Religion 351

Contemporary Theology
or God and the Modern Mind

Fall 2000

Tues. and Thurs. 11:00pm to 12:50pm
322 Chapman Hall

Office Hours: MW 10-11am
Tues. & Thurs. 2:30-3:30pm


David R. Bains
Religion and Philosophy
319 Chapman Hall
phone: 726-2879

Course Description:

This course examines major developments in history of Christian theology since the Enlightenment along with important contemporary issues. The course will briefly survey eighteenth- and nineteenth-century developments and then devote sustained attention to twentieth-century theology beginning with Karl Barth. Theological movements examined include neo-orthodoxy, liberation theology, feminist theology, post-liberal theology, evangelical theology, and the "open view of God."

Students will:

Required Textbooks (available at the Samford University Bookstore):

  1. Grenz, Stanley J., and Roger E. Olson. Twentieth-Century Theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8308-1525-2
  2. Braaten, Carl E., and Robert W. Jenson, eds. A Map of Twentieth-Century Theology: Readings from Karl Barth to Radical Pluralism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8006-2686-9
  3. Gutierrez, Gustavo. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation. Revised ed. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1988. ISBN 0-88344-542-5
  4. Ruether, Rosemary Radford. Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology. Boston: Fortress Press, 1983. ISBN 0-8070-1205-X
  5. Lindbeck, George A. The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1984. ISBN 0-664-24618-4
  6. Pinnock, Clark, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger. The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8308-1852-9


Classes with be conducted in a lecture / discussion format. Generally each class will begin with a discussion of the assigned readings for the day and end with a lecture introducing the next set of readings. Students should always come to class having done the reading and prepared to discuss them.

Twice during the semester students are responsible for leading classroom discussion. You should prepare for this by coming to class with "good questions" that will lead to careful analysis of the readings and their implications. You are in charge of moderating the discussion. Do not expect the professor to clarify issues or participate until the discussion is well underway. Creative exercises are encouraged. Discussion leading and your general participation in class is worth 25% of the final grade.

Theological Research Essay. Eight to ten pages on a theologian, theological issue, or school of thought discussed in the course. This paper should be supported by reading in addition to that assigned in the syllabus. It may take the form either of critique and evaluation or of historical analysis. Due Nov. 17. 15% of final grade.

Mid term and final exam 40% Both will be take home. The final exam will be due on Dec. 13 at 12 noon.

Other essays and assignments–20%

Attendance and Grading / Department of Religion and Philosophy:

The attendance policy of the Department of Religion and Philosophy will be enforced.

Roll will be taken each day. In a TR class a student may miss four classes without penalty. After the fifth absence your final grade will be reduced one letter grade. After the sixth absence the student will receive an FA for the course.

Three tardies count as one absence. If you come in after your name is called, you will need to notify your professor at the end of the class period, or else the tardy will become an absence

A = 95-100%

C+ = 78-81%

A- = 92-94%

C = 74-77%

B+ = 88-91%

C- = 70-73%

B = 85-87%

D+ = 66-69%

B- = 82-84%

D = 62-65%

D- = 60-62%

Papers that are turned in after the set due date will be penalized one full letter grade for each week that they are late. Any extensions to the final exam will result in an incomplete.

Students with learning disabilities who seek accommodations must make their request through the Advisor for Students with Disabilities located in Counseling Services on the lower level of Pittman Hall, or calling 726-4078 or 726-2105. A faculty member will only grant reasonable accommodations upon notification from the Advisor for Students with Disabilities. Samford University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to observe high standards of intellectual integrity. (See page 96 in the Student Handbook.) While study groups are only not permitted but encouraged, all work submitted in this class must be your own. Suspected lapses in academic integrity will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the university's values policy.

In all essays and papers you must follow a recognized system for citation of quotes and ideas. Since religion is an interdisciplinary field you may follow whatever system you prefer (e.g., MLA, Chicago, etc.)

(Remember--it is good to read ahead!)

