The Right Place of the Intellect: What is the Nous?
***Note to Reader:
I have chosen the sub-title that I have for this thread with the hope that it might take a turn in this direction one day.
admin Wrote:I've been thinking about the right place of the intellect in theology and spirituality. And I don't have answers, but I do have questions. :-)
How do we preserve our theology from being a sterile intellectualism? There must be some element of contemplation which has not been a conspicuous feature of the Western practice of theologising as I was introduced to it.
In some phone conversations with a Coptic friend thinking and talking about the fact that 'One of the Holy Trinity was crucified' it seems to me that I just about made a beginning in making this thought the basis of contemplation rather than an intellectual proposition.
Does anyone have any pointers for reading on a more spiritual way of doing theology? Both in the Fathers and from modern writers.
Dear Peter, Dear All,
Peter, while reading your post this morning my mind was at once taken to a series of lectures delivered by Karl Barth on his only visit to the United States. He delivered a series of twelve lectures which were incorporated into a book with some additional chapters titled, "Evangelical Theology: An Introduction."
These lectures were given at the end of his life, five years before he died. The sub-title is somewhat comical to me, although I'm sure deemed most appropriate by Barth himself. But, this collection of essays speaks directly to our question, especially the last section part IV, "Theological Work". As John has replied to your post above in the other thread:
Quote:I suspect there are more questions than answers here; but one way I find useful is to read St. Isaac of Nineveh, whose writings do make one turn back to prayer, and whose comments always make me mindful of the love of God.
As John emphasizes "prayer" and "love" Barth addresses, in part IV,,four subsections: Prayer; Study; Service; and Love in a way that speaks directly to our question. Especially this last section I wish you could read if you haven't already. In fact, if I was in a better position financially this time of the year, I would send you a copy of this book. I guess I could rip this section out of my book and mail it to you, but that's not going to happen!
But, as we might consider the right place of the intellect, Barth provides a most heavenly balance from one who has dedicated his entire life to being a student of theology. In his section on study (which follows his section on prayer) for example, he says:
Quote:Theological work can be done only in the indissoluble unity of prayer and study. Prayer without study would be empty. Study without prayer would be blind.
But, this section on study needs to be read in full to really appreciate it. And, this section on study needs to be read after his section on prayer, and taken as a whole with what he is saying in part IV as a whole to possibly receive a full answer.
So in case you still need to suggest a Christmas present to someone, possibly you can keep this book by Eerdmans in mind. And, otherwise this thread is initiated because our question speaks to all genuine Christian Theology/Spirituality regardless of the adjective that is placed before the word "Theology."