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Modules and their theological bent


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#1 John C.

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:31 PM

Ok, so I have been using accordance pretty casually over the years but I now have a new year's resolution to truly dig into this great tool and the content I have purchased. One thing that would truly help me is to understand some of the basic theological leanings of some of the authors and a bit of knowledge on each tool's "relative value".

For instance, could there be map of some sort or a timeline that places all the texts and tools along a timeline denoting their place along Protestant and catholic histories? It could note some basics about core theological leanings. These two pieces of information would be invaluable for aiding in serious study.

( Let me say here that I am a true layman; I do not have a formal seminary degree and so I don't have a formal education about some of these writers/commentators. Personally, I am interested to make sure that on a given research topic that I do not wander too far down a non-reformed path and I am sure the Catholics and other traditions represented in the user base would feel the same way. I thoroughly enjoy reading the thoughts and perspectives of a variety of traditions, I just dont know, whithout web research, where an author stands. Additionally, I am interested in the history of how theological concepts have developed over time and this would be excellent for understanding that context, at least at the macro level.)

For reference text I find I am frustrated not knowing for instance which is the best dictionary, etc. so that I know which one to default/have first in my list for amplifying. I could use publishing date but I suspect that is a bit simplistic as newer doesn't always mean better.

Thoughts?

#2 JonathanHuber

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 12:38 AM

I have found that one of the best ways to better know your resources is simply to use them. Read the introductory material in each reference work to become more familiar with the structure of the work and the authors' purpose in writing it. Use a couple of similar tools (like Bible dictionaries) and compare their entries for a given topic you want to study. It takes a little more time than simply having someone tell you which tool to use, but you'll better understand the strengths of each one and that will pay off down the road.

You might also enjoy the Accordance podcasts by Dr. J, available in iTunes. There are several episodes where he discusses particular reference works or where he compares and contrasts different commentaries, bible dictionaries, etc.

#3 Robert N

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

I would like to add my name to John's request. I would like to be able to place the author and his work and his location on a timeline. Authors are people and they are influenced by their culture. I would also like to avoid making purchases without this knowledge. Accordance does give some info on some commentaries as to whether they are predominately from an evangelical or conservative or moderate or liberal or mixed school of thought and I find this useful. I recently tried to do a search in the Library search window and thought it would be nice to be able to search by a type like Commentary because some of the commentaries do not have the word commentary in their title.

I would find the fulfillment of John's request useful and beneficial.

#4 Fr. Rich

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:19 PM

As I have thought about this I have become convinced that it may not be such a good idea. I'm pretty sure that some materials that I would label "orthodox," might not seem so to others. I think that Jonathon Huber has a good approach. Also, by reading the many articles about resources and modules in the "Buzz" section of the web page can provide a great deal of information about given modules.
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#5 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

Indeed, a work's theological leaning is mostly a matter of perspective, whether historical, social, political, or geographical. I understand the request, but for the Accordance folks to do this would be problematic.

For commentaries, a useful starting point for some Accordance users (or any commentary readers) might be Tremper Longman's OT Commentary Survey:

http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0801031230


Scroll down in the Amazon page for a link to D. A. Carson's NT commentary survey and other similar resources.
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#6 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:49 PM

Hi, Everyone!

Actually, we have been kicking around the idea of combining some of our offerings into unofficial Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed," Wesleyan, Pentecostal, etc. categories. The trouble is, as some of you have already pointed out, many of these works are not so easy to categorize. That's particularly true of commentary series and multi-volume dictionaries, where multiple authors have contributed.

Fortunately there is an excellent source, which will soon be available in Accordance. It is the IVP Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters. It contains bios, perspectives, theological biases, and other information on individual authors.

All that said, let me encourage those of you who read this post to read outside of your "theological comfort zone." There is only just so much that can be learned when reading someone who always agrees with you. In fact, one of my profs encouraged his students to buy commentaries in pairs—and to make sure they disagreed with each other. He believed that the truth would be found in the dialog between them. At this point in my life, I rarely read a book I agree with 100% of the time, even if I have written the book! ;-)
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#7 Greg Terry

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

Excellent advice, Dr. J.
Peace!

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#8 Fr. Rusty Matheny

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:26 AM

As a side note: It is sad and, shouldn't I say-sinful, that we even have to have this type of conversation/questions.
I understand "it is what it is".
But the Lord never wanted Christianity, His body, His Church, His Kingdom- To be so divided , to have so many "different teachings".
There is in fact only One Truth, Not many.
The fact so many different ones are claimed is a testimony to our failures.

Other than that, Dr. J has good advice.
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#9 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

Hi, Fr. Rusty!

Ya' know, I have been thinking about that, just recently. It occurs to me that there has never been a single "orthodox" tradition, even from the very beginning. The religion of ancient Israel was actually at least three religions: the temple and its priestly services, the prophet community (who varied within that community), and the "folk religion" of those who were not religious specialists. We can even double that number, once the North and South split.

Later, in Judaism proper, we have Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Gnostics, and the various Messianic groups. Then, within Christianity, we have at least the Johanine community, and the Petrine and Pauline traditions.

