In December I successfully defended my doctoral thesis at the University of Aberdeen, with a terrific and detailed examination of the research by Prof. Tom Greggs (Aberdeen) and Dr. Paul T. Nimmo (Edinburgh). After a few minor corrections the thesis was officially handed in last month.
I have since moved my family back home to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where this term I am teaching an introductory course in Christian theology at my alma mater, Seattle Pacific University. We are two-thirds of the way through the term and it has been extremely rewarding. I am (still) on the job market, hoping to find a full-time teaching opportunity soon. The kids are adjusting well, including my youngest — now seven months old, who was born in the throws of the final weeks of writing up the thesis!
The thesis has been submitted to a publisher for review and consideration, which means the time has come to officially let some details fly. Here is the title and abstract of the dissertation version:
Karl Barth’s Critical Appropriation
of the Doctrine of the Incarnation
This work demonstrates the significance of Karl Barth’s Christology by analyzing it in the context of his orientation toward the classical tradition – an orientation that was both critical and sympathetic. To compare this Christology with the doctrine’s history I argue that the Chalcedonian portrait of the incarnation is conceptually vulnerable at a number of points. By recasting the doctrine in actualist terms – the history of Jesus’ lived existence as God’s fulfillment of His covenant with creatures, rather than a metaphysical uniting of ‘natures’ – Barth is able to move beyond problems inherent in the tradition. Yet, despite formal and material differences, Barth’s position coheres with the intent of the ancient councils and ought to be judged as orthodox. His great contribution to Christology is in the unapologetic affirmation of ‘the humanity of God.’