Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have noticed a critical tension between some seminary students and their teachers. This tension can be described as a conflict of ideals between theory and practice. Specifically, the conflict clearly seen in between what teacher has to say about theology and how a student believes that discipline to be relevant to the practice of ministry. To put it more bluntly, many who are preparing to enter ministry do not believe that the discipline of theology has any direct relevance for the practice of their ministry. However, I would contend that the discipline of theology is essential for the task of ministry. This is true because “theological discourse” provides the essential framework, which defines Christian ministry. This does not mean that the tasks of ministry and theology are completely identical. However, Christian ministry and theology do have two overlapping concerns: the knowledge of God and the systematic study of Scripture. In the final analysis, the so-called conflict of ideals is a disingenuous barrier set up by the seminary student. However, this does not have to be the case. If the relationship between theology and ministry is understood properly, then both the minister and the theologian can work together in such a way that complements the other for their mutual benefit.

Before I explain what I mean by this, let me state that the primary purpose of this essay is to underscore the direct and immediate relevance of the discipline of theology for the seminary student who is planning to enter into a primary role of ministry (i.e. pastor, missionary, Christian educator). The secondary purpose is to enter into a dialogue with those who are critical of the idea that theology has any place in the practice of ministry. The essay will therefore be divided into two parts. The first part shall give my argument for the place of theology with in the task of ministry. The second part shall provide some of my answers to objections to this idea, which I have encountered over the years. I will conclude this essay by inviting the reader to respond to several questions that I have for him or her.


If seminary student is to understand the relevance of theology for his ministry, then he must understand the place of theological discourse with in his ministry. I would argue that the place of theological discourse is essential for the task of ministry, because theology provides the essential framework, which defines Christian ministry. In other words, if a ministry is truly Christian, then it must be practiced with a mental framework that has been shaped by theology.

In order to show the reader how this is true, let me first define what I mean by Christian ministry. Christian ministry is primarily the task of making known the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that it may be further appropriated in the lives of God's people and made available to those who have not heard. Notice, that I am using two words to describe what most pastors or missionaries may generically refer to as ministry. According to my definition, the term "ministry" primarily designates the task of making known and making available. The term "Christian" primarily designates what kind of ministry is being practiced. Of course, the term “Christian” refers to the total content of the Gospel as represented in the canonical Scriptures and shaped by theological discourse. According to this terminology that what defines ministry as “Christian” is not that a Christian is the one who is practicing, although it should certainly be the case that a Christian is the one who is practicing the task. My point is that logically Christian ministry is defined by the total content of Scripture and as a consequence Christians are the ones who fill the various roles of ministry

So now what do I mean by theology? Of course, theology can be generally defined as the study of God. Additionally, Herman Bavinck defines the task of theology as “thinking God's thoughts after him and to trace their unity.”[1] More specifically, theology can be defined as: primarily the task of acquiring knowledge about God through a careful study of his creation and through his revealed for the purpose contributing to a common place of discourse that seeks to glorify God and edify his saints. Notice that theology is in task that is focused on studying God in the various ways he has been revealed. In addition, notice that this task has the purpose of contributing to a commonplace of discussion. This means that there is a defined field of discourse in which theology is discussed.
So how are these two concepts related? First, it must be stated that both theology and ministry are a task. Second, they are tasks concerned about the knowledge of God as it is revealed in the Scriptures. Third, they are both concerned about establishing a common dialogue. Fourth, they share an identical method, although this is not always very obvious).

How do ministry and theology differ? Fundamentally they only differ with regard to different with regard to three things: purpose of method, audience, and way of reasoning. First, the purpose of the theological method used to acquire knowledge of God whereas the purpose of the method of ministry is to make God known. Second, the task of ministry is more concerned about the public proclamation whereas theology is more concerned about the private academic discussion. This means Christian ministry is more concerned about a wide reaching public dialogue whereas the task of theology is more concerned about a more narrowly defined in-house dialogue. Third, a minister may be more concerned about providing a deductive approach to Scripture whereas a theologian may be more concerned about conducting an inductive analysis of Scripture. In other words, a minister is probably more inclined to reason starting with the facts of the Gospel and ending with a deduction concerning its most relevant implications for his/her listeners. The theologian, however, may be more inclined to conduct inductive analysis of Scripture starting with a question about what may not be presently known about any given portion of Scripture.

So in what way is theology essential for ministry? If ministry is primarily concerned with the public proclamation about the knowledge of God, then logically theology is a prerequisite task since theology aims at acquiring that knowledge. This means that a ministry cannot be called Christian unless it is defined by the content produced by the task theology. In other words, one cannot broadcast anything about God (in a Christian manner) unless one first knows something about God. The bottom line is that any Christian who neglects the task of theology within his/her ministry lacks the essential content that should rightfully frame Christian ministry.

This understanding is significant because ministry and theology are essentially bound together at an ideological level. That is, they are in complete agreement with regards to the content of their task (knowledge of God); the method of their task (exegetical analysis); and the function of the task (i.e. discourse in reference to the mission of the church). They only differ with regard to the ways they appropriate to their task: purpose of method (acquisition versus making use of); audience (public versus academic); and direction of reasoning (inductive versus deductive. This means that theology and ministry are in substantial ideological agreement and only differ inferentially.

So if it is indeed true that both theology and ministry maintain similar ideals, in what ways can they complement each other? They complement each other with regard to how they differ in their approach to the exegetical method. Theology primarily aimed at acquiring knowledge through the use of that method for the purpose of contributing to a place of common discussion. That "place" for the theologian is not only the walls of academia but also the walls of the cathedral. Theology has direct implications for the church. However, the minister is presumably the one who is standing within the church. This means that the theologian aims at contributing to a discussion that involves ministers. In a way, the minister is a recipient of the theologian, in another way he is also a contributor to that commonplace. The minister may be able to acquire public responses to the Word of God. That is, as he engages with his church/the world he will presumably find questions that the theologian may or may not have acquired otherwise. In this way, the theologian and pastor complement one another.