I've been wondering if there isn't something positive to be said about preserving these various streams intact, but in dialogue with each other. I agree there should not be as much hostility between groups, but am wondering if God never intended that any one tradition have ALL the truth. We certainly serve to balance out one another's extremes!

Just a thought, this evening...
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#10 Michael J. Bolesta

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:26 AM

I have been thinking about that, just recently. It occurs to me that there has never been a single "orthodox" tradition, even from the very beginning.


Well written Dr. J! One can easily extend your thoughts into the post apostolic period. Patristic theologians varied among themselves: Antioch and Alexandria, East and West even before the Great Schism. In the West diversity can be seen prior to the disputation spawned at the Wittenburg door. After that... the rest is history. Our elder sisters and brothers, the Jews, have also diverged among themselves as well.


I've been wondering if there isn't something positive to be said about preserving these various streams intact, but in dialogue with each other.


Amen. Even those within a given stream do not agree totally at every point. Being willing to engage in charity with those with whom we disagree is a gift of the Spirit, and enables all to enter more deeply into the mystery of God.

Edited by Michael J. Bolesta, 13 April 2012 - 07:27 AM.

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#11 Fr. Rusty

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:05 PM

Perhaps another perspective?
The Lord was not happy with the division within Israel.
Perhaps the Lord is not happy with the division today.

I find it difficult to consider using the fracturing in the past as an example for justifying the fracturing of today.
These types of examples ( to me at least ) cause great difficulties and do not cause us to work harder towards healing these fractures.
To say: Well, it's been this way, or we have always done it this way or, everyone is doing it- only leads to greater problems in most cases.

My point in relation to this thread was that Dr. J suggestion was a good one and, that it's a shame people have to ask what "type" of Christian work to read.

One needs to look for The Truth, search for it will all of their being. Jesus is The Way, the Truth and The Life ( John 14:6 ), therefore, Proper Christology is important. I was just commenting on how sad it is that within Christianity ( Post modern relativism ) it is so hard for people to know where to find good materials that can be trusted.

It should not be so.
Many of todays issues ( most really ) have already been dealt with through the Seven Ecumenical Counsels, yet, History repeats itself and Heresies, keep finding new places to live.

Modules across denominational lines ( Theological Dictionaries/Lexical aids, Commentaries, History etc. ) will help one avoid many pitfalls.

#12 Helen Brown

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

This is getting dangerously close to crossing the line into a theological discussion which is against our forum guidelines. Please lets all steer clear of that line, or we'll need to close the topic.

After all, knowing the theological bent of a work may be helpful whether one wants to only read one point of view, or many. It's just not easy to categorize many of our modules, and we really prefer not to label them.
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#13 Fr. Rusty

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:49 PM

Oops, Sorry Helen and all.

#14 John C.

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:06 AM

All, thank you for your thoughts. I generally agree with all that has been said. I will say that I am not opposed to reading other's views and I enjoy doing so. As Helen pointed out this type of reference would in fact be useful if you wanted to stick to one tradition or study across them. I understand the technical difficulty of this excercise too.

As a personal note, I grew up in one tradition, and after much seeking of the truth, I have moved towards another. Because of my experience in this 'transition' I am acutely aware how easy it is for extra-biblical sources to influence one's thought processes. Having this kind of reference would help me stay the course, as it were. I understand too the value of doing the research myself, which, since my original post, I have started.

All that being said, it would be nice if the iOS app allowed you to create user defined module groupings. That way I could group like minded authors together after I have researched them.

#15 Julie Falling

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:30 AM

Hey, all -

Interesting discussion. It made me recall again what a very wise Sunday school teacher had said:

1 - Only God Himself really has the correct theology - the rest of us are on a journey to discover it through the reading of His word. (I might add that I don't think we're going to get there this side of heaven.)

2 - In interpreting Scripture, always preserve the attributes of God.

(He also said, "I am convinced of this - there is a God, and I'm not Him.")

While none of these maxims will resolve some of the things that divide us, it does help to keep me to keep my focus and theology God-centered instead of man-centered. I have become convinced that I am not going to be able to change anyone's mind, that that is the work of the Spirit, and I'm not Him! I rejoice in the discovery process, in His generosity and graciousness in revealing Himself to us. As we each pursue His truth, I want to see Him get the glory for it all.

John - I was not raised in any tradition at all, but came to Christ as a young adult. I was taught from one perspective, and through the reading of the Scripture first, and contrasting teaching later, moved to another. I don't regret any part of the process. It has been both spiritually and intellectually healthy.

(That said, I, too, would like to have folders in the iOS app on my iPad. I have grouped resources by perspective after some research on my Mac. It's nice to be able to rearrange as I learn more.)

I'm not a theologian or an academic, just a serious student of the Scriptures.

Jonathan &amp; Dr J - very useful advice. I'm going to put it to use. But, Dr J, I can't go too far afield or I'll start talking back to my computer! I usually read thinking, or saying, Amen! or What? Are you crazy? But either way, I am made to think and examine. I can't go wrong there even if it's a bit scary at times.

Julie

Edited by Julie Falling, 02 August 2012 - 06:57 AM.

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