In The Practice of Catholic Theology: A Modest Proposal, Paul J. Griffiths has written a how-to book for Catholic theologians that will both instruct beginners and challenge long-time practitioners to sharpen their understanding of their craft. He defines Catholic theology as the practice of thinking, speaking, and writing about the God of Christian confession; so understood, it's something that anyone can learn to do. Personal sanctity is not required, but as with any other practice, practitioners of this beautiful and elevated thought-performance need to know some things and to develop some skills in order to be able to perform it.
This book lays out, clearly and in detail, what the relevant body of knowledge is and how to find access to it; it does that by describing the "Catholic archive" in all its variety (scriptural, conciliar, magisterial broadly and narrowly, liturgical, canon-legal, speculative), and by analyzing the authoritative weight of the various components of the archive. It shows the difference between dogmatic and speculative theology, both by example and analysis. It also gives detailed instruction in the development of the theologian's particular skills: argument, synthesis, intellectual imagination, thought-experiment, exegesis, and so on. And it describes, with particular recommendations, the essential components of the theologian's working library, and how they ought to be used.
"This short book says some things that definitely need saying about the cognitive nature of theology. It also gives creative advice to young theologians about how they can learn their craft." (Michael Gorman, The Catholic University of America)
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