The minister must keep one ear attuned to the discourse of theology as well has the discourse of the public. If the minister fails to acknowledge first the priority of the theological task, then he will fail not only his public audience but also his theological audience. That is, the minister will fail to be in a position to actually contribute to theological discourse. Consequently, the theologian will fail to receive any questions or concerns that are more likely to be directed at those practically involved in ministry. The bottom line is that those who are involved in practical ministry are capable of protecting theology from becoming merely an academic discipline. I realize that the responsibility here is not merely one-sided, but my point is that the division between academia and ministry is not essentially an ideological divide. The division can be attributed to a failure to continue practicing theology within the field of ministry.


Over the course of the past seven years I have encountered about ten objections to the idea that theology is essential for the task of ministry. Now, although many of these objections are accusatory in nature, I believe most of them are motivated by a genuine desire to serve other people in ministry and glorify God. In addition, although some of them may be framed in a derogatory manner, most of them address genuine concerns within the field of theology. The reason I can say that genuine is that theology has answers to these objections. In the following paragraphs I hope to provide some answers to these objections. My answers are by no means complete, but I hope that they at least facilitate a common point of understanding between the theologian and the minister.

Objections regarding the practical relevance of theology

OBJECTION #1-“I just want to serve God.” The idea here is that serving God is somehow distinct from studying God. However, I would argue that it is impossible to serve God without also studying him. In fact, We do Him a great service by studying Him. For how else can know that we are serving God unless we know precisely who He is? How else can you God but through a consistent discipline of acquiring knowledge about God. The bottom line is that this objection places unfair judgment upon the theologian. It seems that studying God is not in any way a service to God.

OBJECTION #2—“I just want to be practical.” This objection is a little bit more understandable. Theology is decidedly theoretical and ministry is more task oriented. However, these two still require one another. In minister cannot practice the task of Christian ministry without reference to the task of theology. Notice that both the minister and the theologian are doing something. The difference in their task is the goal. The goal of the theologian is to acquire knowledge about God, but the goal of the minister is to help others know about God so that they can apply his word to their lives. Notice that both the theologian and the minister are trying to convey knowledge about God. In a sense both are theoretically bound together. Theoretical simply means to show what is known. The theologian is trying to see for himself more clearly so that he can articulate a coherent theology about what he learned, but the minister is attempting to convey to others what is already known about God. The bottom line is that the theologian is concern about the status of the knowledge of God but the minister is concern about other peoples awareness and application of that knowledge. So is it wrong for the minister to be practically oriented? By no means! However, he must recognize that his practice is framed in a large degree by theological discourse.

OBJECTION #3—“I don't think it really makes a difference whether I am a Calvinist or an Arminian.” I would argue that it does make a difference. In fact, it makes an essential difference if one is conducting a ministry on the basis of the Scriptures. To say that it doesn't would mean that an interpretation of Scripture is merely governed by an arbitrary interpretation of it. The deeper concern in his complaint is that historical disputes about theology are simply just that. They are disputes that have happened in the past but do not really continue to the present day. In fact, the person that made this complaint argued with me that the only one who cares about disputes between Calvinism and Arminianism are academic theologian. I would contend that this is not wholly true. For although a missionary can/will encounter people who have never heard about this dispute, he will in all likelihood run into this conflict. In other words, the disputes that we learn about in history are likely to occur again in different environments and in somewhat different terminology. The history of theology not only informs us about the past but it also prepares us for the future.

Objections regarding What Can Be Known about God

OBJECTION #4—“I think God is much bigger than Calvinism.” This objection is unfair. The objection is unfair because characterizes the limits of a theological statement (i.e. the synod of Dort) as a theological failure. Basically, this objection argues that the five points of Calvinism say absolutely nothing about the mystery of God and therefore anyone who calls themselves a Calvinist does not believe that there is any ministry about God. This simply is not true. Yes, it is true that the five points of Calvinism do not fully capture who God is in all of his glory and ministry. However, is not true that Calvinism has simply failed at this point. In addition, I don't know of anyone who has claimed that God is identical with Calvinism. Calvinism is most definitely a theological construct and God is the creator and Redeemer of the universe. There simply is no comparison at this point. The question is not: what is bigger God or Calvinism? The question is: does Calvinism say something true about God?

OBJECTION #5—“I don't think we should know everything about God.” Yes, this objection is absolutely right. There are things that we can and ought to know about God, however there are also things that we should not know about God. Calvin repeatedly makes this point throughout his institutes. He calls this the “pious limits” about our knowledge of God. Meaning, that that Christian epistemology also contains ethical limits. These limits can be discovered in several ways. The first way is motivation. Every question about God has a specific motivation, however if that motivation seeks to subordinate God or somehow placed him on trial (e.g. Exodus 17), and that question is improper to ask. Another way to limit is set is by Scripture itself. If the Scripture does not address the question, it could be possible that it is not a question we need to ask but this is not an absolute rule. However, there are also places in Scripture which specifically forbid certain questions (e.g. Romans 9:20). Ironically, the same person that make this objection also think the objection about God being bigger than Calvinism!

OBJECTION #6—“knowledge puffs up.” Logically, the idea is that somehow there is a causal link between intellectual endeavors and pride. Theologically, the idea is that a true follower of Jesus somehow must maintain an anti-intellectual stance. This position seems to justified by Jesus himself. Repeatedly is portrayed in the Gospels as somebody who is constantly criticizing the intelligentsia of his day. In many ways this is true. However, this does not mean that Jesus himself was anti-intellectual as such. In fact, Jesus often astounded people with the fact that he had such great learning. In addition, Jesus did not criticize the impact of intellectual pursuit itself. In fact, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus has a special blessing reserved for those who aspire to become scribes for Jesus.


OBJECTION #7—“Theology is for professors and not those in the field” this is a very understandable objection because it rightly recognizes the difference of arenas for each task. However, I would contend that this criticism over plays the distinction in such a way that it undermines the unity of theology and ministry. Yes, it is true that theology and ministry operates within two different spheres of discourse. Theology operates with in a more academic sphere of discourse where as ministry operates with in a more public sphere of discourse (the exception to this rule is college ministry, which is by definition both public and academic). However, one should not overlook the continuity between theological and ministry. The minister should understand how theological discourse operates within the mental framework of ministry in such a way that it supports supports continuity. In addition, it should be noted that one should not mistake the audience of theological discourse for the purpose of theology. In many ways the audience of theological discourse is primarily an academic audience, however the purpose of that discourse is for the building up of the church. This does not mean there is no such thing as purely academic theology, however Christian theology in its surest form seeks to build up the church and glorify God. The minister is somebody (ideally) who is an academic recipient of theological discourse, but a publisher of sorts for theology. If I could rephrase this objection, then I would say: the audience of theological discourse is primarily for academic professors and the overall purpose for theology is for the church, which includes those with in the field. Or my counter and objection would be: theological discourse is for theological professors and those in the field, but it is not for those who constitute the public audience of the field.

