God, History and the Incarnation
June 1-3, 2017 at the University of St Andrews
The incarnation is the focal event of the Christian faith: that the eternal Son ‘became flesh’ as Jesus of Nazareth. As such it constitutes unequivocal endorsement of God’s involvement in human history. Such divine engagement within space-time is widely recognised as a necessary condition not only of the Bible’s possessing theological significance but also of the existence of the church.
This, however, raises exegetical, conceptual, epistemological and methodological questions. There are exegetical questions relating to the nature and interpretation of the relevant biblical claims, theological and, indeed, conceptual questions about the nature of God and epistemological claims about the conditions under which God’s involvement in history may be recognised. Still further, the topic raises methodological questions about academic biblical scholarship. Should God’s involvement in the relevant historical events be assumed? Does it first require to be demonstrated and, if so, how? Or should it be bracketed out of academic, biblical scholarship? The perceived ambiguities and resulting uncertainties have, at times, led to a strained relationship between biblical scholarship and theology and there are examples in both fields of strategies that diminish the significance for the theological enterprise of God’s presence and activity in history.
Logos 2017 will bring biblical scholars, theologians, and analytic philosophers into constructive, interdisciplinary dialogue over the exegetical, theological and philosophical challenges and implications of affirming God’s participation in human history.