Aug. 29 Introduction

Aug. 31 Varieties of Enlightenment Theology
Immanuel Kant, Religion within the boundaries of mere reason (1793), pp 129-153 in Religion and Rational Theology ed. and trans. Allen W. Wood and George Di Giovanni (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996) (Handout)
Charles Hodge, Introduction to Systematic Theology (1871), pp. 117-131 in The Princeton Theology: 1812-1921 ed. Mark A. Noll (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983). (Handout)
Grenz and Olson, 9-31

Sept. 5 Schleiermacher and the Liberal Tradition
Braaten and Jenson, ix-x, 1-12
Friedrich Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith (1830), pp. 1-18, 377-398, 417-424 ed. H.R. Mackintosh and J.S. Stewart (New York: Harper and Row, 1963) (Handout)
Grenz and Olson, 31-51

Sept. 7 Developments in the Liberal Tradition
Harnack, What is Christianity? (1900) trans. Thomas Bailey Saunders, pp. 6-18, 51-78, 146-151 (New York: Harper and Row, 1957).
Walter Rauschenbusch, "Theology and the Social Gospel," in B&J, 352-353, 357-361
Grenz and Olson 51-62

Sept. 12 Karl Barth and Neo-Orthodoxy
Barth, "The Strange New World within the Bible," in B&J, 15-18, 21-31
Barth, "The Epistle to the Romans," in B&J, 39-50
Grenz and Olson, 63-77

Sept. 14 Barthian Dogmatics
Barth, "Church Dogmatics," in B&J 62-64, 65-79
Barth, "The Doctrine of the Trinity," in B&J 179-190
Paul Tillich, "Systematic Theology," in B&J 80-93

Sept. 19 Other Neo-Orthodoxies I
Rudolf Bultmann, "The Question of the ‘Dialectical’ Theology," in B&J, 50-54
Emil Brunner, "Nature and Grace," in B&J, 54-61
William Temple, "The Person of Christ," in B&J, 251-252, 268-275
Grenz and Olson, 77-99

Sept. 21 Other Neo-Orthodoxies II
Tillich, "Systematic Theology," in B&J, 80-93 (review)
Reinhold Niebuhr, "Human Nature and Politics," in B&J, 367-376
H. Richard Niebuhr, "Revelation and Radical Monotheism," in B&J, 361-367
Other American selection TBA
Grenz and Olson, 99-130

Sept. 26 Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Secular Theology
Bonhoeffer, in B&J, 94-107
John A.T. Robinson, Honest to God, pp. 45-50, 64-83 (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963). (handout)
Grenz and Olson, 145-156 (156-169)

Sept. 28 Roman Catholic Theology and the Second Vatican Council
selections from Conciliar Documents
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Ch1,2,4,7
Pastoral Constitution on the Church and the Modern World, Part I
For complete texts of these and other Conciliar documents see
or Documents of Vatican II BX830 1962 A3 F55 1975 or BX830 1962 A3 G3 1982

Oct. 3 Karl Rahner
Rahner, "Knowledge of God," in B&J, 276-281, 289-299
Rahner, "The Trinity," in B&J, 190-196
Grenz and Olson, 237-254

Oct. 5 Eschatological Theology
Wolfhart Pannenberg, "Revelation as History," 147-160
Jürgen Moltmann, "Theology of Hope," 160-168
Grenz and Olson, 170-199

Oct. 10 Eschatological Theology (continued)
Johannes Metz, "The Church and the World in the Light of ‘Political Theology,’" 168-178
(other readings continued)

Oct. 12 Liberation Theology
Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation, 1-25, 81-105
Grenz and Olson, 210-224


Oct. 19 Liberation Theology: Theology in History and Politics
Guitérrez, 106-140

Oct. 24 Liberation Theology: Church and Poverty
Guitérrez, 141-175

Oct. 26 African American Theologies of Liberation
Selection from Black Theology, TBA
Grenz and Olson, 200-210

Oct. 31 Feminist Theology
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sexism and God Talk, 1-71
Grenz and Olson, 224-236

Nov. 2 Feminist Theology
Ruether, 72-92, 139-158

Nov. 7 Feminist Theology
Ruether, 193-213, 235-258

Nov. 9 Theology of Religions
Tillich, Kraemer, and Rahner in B&J, 209-246

Nov. 14 Post-Liberal / Narrative
Lindbeck, Nature of Doctrine, 7-45

Nov. 16 Post-Liberal / Narrative
Lindbeck,, 46-90

Nov. 21 Narrative
Lindbeck, 91-138


Nov. 28 Process Theology / Open View of God
Whitehead and Hartshorne, 340-351
Pinnock, 7-58

Nov. 30 Open View of God
Pinnock, 59-100

Dec. 5 Open View of God
Pinnock, 101-154

Dec. 7 Open View of God
Pinnock, 155-176

Dec. 13 Final Exam due 3pm Religion Office, Chapman 217