The influence of Lindbeck’s doctrinal concern on two subsequent theological studies on doctrine

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The statement of the problem

The contemporary Lutheran theologian George A. Lindbeck (born 1923) 1 has generally been known both as a founder of the Yale school and an advocate of postliberal theology or narrative theology. Recent studies in the twenty-first century, however, show that various attempts have been and are being made to reinterpret Lindbeck beyond the existing interpretations of him. Among them are the following studies: a study of Lindbeck from the viewpoint of the philosophy of religion, as is presented in Beverley Clack and Brian R. Clack (2008) and Victoria S. Harrison (2006); a study of Lindbeck in terms of religious pluralism, as is presented in George R. Sumner (2004); a study of Lindbeck in terms of religious epistemology, as is presented in James E. White (2006), Steven B. Sherman (2008), and Robert C. Neville (2009); a study of Lindbeck from the viewpoint of religious realism, as is presented in Robert A. Cathey (2009) and Adonis Vidu (2004); a study of Lindbeck from the viewpoint of the relation between George Lindbeck and Karl Barth, as is presented in Thomas J.

The purpose of study

This dissertation will first attempt to substantiate the hypothesis that Lindbeck’s ultimate concern is an ecclesiastical one. It will examine the validity of the view that his ultimate concern is a doctrinal one6, and then substantiate the hypothesis by internal and external evidences. Internal evidence indicates that throughout Lindbeck’s life, an ecclesiastical concern has been developing and actively working. External evidence implies that an ecclesiastical concern is at the core of postliberalism and the Yale school in which Lindbeck has been involved.

The limitation of study

Lindbeck never published any systematic doctrinal work related to ecclesiology. Doyle (2005:157) comments on the collection of Lindbeck’s essays (2002) that it surveys his theological thoughts from an ecumenical and ecclesiological perspective, but it is not a systematic work on the doctrine of church. This dissertation will focus on the characteristics of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology which are presented in his works, especially in his book (2002).

Method: literature study

This dissertation aims at viewing and assessing Lindbeck’s theology from a Reformed perspective. Recent studies suggest that various interpretations of Lindbeck’s thoughts might be possible. To better understand his work, the hermeneutical core of his theology has to be discovered. This dissertation proposes the hypothesis that the hermeneutical core is an ecclesiastical concern. An ecclesiastical concern will be substantiated as the ultimate concern in his life and thoughts. This is the starting point of this dissertation. It will examine the characteristics of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology and evaluate them from a Reformed perspective. To this goal, Reformed ecumenicity will be defined. Ethical implications of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology will be explored and assessed from the Reformed perspective. The main methods of this dissertation will be, firstly, to discover the hermeneutical key to understanding the object of study, and then to assess the object of study from the chosen perspective. The present study will be a literature study in which it will focus on books, articles, and theses as its primary or secondary sources.

