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Transforming Fire

Imagining Christian Teaching

Transforming Fire

Imagining Christian Teaching

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Paperback / softback


Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
ISBN: 9780802879035
Number of Pages: 172
Published: 22/02/2021
Width: 14 cm
Height: 21.3 cm

“We don’t need books about teaching so much as books that teach.” 

Considering Jesus himself taught in a variety of ways—parable, discussion, miracle performance, ritual observance—it seems that there can be no single, definitive, Christian method of teaching. How then should Christian teaching happen, especially in this time of significant change to theological education as an institution? 

Mark Jordan addresses this question by first allowing various depictions and instances of Christian teaching from literature to speak for themselves before meditating on what these illustrative examples might mean for Christian pedagogy. Each textual scene he shares is juxtaposed with a contrasting scene to capture the pluralistic possibilities in the art of teaching a faith that is so often rooted in paradox. He exemplifies forms of teaching that operate beyond the boundaries of scholarly books and discursive lectures to disrupt the normative Western academic approach of treating theology as a body of knowledge to be transmitted merely through language. 

Transforming Fire consults writers ranging from Gregory of Nyssa to C. S. Lewis, and from John Bunyan to Octavia Butler, cutting across historical distance and boundaries of identity. Rather than offering solutions or systems, Jordan seeks in these texts new shelters for theological education where powerful teaching can happen and—even as traditional institutions shrink or vanish—the hearts of students can catch fire once again.

A Little Advice

1. Christian Traditions and Shapes of Teaching

2. Recognizing Scenes of Instruction

Part One: Bodies

3. Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Macrina

4. Marcella Althaus-Reid, Indecent Theology

5. Classrooms

Part Two: Sciences

6. Bonaventure, The Mind’s Path into God

7. Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be

8. Theology and the Limits of Knowing(ness)

Part Three: Moving Pictures

9. Teresa of Ávila, The Interior Castle

10. John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress

11. The Use and Abuse of Imagination

Part Four: Children

12. C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

13. Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

14. Education and Resistance

Part Five: Barriers

15. Johannes Climacus (with the Assistance of Søren Kierkegaard), Philosophical Crumbs

16. Simone Weil, Letters and Essays

17. Locked Gates

Conclusion: Finding or Making Shelter

Suggestions for Further Reading

Mark D Jordan

Mark D. Jordan is the R. R. Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of ten books, including Telling Truths in Church: Scandal, Flesh, and Christian Speech. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright- Hays Fellowship, and a Luce Fellowship in Theology.

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