OBJECTION #8—“What does the professor know anywaythis criticism is down right belligerent, however it does aim at a genuine concern for theology. The criticism is basically seeking to understand the relationship between a theological criteria and a professional theologian. However, if one wants to question the credentials of a particular professor, one must understand what constitutes as a proper theological criterion. One must come to terms with what theology is as a discipline, how it is practiced, what are its sources, what is its purpose, and finally what is it significance. In other words, one cannot make this criticism sincerely unless one first take seriously the task of theology as a whole. If one was in ministry arbitrarily (that is, without any proper, clear, inconsistent criterion) criticizes a particular professor, then that person is setting themselves up to be judged in a similar manner. This is simply an unfair criterion and does not allow for mutual respect and a complementary relationship.

OBJECTION #9“Jesus wasn't a Calvinist”-- this criticism can be read in two different ways. First, Calvinism should not be adopted on the basis that Jesus himself did not describe his own theology in the same terms of Calvinism. Secondly, there is no theology that should be adopted by the church, which has not first been adopted by Jesus. Since the paper is focused on theology in general, we will assume the latter interpretation. I will grant to this objection that there should be no theology that contradicts what is essential to Jesus is theology, however quite frankly the scope of Jesus's teachings simply does not account for the whole of theology. In fact, there are many questions that Jesus’ teachings do not address. This does not mean that any doctrine that is formulated beyond the scope of Jesus’ historical teachings should be rejected. A famous example of doctrine that goes beyond the scope of Jesus teaching is of course the question of the Gentiles. The scope of Jesus Ministry was simply to the lost sheep of Israel. This did not mean he never made an exception to this rule, but he was very much focused on ethnic Israel. However, after his death there were many who began to convert to “the way” who were not of ethnic Israel. This brought about many questions that simply had not been addressed before this point in time.

An objection regarding my definition of Christian ministry

OBJECTION #10-“Phil’s model of ministry basically assumes a pastor/teacher role, which does not adequately include every type of ministry, specifically Mercy ministries and support role ministries.”-- this is a very strong criticism, which requires some further explanation. Basically, this criticism challenges my definition for ministry, which is: the task of making known the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that it may be further appropriated in the lives of God's people and made available to those who have not heard. This criticism correctly recognizes that this definition of ministry only converse the tasks of teaching, preaching, and evangelism. The objection is that I do not make room for any type of ministry and that is further removed from the task of preaching. The implied conclusion is: therefore there are other ministerial roles that do not require theological discourse.

I have three problems with this objection. First, the definition of so-called “support role.” Second, the logic of the objection. Third, the blatant lack of biblical evidence for this objection.

First, what do you mean by “support role”? Do you mean that your task necessarily supports somebody who is directly involved in the tasks of teaching/preaching/evangelism or that your task somehow generally supports the task of teaching and preaching? My suspicion is that many people who make this objection are invoking the latter definition of support role. My fear is that we have too hastily created a secondary role of ministry, which we believe to be both necessary and somehow less responsible for biblical teaching and clearly defined theological doctrine. As a consequence, I believe that this thinking has permitted an indefinite amount of so-called “specialized roles” for ministry. In other words, if this objection is to be maintained, one must take the former definition for “support role.”

Second, the logic of the objection is invalid. Even if the objector takes the former definition for “support role,” his/logic is in error. His argument goes something like this: Phil’s definition for ministry excludes the place of support role Ministry; I am in support role Ministry; therefore I am excluded from the task of theology. However, I would contend that this objector's definition of support role does not allow for this argument because their task is one of necessary involvement with somebody who is primarily involved with teaching/preaching/evangelism. This means that their task necessarily ameliorates the conditions for the primary role minister. If it is true that they are this closely involved with the task of teaching, then that means this person will need to be thinking along the same lines as the one they support. It is true that they may not be as directly involved with the task of teaching, but this does not free them from the task of thinking along these lines. For example, a church administer is someone who fits this definition of the “support role” very well. A church administer does many tasks which seem atheological in nature (e.g. receiving phone calls, planning meetings, responding to e-mails, organizing church functions). However, notice that all of his/her tasks operate within a church context. This means that the very nature of his/her tasks is always assuming the broad question: what is the church? This means that all of the tasks are in some way addressing the question about ecclesiology. Imagine the infinite amount of scenarios that could go horribly tragic, if the church administer did not think with reference to the church. This means that he/she would neglect to think about proper conduct and church structure. In many ways, the church administer should be more careful about theological analysis than the pastor because the church administer must answer a whole host of questions that do not have direct and immediate answers within the scope of Scripture! In addition, it must be noted that this present paper is actually also addressing ecclesiological questions. Very broadly this paper is a dressing a question about the nature of the relationship between seminary and regular church practice.

Third, this objection has a blatant lack of evidence from Scripture. Please do not be deceived. The idea of the “support role” is not a modern invention. This role has clear historical precedent in the book of Acts. The book of acts describes a scenario where “widows were being neglected in the daily distribution,” (Act 6:1 ESV). After this scenario is brought to the awareness of the disciples, they respond, “"It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. (Act 6:2 ESV). Notice, the disciples are the one who recognize that their primary task is the proclamation of the word of God. They are the ones who recognize that there is tasks that need to happen within a church context that are not strictly oriented with reference to teaching. The apostles therefore create the “support role” ministry, but not without reference to a theological criteria. The apostles state, “pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.” (Act 6:3 ESV). Notice the rough criteria here: a good reputation, a believer, and one who is wise. There is much to be said about this criterion, but let me draw your attention to the last criteria: wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is basically skill or application of knowledge. The idea of wisdom here is in reference to knowledge of Scripture. Later on in the story Stephen is portrayed as somebody who is doing signs and wonders among the people and disputing theological matters with the local intelligentsia in the synagogues. Luke states, “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” (Act 6:8-10 ESV). Notice that Luke uses the same word “wisdom” with reference to Stephen. This is actually the second occurrence of the word “wisdom” in Acts. Notice that this word is not in reference to his ability to wait tables, but it is with reference to his ability to make intelligent dispute with the local intelligentsia.

