An Aberdeen Graduate!

Christmas in AberdeenJust a quick and much-overdue update on my status … and availability for hiring, for weddings, and Bar Mitzvahs:

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.’

John Webster: The Domain of the Word

T&T Clark has just published The Domain of the Word, the first new collection of essays by John Webster in seven years. Webster is my doctoral supervisor here at the University of Aberdeen, and I’ve had the pleasure of working on this volume with him over the past year.

A second essay collection and companion volume, God Without Measure, will be published early next year.

Please check out my full post on The Domain of the Word now at Out of Bounds!

Bruce McCormack’s Kantzer Lecture Series

Just a quick update to point you to the 2011 Kenneth Kantzer Lectures, which begin today. This is the third and final series in a trilogy by Bruce L. McCormack, Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The seven lectures will run from Tuesday, September 27 through Tuesday, October 4, 2011, with the title “The God Who Graciously Elects: Seven Lectures on the Doctrine of God.”  Visit the Henry Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for more info and — here’s the important part for you and me, living outside of Illinois — a live Web stream.

This important series follows on McCormack’s 2007/08 T.F. Torrance Lectures in St. Andrews (on “The Humility of the Eternal Son: A Reformed Version of Kenotic Christology” — blogged by St. Andrews’ Professor Steve Holmes), and the 2011 Croall Lectures at the University of Edinburgh (“Abandoned by God: The Death of Christ in Systematic, Historical, and Exegetical Perspective”).  I’ve blogged through that second lecture series, which I was fortunate enough to attend, here.

The theology community is greatly anticipating the eventual publication of these lecture series in three volumes, which Professor McCormack will hopefully be able to work on in 2012 now that the trilogy is nearly complete.

Welcome

Thank you for finding my site!  A brief word is in order about the nature of this site (which you can reach again via the easy to remember address of DarrenSumner.com):

  • This site IS about my professional career. I am currently finishing writing my doctoral thesis in systematic theology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, under the supervision of John Webster.  You can find my complete CV here.
  • This site IS NOT a typical theology blog, though I certainly welcome comments and interaction with what I publish here.  Posts will be more on the order of conferences I am attending, papers I am giving, and material I am publishing.
  • This site IS especially for you if you are an employer looking to hire a budding young historical theologian with specialties in the history of Christology, Reformed theology, and Karl Barth.
  • This site IS NOT the most exciting new spot on the Internet for theological discourse with Aberdeen theology students.  That would be Out of Bounds, where I blog with several of my colleagues.  Please pay us a visit there for some conversation on Scripture, doctrine, church history, church practice, and all points in between.

Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, or just drop a note to introduce yourself and say hello.