Introduction to Vol. 3


We are very pleased to bring you the third volume of the Journal of Analytic Theology. As with the previous issues, this volume continues to engage in three tasks core to the development of analytic theology (not in any particular order). First, there is the task of bringing analytic thinking—clarity of definition and argumentative rigor as much as the subject matter allows—to matters of theology with ever more “thick” content and historical interaction, yet with an eye to the ever-expanding circle of theological understanding. This issue does this well in a number of contributions. Senior editor Oliver Crisp’s annual Analytic Theology Lecture “Is Ransom Enough” and Josh Thurow’s “Communal Substitutionary Atonement” (which originated as a Logos conference presentation at Notre Dame) do this excellently with respect the doctrine of the atonement. This objective is also met in a set of three essays on free will by Kittle, Mullins, and Byerly. These three essays are exercises in holding philosophical reflection on Scripture accountable to Tradition (Kittle and Mullins) and to not giving it a pass on the hard issues (Byerly). A third set of essays achieve this objective with respect to epistemology. Brandon Dahm’s “The Certainty of Faith: A Problem for Christian Fallibilisits” investigates the traditional notion of religious certitude, especially to be found in Newman, and more modern fallibilisms. Finally, few issues in epistemology have proved more intractable than the Gettier Problem, yet Ian Church urges us to see in it some possible lessons and new directions for religious epistemology.


A second desideratum is to get people trained in the analytic methods in philosophy to reach out and address issues further up from the foundations of theology to maters of direct praxis. Terrence Cuneo continues this issue his series of meditations on liturgy in the Orthodox tradition.


A third desideratum for the journal is to feature work by theologians who are, in broad but substantive manner, writing in an analytic key. This issue contains two such pieces. John Webster’s “What Makes Theology Theological?” originated at a conference at the University of St. Andrews called “What is Theological?” put on by John Perry. When I [Dougherty] heard it, I saw at once those analytical virtues which we seek to promote here. Alan Mittleman’s “The Problem of Holiness” (which was commissioned by Samuel Lebens with our gratitude), is less obviously from “the analytic school” but the fact is it deals with core conceptual relations within Jewish theological axiology, and practices from the beginning the fine art of distinction and employs throughout the terminology and tools of analytic philosophy of language.


To see these three desiderata of the journal met all at once in so many ways in one issue is very gratifying indeed, and we hope you will agree it is a sign of health in 21st Century theology that there is so much good work being done in this vein. We are especially happy to see the book review section grow significantly. We have tried to select books and reviewers that will promote further dialogue between those trained in philosophy departments and those trained in theology departments. We are very grateful to our new book review editor, Jordan Wessling, for his great work.


Trent Dougherty and Kevin Diller
Executive Editors