Now, it could be argued that Stephen is certainly a unique case. It could even be further argued that the church at Jerusalem by no means represents the ideal church. I can gladly acknowledge both of these truths, however the idea that a “support role” Minister should be without the qualification of “wisdom” is not so easily cast aside. The apostle Paul states later on that deacons (that is, the office that was first created in Acts 6:1), “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience,” (1Ti 3:9 ESV). This means that deacons must be clear on the doctrines of faith. How else can one have a clean conscience about faith unless one has first come to terms with doctrine?

The bottom line is a “support role” Minister must operate in a necessary relationship to the task of preaching. This means he/she should always be working with reference to a broad theological reference. Although their task may not be as immediately involved with teaching/preaching/evangelism, their task still requires that they think along the same lines as the ones they support. Finally, Scripture itself prescribes the requirements of “wisdom” and “a clear conscience” for these roles. This means that “support role” ministries have a scriptural mandate to fulfill despite any attempts they may make advance against my basic argument.


In conclusion, I have argued that the task of theology is the essential for the task of ministry because theological discourse provides the basic framework for Christian ministry. This does not mean that ministry and theology are identical. Theological discourse aims at a specific academic audience whereas ministry aims at a broad public audience, which is not necessarily academically oriented. However, the minister is simultaneously part of the theological audience while being a mouthpiece for the knowledge of God. The minister maintains a dual identity with the theologian because he shares two concerns with the theologian: the knowledge of God and the exegetical method. If the minister is willing to acknowledge his dual identity, then he is in a position to not only provide a clear theological understanding to his audience, but also complement the theologian by providing questions for theology, which have been posed by his broader public audience. That is, the minister is in a position to receive questions that the professional theologian may otherwise neglect. My hope is that the minister can recognize this dual identity so that he may rightfully claim his vital role within the field of theological discourse. This way there can be practical continuity between the seminary and the pulpit.
My argument for the place of theology is not without some objections. Many of these objections are genuine. However, some of these objections are simply unfair caricatures of the nature, limits, method, and scope of theology. My hope is that I have provided some substantial replies to these objections. In effect, I hope I have made a contribution towards further discussion. I invite the reader to provide further objections or perhaps replies. Let the reader know that my high purpose and all this is theology for the glory of God!

[1] Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, vol., 1, translated by John Vriend, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 25

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Talmud and Yiddish

At first glance the Talmud would appear to be a monumental work of very limited significance. That is, it would appear that interest is mainly generated for a very limited scope of understanding. In part this is true, but I would suggest that the Talmud holds the wide variety of applications. That is, it can be consulted for more than just the specifics of Jewish law. One very fascinating point of interest is the fact that the Talmud represents in some ways the embryo of modern spoken Yiddish. Of course, it is true that the Talmud is primarily written in Hebrew and Aramaic, however as it continued to be used in other language contexts it also helped form and inform the language of Yiddish. Michael Wex explains that “from a linguistic point of view the Talmud is nothing less than Yiddish in utero. The Jews who initiated the transmutation of Germany into Yiddish wore those Jews most deeply connected to Jewish law, people for whom the categories and mental processes of halokhe, of Jewish law, were practically second nature.”[1] So if one is to begin to study the Talmud, one is able to begin to peer into the worldview that is present in most Yiddish. The question that is outstanding is: to what extent do language and worldview relate? Under what conditions do a language form a worldview?

[1] Born to Kevtch: Yiddish language and culture in all of its moods, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005), 15

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Talmud

The Talmud is notoriously intimidating to approach, but this initial intimidation should not scare you from approaching the Talmud. There are two compelling reasons why one should not be completely steered away from the Talmud. First there is the universal utility of method. Second there are, at least, four valuable resources that I can recommend to the new student.

The universal utility of method

First, it must be stressed that the Talmud can be approached in a similar manner to nearly any other book. That is, it can be approached with basic questions concerning historical analysis (i.e. when was it written, what group of people is responsible for compiling it, etc.) it can also be approached with literary analysis (i.e., genre, subgenre, function). In addition, one can apply careful exegetical analysis (i.e. grammatical, semantic, and rhetorical analysis). The bottom line is the Talmud can be read both critically and creatively. That is, ultimately the goal of the Talmud is to provide an instruction in the practice of Mosaic Law.

Four valuable resources for studying the Talmud

Second, there are some valuable resources out there for your benefit. I will recommend for resources to get one started. It must be stressed that the resources help orient the reader with regard to the material content of the Talmud. That is, they apprise the reader to unfamiliar concepts and content that may otherwise allude, however the methods used for studying Talmud consist of the basic analytical devices used for any piece of historical literature (i.e. historical, literary, and exegetical).

The first resource I would recommend is The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Talmud by Rabbi Aaron.[1] This certainly is not the most comprehensive introduction of there; however it certainly is a quick and dirty introduction. He quickly orients the reader to some basic facts and hot topics. He also provides a handy reference guide of a list of rabbis who appeared throughout the Talmud. Although I would admonishes the reader to be careful with some of this author's handling of hot topics surrounding the Talmud. He speaks about some hot topics and quickly gives his opinion as if it were the consensus among all contemporary scholars; however he fails to cite his support for his opinion. I suppose one should expect too much out of this book, but it is useful nevertheless.

The second resource I would recommend is The Invitation to the Talmud by Jacob Neusner.[2] This is an interesting study that brings the reader into the world of the Talmud without really showing how he or she got there. The book is basically a step-by-step study of one passage within the Talmud. It is fascinating to watch Neusner work through the Talmud by starting with the Mishna and moving to the Tosefta and on through the Jerusalem and finally into the Balvi. However, the reader is left without a sense of knowing how to initiate a similar process himself.

