Item description for Divine Immutability (Fortress Texts in Modern Theology) by Isaak August Dorner, Claude Welch & Robert R. Williams...
Overview Occasioned by the nineteenth-century kenotic christological controversy, Isaak Dorner's essay--which is here completely translated into English for the first time--remains one of the most extensive historical, philosophical, and theological treatments of immutability to date. Dorner was initially attracted to kenoticism--that the incarnation as a divine self-divestment implies that God undergoes change--but rejects it in Part One. Part Two is a historical survey of the classical doctrine from the patristic period to Schleiermacher which shows the longstanding connection between divine immutability, God's goodness, and soteriology. Dorner concluded that this formulation was not mistaken, but extreme and one-sided, making positive relations between God, time, and history implausible. Part Three offers Dorner's reconstruction.
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Studio: Fortress Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.47" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.57" Weight: 0.69 lbs.
Release Date Sep 5, 2000
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Series Fortress Texts In Modern Theolog
ISBN 0800632133 ISBN13 9780800632137
Availability 0 units.
More About Isaak August Dorner, Claude Welch & Robert R. Williams
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Dorner shows God's perfection does not ential immutability Dec 5, 2000
Isaak August Dorner, one of the greatest theologians of the 19th century, is not as well known today as he should be. If enough people read this great essay of his, that may change. In it, Dorner offers a thorough and fascinating account of the historical development of the classical doctrines of God's immutability and simplicity, while, at the same time, presenting sharp criticisms of that doctrine. Dorner shows that any account of God's nature that is adequate for a sound piety must represent God in such a way that the world can have a value for Him, and this entails that He be able to create a world of free beings whose choices He can neither determine nor know in advance. This, in turn, entails that the actions of creatures must be able to have "a creaturely impact on the divine decree." Dorner shows that allowing God to change with respect to His knowledge and will in no way derogates from God's perfection. In particular, the ethical nature of God is safegaurded since, even though God changes His specific will towards a creature according to the creature's behavior (i.e. God will respond differently to Mother Teresa than to Hitler), God's actions always flow from His perfectly good nature; He always responds to creatures in the way the befits the most perfect possible moral gooness.
The historical section of Dorner's essay is rendered particularly delightful from the fact that he not only discusses such prominent figures as Augustine, Aquinas, and Scotus, but also lesser known protestant Scholastics, such as Quenstedt and Gerhard, as well as the acute 17th century Socinian, Conrad Vorst. This alone makes the book a treat for anyone interested in little explored aspects of the history of theology.
All in all this essay is a profound meditation on some of the most difficult and central aspects of Christian theology. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The translation itself is fluid and very readable, and the book is prefaced by a penetrating discussion, by Robert Williams, of Dorner and of the content of this essay. My only criticism is directed at the cheap book binding process that Fortress Press currently employes. I have only had this book for a little over a year, have not subjected it to any unusual sorts of stress, and yet every page of it is now loose from its back. The same thing has happened, in short order, to all the paper back books I possess published by Fortress Press. It is unfortunate that a translation this good of an essay this great should be treated in so shabbily by Fortress Press. So great a Lutheran Father as Dorner deserves better from a press devoted to preserving and furthering the Lutheran heritage.