George Fox: Gerstenberger Lecture Notes 1

What does the plural mean?  "Theologies?"  There is no singular - that's false.  Unless we consider this "theology" we're looking for to be a construct of our own creation.

How do I know this?  Why do I talk about theologies of the Old Testament?  First of all, I was brought up in Germany and got to know the "German" way of thinking... in my time Karl Barth was the great hero.  In '59 when I left Germany for the first time, to stay at Yale, I all of the sudden felt that the American way of theology was quite different from the German way of thinking.  It was pastoral, focused on the church.  German theology was theoretical, philosophical... then I came to the Navajo reservation, and I found a different way, still, not only by the Navajo themselves, who are not only Christian, but by white people near them.  And then I went to Brazil, which was another way.

I conclude: THE Christian Theology does not exist... there are certain variations possible.  One Brazilian Bishop put it this way: the universal God speaks only dialect.  There is no universal language.

Theologies are different...

>>More After the Break...

When I studied, for decades, the Old Testament, I found that there were different ways the Old Testament was speaking about God.  We should not take our preconceived ideas about the Scriptures... there are different voices speaking.

This cannot be put into a systematic way. Systematic Theology is always a challenge for me.  I always doubt that systematized efforts are on the wrong side because it limits God.

In my book on theologies of the Old Testament I tried to make some sense of these various voices.  I found a sociological perspective helpful.  I found voices which come out of the realm of family groups...

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