The third resource I would recommend is Aspects of Rabbinic Theology: Major Concept of the Talmud by Solomon Schechter.[3] This book is an extremely hopeful manual on basic rabbinical theological concepts. This classic work was written in 1909, but has yet to be outdone by successive scholar. This compendium is ideal for the Christian student who is quite familiar with the Tanak from a Christian perspective. Solomon Schechter enables the student to set aside some Christian preprogrammed presuppositions such as the concept of original sin, positive imputation, etc. this book is highly recommended.

The fourth resource I would recommend is Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash by Harry L. Strack and George Stemberger.[4] This classic study has been continually updated to me that present demands of the rabbinical student. This volume will provide a more comprehensive introduction than The Complete Idiots Guide. In addition, it will prove to be more reliable than The Invitation to the Talmud. This volume will help familiarize the new student with the content and structure of the Talmud. In addition, the updated bibliography will prove beneficial to anyone seeking out further secondary research materials.


The new student should not be intimidated by the overwhelming size of the Talmud. The reason is because the Talmud is a body of literature that can be study using the same methods that are applied to any other body of literature. This should not minimize the uniqueness of the content; however the content should not and does not exclusively inform one's method. In addition, the new student should not be overwhelmed by the content because there are many great resources available to apprise the reader as he begins the task of studying.

[1] Aaron Parry, The Guide to the Talmud, (New York: Alpha Books, 2004)

[2] Jacob Neusner, The Invitation to the Talmud: A Teaching Book, Revised and Expanded, (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1984)

[3] Solomon Schechter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology: Major Concepts of the Talmud, (USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998)

[4] Harry L. Strack and George Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, translated by Markus Bochmuel, (Edinburgh, T & T Clark Publishers, 1991)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Talmud: The Reader and the task of Reading

the following article seeks to provide the basic criterion for the task of reading any book, evan Talmud.

The crisis of high level illiteracy

What is the connection between the Bible and contemporary American culture? The common charge among religious teachers and practitioners is that there a widening chasm between the content of Scripture and the contemporary American audience. However, I would contend that the contemporary American is not deficient of the content of the Bible (and other religious texts), rather than average American is deficient in his ability to read through these ancient texts with proficiency.

Mortar J. Adler reported that in the 1970s the average American reader was only educated to read up into the eighth grade level.[1] This means that the average American could read English at an elementary level with great ease, but fumbled with texts when it came to areas of analysis and Synopsys. In other words, when the average American asks a friend or colleague, “have you read book x?,” there is no clear understanding about what is meant by the word “read.”

I would further suggest that most people assume one meaning when it comes to the term “read.” The implied definition is: the process of moving one's eyes over every word with in a book. According to this definition, a book can only be read or not read. If one has suffered through this painful word by word experience throughout the whole book, then one can consider oneself a master of the book.

The Task of Reading

Now most people can and do talk intelligently about what (i.e. content) they have read, however few people intelligently about how they read any given book. In other words, most people can provide the answers to questions about the books they read, but few can answer the question about how we read books.

what kind of reader am I?

If a reader seriously wants to improve their reading ability, then they must first ask themselves the question: what kind of reader am I? There are two different types of readers: the nugget Hunter and the gold miner.

The Nugget Hunter

The nugget Hunter is somebody who possesses all the enthusiasm to be a reader, yet possesses no defined understanding of the task at hand. The nugget Hunter read books for the sake of finding small easily digestible pieces of information. He does this for the purpose of having a large bag full of party tricks. This means he is able to sound intelligent at social gatherings by spouting off obscure pieces of information or perhaps a counterintuitive conundrum.

The problem with these people is they lack intentionality and discipline for the task of reading. They do not have a clearly defined timeline for reading except in their spare time. As a result, they read only bits and pieces of masterful works like the first chapter out of Moby Dick or perhaps section 2 of Being and Time, or even excerpts from The Iliad. These type of readers can quote a line out of Hamlet, but when it comes to discussing themes of madness, they have little to say.

The nugget Hunter also has no realistically achievable goals for reading. So, even though it is possible to read John Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion in two years by simply reading two pages every night, the nugget Hunter only reads Calvin's model statements on the nature of the soul, or perhaps the Holy Spirit's relationship to the inspiration of Scripture.

The nugget Hunter is also very gluttonous when it comes to obtaining books. Since he does not divide his time wisely or set up realistic goals, he also buys books that he will never set aside time to read no realistically work through. In addition, he will waste of money buying books he will never need. This means he will waste money and space in the process.

The nugget Hunter also has no criteria for evaluating the books he does read. This means he will criticize The Iliad for not giving enough airtime to Achilles, or he will apply anachronistic criticism to Calvin for not being more sympathetic to Jews, or even worse he will reject Karl Barth for not properly applying the historical critical method, when clearly for Barth historical critical method itself is in question!

Another very striking feature about the nugget Hunter is his ability to maintain clean pages on all his books. The nugget Hunter refuses to mark up his books because he cares more about the aesthetic value of his books rather than the informative content within them. In the end, the nugget Hunter does not know why he reads books so as a result he is unable to feel any accomplishment with the task of reading itself. The nugget Hunter is simply as his name implies: he is somebody that pushes around in the soil hoping to find a valuable gem. However, when he finds his gem he believes he's satisfied with what is found, not caring about how he obtained it. In the end, he becomes quickly bored with the Nuggets he has found and tosses them aside with no further thought.

The Gold Miner-- the active reader

There is in other kind of reader, which I would suggest the ideal reader. This reader can be compared to a gold miner. This reader understands that he does not have all the time the world and therefore he must defy his time accordingly. He cannot let all his important reading be done nearly in his spare time. He must make time. This kind of reader purposes to read with a clearly reflected upon criteria for the task of reading. In fact, he also is purposeful about the environment he reads. He always chooses an environment conducive to the task. While he is reading, he keeps all the proper tools in hand (i.e. a notebook and a pen). His goals for reading are clear. He is there can engage the book in a kind of dialogue, the dialogue may be indifferent to any social gathering is going to.

I hope I have made the choice abundantly clear. It should be more preferable want to be a gold miner rather than a nugget Hunter. However, how does one get there? A reader who wants to become a better reader should ask himself the following question:

· How much time do I have to read? (This is especially important for Talmud)

· Why am I reading this book?

· Where will I be reading this book?