ABSTRACT
Chapter 1. Introduction
1.1 The statement of the problem
1.2 The purpose of study
1.3 The limitation of study
1.4 Method: literature study
1.5 A preview of each chapter
Chapter 2. A Survey of Recent Studies on Lindbeck
2.1 A survey of recent studies on Lindbeck
2.1.1 In the light of the philosophy of religion
2.1.2 In the light of religious pluralism
2.1.3 In the light of religious epistemology
2.1.4 In the light of religious realism
2.1.5 In the light of the relation between George A. Lindbeck and Karl Barth, especially in terms of intratextuality
2.1.6 In the light of pragmatism
2.1.7 In the light of public ethics
2.2 An evaluation of recent studies on Lindbeck
Chapter 3. A Quest for the Hermeneutical Core of Lindbeck’s Theology (1): an Examination of Lindbeck’s Doctrinal Concern
3.1 The hypothesis
3.2 Substantiating the hypothesis
3.3 An examination and evaluation of a possible rival to Lindbeck’s ecclesiastical concern
3.3.1 A description of Lindbeck’s doctrinal concern
3.3.1.1 A significant feature of Lindbeck’s doctrinal concern: the inseparableness of a doctrinal concern from a religious concern
3.3.1.2 A sketch of Lindbeck’s view of doctrine
3.3.2 The influence of Lindbeck’s doctrinal concern on two subsequent theological studies on doctrine
3.3.2.1 The influence of Lindbeck on McGrath (1990)
3.3.2.1.1 An analysis of McGrath (1990)
3.3.2.1.1.1 The structure and the theological significances of McGrath (1990)
3.3.2.1.1.2 McGrath’s primary concern which is found in The Genesise of Doctrine
3.3.2.1.1.3 McGrath’s view of doctrine which is expressed in The Genesis of Doctrine
3.3.2.1.2 McGrath’s assessment of Lindbeck’s view of doctrine
3.3.2.2 The influences of Lindbeck on Vanhoozer (2005)
3.3.2.2.1 An analysis of Vanhoozer (2005)
3.3.2.2.1.1 The significance of Vanhoozer (2005): a postconservative canonical-linguistic attempt to overcome Lindbeck (1984)
3.3.2.2.1.2 Vanhoozer’s view of doctrine which is found in The Dr of Doctrine
3.3.2.2.2 Vanhoozer’s assessment of Lindbeck’s view of doctrine
3.3.3 An assessment of the attempt to consider Lindbeck’s doctrinal concern as
the hermeneutical core of his theology
Chapter 4. A Quest for the Hermeneutical Core of Lindbeck’s Theology (2): an Examination of Lindbeck’s Ecclesiastical Concern
4.1 Internal evidence
4.1.1 The first period: preparation for an ecumenical journey
4.1.1.1 His childhood in China: an experience of interdenominationalism
4.1.1.2 His college time in U.S.: his interest in Roman Catholicism
4.1.2 The second period: his ecumenical journey in Paris
4.1.3 The third period: his ecumenical journey in Rome
4.1.3.1 The preconciliar stage of this period
4.1.3.2 The Second Vatican Council
4.1.3.3 The postconciliar stage of this period
4.1.4 A conclusion from internal evidence
4.2 External evidence
4.2.1 An ecclesiastical concern as a common agenda of theologians relating to Lindbeck
4.2.1.1 An ecclesiastical concern of theologians who had an influence on Lindbeck
4.2.1.1.1 Hans W. Frei and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.1.2 Paul L. Holmer and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.1.3 David H. Kelsey and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2 An ecclesiastical concern of Yale-trained postliberal theologians
4.2.1.2.1 James J. Buckley and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.2 Joseph A. DiNoia, O.P. and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.3 Garrett Green and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.4 Stanley Hauerwas and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.5 George Hunsinger and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.6 Bruce D. Marshall and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.7 William C. Placher and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.8 George W. Stroup and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.9 Ronald F. Thiemann and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.1.2.10 David S. Yeago and his ecclesiastical concern
4 2.1.2.11 David B. Burrell, C.S.C. and his ecclesiastical concern
4.2.2 A conclusion from external evidence
4.3 A conclusion
Chapter 5. A Reformed Assessment of Lindbeck’s Ecclesiology and Its Ethical Implications
5.1 An analysis of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology
5.1.1 A unitive ecumenicity-centred ecclesiology
5.1.2 Ecclesiology as a diachronic approach to the unity of the church
5.1.3 Ecclesiology seeking theological legitimacy
5.1.4 Ecclesiology seeking an Israel-like church
5.1.5 Ecclesiology based on postliberalism
5.1.6 A conclusion
5.2 A Reformed assessment of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology
5.2.1 Reformed ecumenicity
5.2.1.1 Reformed identity: a classical and contextualizing Reformed theolo
5.2.1.2 A classical and contextualizing Reformed ecumenicity
5.2.1.2.1 A classical aspect
5.2.1.2.2 A contextualizing aspect
5.2.2 A Reformed evaluation of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology
5.2.2.1 Concerning a unitive ecumenicity
5.2.2.2 Concerning ecclesiology as a diachronic approach to the unity of the church
5.2.2.3 Concerning ecclesiology seeking theological legitimacy
5.2.2.4 Concerning ecclesiology seeking an Israel-like church
5.2.2.5 Concerning ecclesiology based on postliberalism
5.3 A Reformed assessment of ethical implications of Lindbeck’s ecclesiology
5.3.1 An aspect of the intrasystematic view of truth
5.3.2 An aspect of the cultural-linguistic view of religion
5.3.3 A Reformed assessment of Lindbeck’s ecclesial ethics
Chapter 6. Conclusion

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A STUDY OF GEORGE A. LINDBECK’S ECCLESIOLOGY AND ITS ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS: A REFORMED ASSESSMENT

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