Neither progress nor regress : The theological substructure of T. F. Torrance's genealogy of modern theology

Journal article


Sarisky, Darren. (2023). Neither progress nor regress : The theological substructure of T. F. Torrance's genealogy of modern theology. Modern Theology. 39(4), pp. 607-626. https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12854
AuthorsSarisky, Darren
Abstract

T. F. Torrance's corpus of historical and theological writings contains genealogical reflections on the field of Christian doctrine. The basic shape of the genealogy is determined by what Torrance calls certain “ultimates,” theological commitments that derive their justification not from other beliefs that possess more authority than they themselves do, but from the way in which they seek to depict God in himself and in his economic activity. Core ultimate beliefs include the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation, and the ascension and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These beliefs, more than the idealization of any particular stretch of past history, underlie all of Torrance's genealogical work, for instance, the subjects against which he develops sustained polemic; the overall structure of his genealogical account, which bears only a superficial resemblance to a decline narrative; and, most importantly, the point around which the genealogy revolves, namely, the epistemic reconciliation between human beings and God. This essay illustrates the nature of the genealogical narrative by outlining Torrance's treatment of Scripture and its interpretation and closes by assessing his effort as a whole. While the genealogy contains drawbacks that are worth registering, Torrance's narrative rightly avoids the sort of sweeping evaluative judgments associated with some often-discussed genealogies, and it properly places its focus on the perennial issue of divine-human reconciliation, which manifests itself differently in a variety of historical circumstances, even as it is not ultimately contingent upon them.

KeywordsTheology
Year2023
JournalModern Theology
Journal citation39 (4), pp. 607-626
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN0266-7177
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12854
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85150339580
Web address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/moth.12854
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range607-626
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 Mar 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Jun 2023
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© 2023 The Author. Modern Theology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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