss: Why God Reveals Divine Life to be the Trinity 111

Forgiveness and Abundance: Origins of Trinitarian Awareness 114

The Life of the Incarnate Word and the Power of the Spirit 117

The Developing Principles of Trinitarian Theology 119

Landmarks 138

Augustine on the Mysterious Attraction of the Trinity 139

Karl Barth on the God Who Loves in Freedom 159

Pathfinding 167

Questions in Trinitarian Theology Today 167

The Trinity and Mystical Participation in God 175

7 Creaturely Life: A Journey towards Beatitude 179

Orientation 179

Death No Longer Has Dominion: Creation’s Path in the Light of Easter 180

Creation – Revelation – Sacrament 188

Human Life – Ecclesial Life – Beatitude 199

Landmarks 204

Thomas Aquinas on Creation: “A Representation of the Divine Wisdom” 204

Blaise Pascal on Human Existence 210

Pathfinding 217

Two Disputed Questions 217

The Human Calling in Creation 222

Notes 229

Bibliography 241

Index 249

About the Author

Mark A. McIntosh is Professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at Loyola University, Chicago, where he has taught undergraduates and doctoral students for fifteen years. His publications include Christology from Within: Spirituality and the Incarnation in Hans Urs von Balthasar (1996), Mystical Theology: The Integrity of Spirituality and Theology (Blackwell, 1998), Mysteries of Faith (2000), and Discernment and Truth (2004). A priest in the Episcopal Church, he has served as canon theologian to the Presiding Bishop and Primate.


"There are so many strengths to the book, many of which I've tried to point out. Chief among them is that this book is all about how we might actually learn about God from God, in our inmost being, not as bits of true information, but as an abiding light that will illuminate all other seeing and knowing." (Theophiliacs, 8 July 2011) "Textbooks should only be written by genuine teachers who truly love their students. Mark McIntosh is clearly such a teacher." (Modern Theology, April 2010)"Astonishing in its combination of scope, acuity, and accessibility. In short, truly magisterial: this book is in all ways the product of a master theologian working at the top of his game." Charles T. Mathewes, University of Virginia "Mark McIntosh has earned a justifiable reputation for his deeply passionate and highly literate books on Christian theology. This work adds further proof that his excellent reputation is warranted. I can think of no better guide for anyone interested in how theologians go about their task as well as why that task is both a rigorous intellectual discipline and a liberating adventure of the heart." Lawrence S. Cunningham, University of Notre Dame "With its refreshingly original approach, this book offers an attractive and reliable introduction to newcomers to the subject as well as plenty to provoke old hands." Fergus Kerr, University of Edinburgh "To be commended for its refreshing approach and inclusive perspective, and should be a welcome read for theological novices as well as veterans." Anglican Theological Review

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