· What is my frame of mind? (I.e. do I have a teacher to consult or am I independent of any outside assistance)

· how am I planning to read this book? (I.e. at what level? Elementary? Inspectionally? Analytically? Syntopically?

· What kind of notes am I going to take? (I.e. structural, conceptual, dialectical)

After one plans out there timeline for reading, one should immediately consider the purpose for motivation for reading any given book. There are three main purposes for reading: entertainment, information, and understanding. Obviously, one can read Talmud for its sheer entertainment. There are many stories and humorous anecdotes throughout the entire corpus, however this will not keep one reading with any consistency. Additionally, there is much information within the Talmud, however that information is difficult to access without a ready knowledge of Talmud.

The purpose for reading Talmud should be to understand. However, this goal should be more clearly defined itself.

  • Does one want to gain religious understanding into Jewish law?
  • Does one want to understand the historical development of Judaism?
  • Does one want to try to gain a philosophical understanding of Talmud?
  • These questions must seriously be reckoned with before one can even dream to glean the riches of Talmud.

After one has wrestled with the question of purpose, one should be intentional about the environment in which he or she reads. This environment should be comfortable, well-lit, and above all persistently used.

Next one should deal with the question of frame of mind. Is one learning in a synagogue, University, or perhaps privately at home? Ideally one should always read with reference to the presence of the community whether one is actually present or not. If one is reading with reference to an actual synagogue or Jewish studies program, then this question has are pretty good answer for you.

However, if one is reading privately at home, then he or she must not forget that Talmud is a document with living significance, which present the functions as a source for religious dispute among Jewish religious adherence both in America and abroad. If one does not see this in mind, then the interpretation of it can become idiosyncratic and as a result damaging to both the reader as well as possibly the living community. This is seen all too often in Christian individuals who read through Talmud in order to glean slanderous cannon fodder for misguided aspersions. At the very least, if one doesn't read this with reference to the living community, one should read it with reference to the presence of an academic community.

Next one should deal with the question about how to read Talmud. According to Mortimer J. Adler, there are four types of reading: elementary, inspectional, analytical, and Syntopical. Now, I will not go into too much detail here, but it should be stressed that all books can be read using roughly the same set of principles.

I realize that there is a great emphasis placed on reading instructional manuals for specific type of books. This is especially true for reading Talmud. However, these instructional manuals tend to confuse the difference between content and method. It is true that the Talmud employs some discussions that are heavily content specific. In addition, it is true that it employs some methods or verification that do not exist outside Talmud. However, by and large, the basic method of Talmud makes use of universal rules of reasoning and argumentation (i.e. non-contradiction, coherency, causality). This means that many of the rules that one would be employed to read wealth of Nations also apply to the Talmud. So, one must be intentional about method.

Are you going to read at an elementary level? This would mean that you are reading it like a child. This is easily achievable if your first language is English and did not Hebrew or Aramaic. In fact, this is the way I read scriptures. To read the scriptures in the original languages is simultaneously profound and childish. One has to read very slowly as if they were a child, and yet because of this slower pace one is able to perceive the profound beauty of the Scriptures in their original languages.

Second, is one going to simply read inspectionally? This would mean that one is trying to gain an overall feel for the book itself.

Is one going to read it analytically? I'll talk about this type of reading later on. Suffice to say, analytical reading is a way of reading which makes use of a clearly defined criteria for the task of reading as well as for the task of analysis.

If one going to read syntopically. Syntopical reading is basically reading two books about the same subject. This is much more difficult than it sounds and yet if one is to be the scriptures with a proficiency and full benefit, one must read syntopically because the Bible is many books about a singular topic. The problem with Syntopical reading is defining that topic. If the topic is ill-defined, then the entire effort is abortive. The task of Syntopical reading makes use of all levels. It understands the humility and benefit of elementary reading. It knows when to employ inspectional reading and when to employ analytical reading. Needless to say, if one has not mastered the first three levels of reading, one cannot adequately read at this level.

Finally, one should deal with the question about taking notes. In other words, you have the freedom to markup your Talmud, then by all means do so! However, if one is not free to mark it up, then one should be taking notes with a notebook. The intentional reader knows that there are three basic ways to take notes. First, there are structural notes that focus on the genre, theme, and sequence of thought. In other words, it looks for the basic shape of the book. Second, there are conceptual notes that focus on the content, method, scope, and basis of the book. Third, there are dialecticall notes that focus on the book in relation to history of thought as well as the significance of the book in relation to other authors and historical/political events. I will make in other post that goes into greater detail about the nature of notetaking within Talmud.


Basically, readers need to understand that there is more to reading than simply running one's eyes over every word within a book. The task of reading is demanding upon everyone who wishes to practice it with greater intention and definiteness. The task of reading demands that the reader understand his time constraints as well has his purposes for reading. in the case of Talmud, one should be clearly aware of how one wants/needs to understand it. In addition, if a reader wants to become a gold miner, he should be more aware of the different methods that are available for the task of reading: namely, elementary, inspectional, analytical, and Syntopical. The reader of the Talmud should bear in mind that although there are many helpful introductions to reading it, these introductions are only helpful to the degree that they are informative. The task of reading applies to all areas regardless of its content. Finally, the intentional reader should be aware of the various types of nodes that one can take during the process of reading.

[1] Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren’s, How to Read a Book: Revised and Updated, (New York, Simon & Shuster, 1972), 3

Book review—A Common Faith

John Dewey is considered by many one of the most influential American philosophers. His thought and writings have continued to influence the shape of American education and politics more than any other writer of the 20th century. In fact, is one gives even a cursory glance at the first chapter of his book A Common Faith, one will quickly learn that his definition of the term “religious” is used almost without equivocation by politicians today. The following article examines John Dewey’s book A Common Faith, which was originally delivered as a series of occasional lectures to the students at Yale University. The book was originally published in 1934. It is divided into three chapters. The first chapter (1-28) discusses the nature of the problem concerning common misunderstanding of religion within both secular and formerly religious camps. The second chapter (29 -- 58) discusses the nature of faith as “a religious attitude” (56) in relation to historical forms a religion as well as its original and most vital possibility, which is a form of religious experience. The third chapter (59 -- 87) addresses more fully the solution regarding the notion of a non-historically based religion. It suggests that such a religion is possible on the basis of the notion of faith as sourced in human consciousness. This article will focus mainly on the first chapter. My aim here is twofold. First, I want to provide a basic presentation of Dewey's understanding of religion in relation to religious experience. Second, I will provide a basic critique of his reasoning with regards to the function and the limits of his so-called historical definition of faith. Ultimately, it will be suggested that Dewey has failed to adequately critique the concept of religion as a universal. In addition, he has not actually abolished formal religion, he has simply suggested in other form of religion. (I apologize that for each of the following quotations there is no citation because face but will not allow my footnotes to be transferred onto their limited wordprocessor, if anyone desires a full copy of my review feel free to ask.)

