This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on the appropriate approach to and method for historical theology.
What does a methodology invested in both history and theology look like? First, this perspective suggests an examination of the past for the sake of the future. This means conceiving of historical theology as a tool box for investigating, understanding, and applying the points of connection between history, Biblical exegesis, and the traditions of the Church. Christian dogma cannot be justified by tradition, history, exegesis, or experience alone; instead, all these forces should converge to support the great mission of the Great Church. Second, this method suggests that historical theology must become engaged with ecumenical concerns, not disregarding the boundaries of historic and current theological differences, but transcending those discussions for the sake of common causes. In particular, historical theology which affirms a dialectical interpretation of change may help differentiate between theological difference and theological error, allowing for divergences between Christian bodies to be understood as complimentary rather than contradictory. Similarly, a historical theology rooted in history and theology has value for interreligious dialogue. For example, the theological similarities between Augustine and the Advaita Vedanta philosopher Ramanuja offers rich opportunities for Hindu-Christian dialogue on conceptions of God and reality. Continue reading