Foundations of Systematic Theology examines Christian doctrine and argues that a full Christian theology much be fully aware of its own doctrinal tradition, particularly the unity of faith through history, and also of its awareness of hermeneutics and philosophy, especially epistemology. Guarino argues that revelation and faith must not, and indeed cannot, be chained to non-foundationalist metaphysics. Anything less detaches Christianity’s self-understanding from its own true claims.
The Christian theology presented here moves beyond naïve and wooden referentialism, taking seriously the critiques of trust from postmodernity, while suggesting an alternative to the total unmooring of knowledge and truth that results. The best theology recognizes these challenges, not as concessions, but as ontologically productive and enriching developments, but within a froundationalist framework. Notions of first philosophy, truth, hermeneutics, and language are essential for grounding the profound and enduring doctrines of the Christian theology. They provide additional intelligibility to the depositum fidei as taught and handed down by the church.
“Given this mise en scène, can the Christian notion of doctrine and contemporary philosophical accents be reconciled?” (Page 5)
“emphasis on historicity and the lethic nature of reality” (Page 15)
“philosophical warrants for universal Christian claims” (Page 321)
“They clearly place the theological emphasis on the presence of God to his people, and the continuing importance of doctrine as one way of mediating that presence.” (Page 3)
“We may press theology’s claim very bluntly by noting that theology … claims to know the one God of all and so to know the one decisive fact about all things, so that theology must be either a universal and founding discipline or a delusion.’” (Page 4)
Thomas G. Guarino is Professor of Systematic Theology at the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, New Jersey.