John Dewey’s book A Common Faith[1] is a theoretical proposal for the future of American religious life. It addresses the conflict concerning the nature and function of religion in relation to the notion of cultural unity and progress. After surveying the American landscape John perceived a genuine conflict between two predominant ways of thinking. The first is characterized by those who think “that nothing worthy of being called religious is possible apart from the supernatural.”[2] The second is characterized by “those who think the advance of culture and science has completely discredited the supernatural and with it all religions that were allied with believe in it.”[3] Dewey makes it abundantly clear throughout this book that he is not only empathetic towards the second group, he is also part of it but not without criticism. He states that this second group not only espouses the removal of the supernatural along with the presence of historic religions “but with them everything of religious nature.”[4]

The problem that John Dewey perceives is that both camps define religion with reference to the existence and adherence to a supernatural reality. He therefore proposes, “another conception of the nature of the religious phase of experience, one that separates from it the supernatural and the things that have grown up about it.”[5] In other words, if American culture is going to continue to advance, it must find a common religion, which is not encumbered by the presence of historical religions. According to Dewey, religion can be positively defined as, “a strictly collective term and the collection it stands for is not even the kind illustrated in textbooks of logic. It has not the unity of a regiment or assembly but that of any miscellaneous aggregate. Attempts to prove the universality proved too much or too little.”[6] He believes that the obliteration of religion is necessary on a twofold basis. First, it is possible to cultivate religious experience without the presence of formal religion. Second, if religion is studied historically, one will quickly learn that “there is no such thing as religion in general.”[7] In addition, religions do not genuinely exist in relation to the supernatural; rather the term religion “always signifies a special body of beliefs and practices having some kind of institutional organization,”[8] which are “survivals from outgrown cultures.”[9] However, Dewey is not completely one-sided with regards to the idea of religious experience. He believes that religious experience “as a quality of experience signifies something that may belong to all these experiences.”[10] In science, any given practitioner of the field may utilize special kind of experience in order to demonstrate “to prove the existence of certain kinds of objects.”[11] Additionally, he believes that many practitioners of religion also “relied upon a certain kind of experience to prove the existence of the object of religion, especially the supreme object, God.”[12] In addition he states, my purpose is to indicate what happens when religious experience is already set aside as some thing sui generis. The actual religious quality in the experience described is the effect produced, the better adjustment in life and its conditions, not the manner and cause of its production.”[13] In other words, the description of any type of religious experience is not the demonstration and proof for its alleged source, rather all that it demonstrates is that there was a transition and adjustment of life. The difference between a moment of epiphany and religious experience is that the efforts that moment only records and focuses on the point of transition and the status of readjustment. The focus of religious experience is not on any one thing in particular, rather it is a complete frame of mind which determines all others. Dewey states, “if this function were rescued through emancipation from dependence upon specific types of beliefs and practices, from those elements that constitute a religion, many individual's would find that experiences having the force of bringing about a better deeper and injuring adjustment in life and are not so rare and infrequent as they are commonly supposed.”[14]

John Dewey has made several errors in reasoning about the nature of religion, the implications of the history of religion, the function of religious experience, as well and is the possibility of a religious experience without context. First, it is true that a cursory study of the history of religion will reveal a wide variety of religious practices, which can in some instances contradict notions regarding universal claims regarding ethics and the existence of supernatural forces. However, the purpose of historical study of religion is not to demonstrate the existence of supernatural beings, rather it seeks an understanding religion in terms of historical connections, development, change, and influence. In addition, it is true that he a historical study of religion will reveal human involvement with regards to formal institutions. However, this also does not exclusively demonstrate that there is no such thing as supernatural involvement within any given historical institution. Second, it does not follow that the purpose of reports regarding the religious experience are necessarily an attempt to demonstrate the existence of God. It may be true that some people tried to demonstrate in some small way the existence of God, but the reality is the primary function of these kind of stories is to convey information regarding the experience. Third, it does not follow that something can exist in kind without regard to the existence of a thing in itself. For example, there is no such thing as a paperback book without the existence of a book in itself. The idea of a book had to precede the notion regarding a kind of book. Paperback books could not exist before the existence of books generally. In other words, logically speaking John Dewey cannot preserve the “religious experience” without the preservation of religion in general. It is true that religion in general can exist without the presence of certain kinds of historical religious institutions, but that does not mean John Dewey has once and for all obliterated a religion. He has despite his best intentions created a new religion on the basis of the concept of religion generally.

[1] John Dewey, A Common Faith, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934)

[2] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 1

[3] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 1

[4] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 1

[5] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 2

[6] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 8

[7] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 9

[8] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 9

[9] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 6

[10] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 7

[11] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 11

[12] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 11

[13] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 11

[14] John Dewey, A Common Faith, 14

my prolegomenon for the future studies of any religion

A prolegomena to the study of religion

The study and practice of any discipline requires at least in part a prolegomena. A prolegomenon is a statement about the definition of the field, the various disciplines that have approached the way the field; the various methods which have been utilized to understand the field. In addition, it includes a brief history of the subject itself in addition to a brief history of the field. Of course, it is the task of this present a prolegomenon to define the field of religion in relation to the various disciplines and methods that surround the study of it.

