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God Our Teacher and the Teaching of Theology:
Learning from Premodern Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1-4.

HARRIS, STEVE,EDWARD (2015) God Our Teacher and the Teaching of Theology:
Learning from Premodern Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1-4.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The doctrine of divine pedagogy, regarding how God teaches humanity about himself, has suffered neglect in modern theology. Particularly in Protestant theology, its social form, in which certain human beings are used by God to teach others, was foreshortened. Thus, its traditional explanatory function in relation to how one comes to know God through the teaching and learning of theology faded. Recently, some attempts have been made to recover the doctrine in this relation and in its full scope, notably by John Webster. This thesis adds to efforts to reassemble the doctrine by identifying a remaining gap in recent explications, namely, human teachers of theology as agents of God’s teaching, and sets out to give a theological account of their role. In this way it seeks to restore a social view of the economy of the divine pedagogy.

To do this, it turns to 1 Corinthians 1-4, and premodern commentary thereupon. It finds there is an ‘economic’ pattern to Paul’s understanding of how God brings people to know him in these chapters, as read by premodern commentators, and develops an analytic schema of five elements by which to diagnose the fullness or the paucity of a doctrine of divine pedagogy. These are: (i) God, the divine teacher; (ii) the history of this teaching; (iii) wisdom as the object taught; (iv) human students and, finally, (v) human teachers. Structuring premodern comments on 1 Corinthians 1-4 around these five elements, it draws out an expansive account of the economy of divine teaching. In concluding, it suggests some areas for further exploration and discusses the significance of the ‘economic’ form of the doctrine for contemporary theology and theological self-understanding.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:divine pedagogy; divine economy; theological pedagogy; 1 Corinthians 1-4; history of exegesis
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Mar 2015 08:52

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