Saturday, August 9, 2008

Not-so-light reading

A while back, a fellow Wikipedia editor recommended to me the Summer/Fall 2007 issue of the Josephinum Journal of Theology. I just got my copy a week ago, and finished it today. Despite the density of the writing, some of which I couldn't even start to follow, it was a fascinating and informative read.

The degree of dissent in the articles really surprised me. Some things in Catholic teaching I had thought were "established": John Paul II's Theology of the Body, for example. Well, I was wrong. While JPII's teachings were a central topic in several of the articles, criticism slightly outweighed acceptance.

I suppose the dissent shouldn't have surprised me: the whole point of being a theologian is to publish novel ideas in one's field. Claiming a novel idea is true means that previous ideas were at best inadequate, and at worst completely wrong.

Even inadequate and incorrect ideas provoke discussion, though. Discussion to resolve disputes is an important part of how human knowledge grows.

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