First, let us address the problem of defining religion. What is a definition of religion? How is it determined? How does it function? What purpose does it serve? A definition of religion is simply a declaration concerning the knowledge of its essential nature. It can include qualifications regarding its limits, functions, and purposes. In some sense it also includes a judgment concerning religion itself. For is no such thing as an absolutely neutral definition of religion. All definitions are created by private individuals or committees or possibly by religions or governments. The definition of religion as determined by the focus and function of the discipline that seeks to study religion as such. In addition, the definition is further defined by the goal(s) of the one who practices the study from the standpoint of both his field and where he stands in relation to the specific religion or religions he/he has chosen to study. So any given practitioner of the study of the field should ask the following questions before defining religion as such. First, what is my subject? Second, what is my field of discipline? Am I operating with private concerns or public concerns? If my concerns are private, then why are they significant? If my concerns are public, then how are they going to serve my public? Third, where do I stand in relation to my subject matter? Am I an outsider to the religion or am I with in the religion itself? If I am an outsider, what is my attitude towards that religion [friendly, hostile, seeker?]? If I am an insider, what is my attitude towards the religion [friendly, hostile, critically concerned (either for inner integrity or external relationships towards other individuals or communities)]? Fourth, what are my purposes or goals for studying said subject? Is it simply to gain information or perhaps understanding? If understanding is the goal, then how do I want to understand it? In other words how am I contributing to my field? Lastly, what does this mean for my field?

Next, let us leave open the question regarding subject matter (i.e. the specific religious phenomenon) and look at the various fields that have approached religion. Religion can and has been studied by six fields of discipline: sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, theology, history, and phenomenology. Mariasusai Dhavamony states, “sociology of religion is defined broadly as the study of ‘the interrelation of religion and society and the forms of interaction which take place between them.’”[1] In other words, it broadly poses to questions: first, how does religion as an enclosed society structure itself and function; second, how does this religion relate to the broader society (i.e. governing entities and the other social structures)? Anthropology is “a branch of sociological studies, that branch which devotes itself to primitive societies.’ Hence social anthropology of religion has to do with those rites, beliefs, actions, behavior patterns in preliterate societies that refer to what is regarded as being the sacred and the supernatural.”[2] In other words, anthropology of religion focuses on religion as it is produced within a culture. It limits itself in the sense that it only aims at providing “a mere description of a narrow segment” of society. In other words, religion is viewed as a product of society, which in some small way merely predicates the society itself. The next discipline is psychology of religion, which “is the study of the psychological aspect of religion; that is to say, the study of the religious function of the mind, partly dealing with the problem of the function of the individual mind in religious contexts (the individual psychological aspect) and partly with the problem of the impact of the social religious life on participants (socio-psychological aspect).”[3] In other words, what is the religious experience of the individual, or religious community, or a cultural participant that participates in a religion that may or may not represent the predominant cultural trend? Dhavamony says, “the basic assumption of the psychology of religion is that psychological motivations and responses are common to all known forms a religion.”[4] The next discipline which studies religion is philosophy of religion, which broadly is “philosophical reflection on religion by a flying systematically the philosophical method. Examine critically the truth value of the immense material of myths, symbols, and rights that come from the history of religion.”[5] In other words, philosophy of religion broadly asked the question: is it true and if so in what sense is it true? Of the next field is theology of world religion. This field of study not only assumes a non-neutral starting point but declares this starting point. The method is an eclectic in the sense that it can be historical, comparative, philological, philosophical, and even psychological. The purpose is primarily for understanding the limits of one's own theological categories as well as the differences and similarities of other religions. Broadly it is a dialogue with other religions, however the final judgment and significance is usually for the theological community that initiates the study. The next field of study is the history of religion. Mariasusai Dhavamony states, “the historians of religion consider the religious phenomena of as religious specifically, and concrete on the religious signification of the phenomena presented by the sciences.”[6] In other words, the historian focuses on the religion or religions as they change, progress, developed within a given period of time and date specified landscape. Phenomenology of religion “is the systematic treatment of the history of religion whose task is to classify and group the numerous and widely divergent data in such a way that an overall view can be obtained of their religious contents and the religious meaning that they contain.”[7] In other words, it makes use of historical analysis in order to help fully understand the experience of religion, which additionally helps the phenomenologist of religion to derive and portray an overall picture of that religion with regard to its meaning. In other words, not only does the phenomenologist allow history to inform the subject but it also allows the religion to speak for itself on the basis that there are overlapping patterns of religious experience. So there's attention to both historical development as well as sociological and psychological structure. The purpose of historical phenomenology of religion is not to provide a comparative analysis, but it is to provide an analysis of typology, structure, and form. Mariasusai Dhavamony defines the typology as the process of taking “from their historical setting similar facts and phenomena which are found in various religions and brings them together in groups.... it classifies and groups the numerous and widely differing data in such a way that an overall view can be obtained of the religious content and the religious values they contain.... a type is a pattern of traits of an individual, group, or culture that distinguishes it from another... types are used on the assumption that they provide means of classification... an ideal type is a mental construct composed of the configuration of characteristic elements of the class of phenomena is an analysis.”[8] Mariasusai Dhavamony defines structure as “the underlying and relatively stable relationship among elements, parts, or patterns in a unified, organized whole…. structure is reality significantly organized; but the significance of the lungs both to the reality and is subject who attempts to understand it.”[9] Morphology is basically the wholeness. It answers the question: how does the type of religion integrated the structure of it? Structure seeks to ask the question: how does the religion internally fits together? Morphology seeks to answer the question: what makes a total work complete? The purpose of typology is to provide a clear criteria for abstractly describing a religion without reference to a direct comparison to other religions. In addition, it helps limit the frame of reference in which an analysis takes place.[10]

Now let us turn to the question of method. There are basically three methods of studying religion, which can be practiced in any number of varieties in accordance with the discipline. The three methods are: historical, comparative, phenomenological. The historical method gives attention to a specified time and place. The comparative method gives attention to one kind of religion in relation to another. The phenomenological method gives attention to the experience of religion. Each method has its own set of limitations. The comparative method tends to disregard at least one religion in terms of its inner meaning and self provided definitions. The historical method tends to view religion only in terms of as it has existed in relation to change/progress/development. The phenomenological method has its limitations in the sense that it intends to disregard the history of religion and focuses its attention on the experience of religion as such.

[1] Phenomenology of Religion, (Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1973), 3

[2] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 4

[3] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 5

[4] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 5

[5] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 5-6

[6] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 7-8

[7] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 8

[8] Phenomenology of Religion, 12

[9] Phenomenology of Religion, 12-13

[10] Mariasusai Dhavamony, Phenomenology of Religion, 13