I am reading through the essays on the so-called analytic theology in the new issue of the JAAR (18.3). I have seen the fellowship announcements, sessions, and some publications in this new, seemingly emerging field.
I am curious: Is it just that many of us are unfamiliar with analytic philosophy or that we just find its resources and methodologies to be uninteresting or unimportant to our questions and discourses?
And: Why let these divisions, which unfortunately plague the discipline of philosophy, and introduce them into theology, a field already deeply guilded and specialized? (It’s interesting that the journal Faith & Philosophy is invoked in these articles, which is a journal attached to an organization that at least used to be rather unfriendly to continental philosophy folks.) There are examples of great theologians who engage analytic theology — Paul Van Buren and Robert Corrington come to mind–in non-exclusive ways.
Is this just not something to work toward, or are the differences in directions of our theological work just too set in our ways? Or is it possible that for the mainstream of theology as a whole, the ship has already sailed for analytic philosophy? Or is it that analytic theology is deemed safer in evangelical and bible college circles for those who wish to do theology, inasmuch as this is possible, in these contexts? (This was actually my impression of the Society of Christian Philosophers, who published Faith & Philosophy, when I gave a paper at one of their conferences years ago–the whole philosophy department from Moody showed up. They also heckled my paper on Heidegger, asking, “Why are we talking about Heidegger and Rahner at a Christian philosophers conference?”)
I am curious what your thoughts are.