Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Trees I've Killed for Robert Jenson, With an Updated Bibliography Beyond 1999

The thesis work goes on. Unexpectedly, I found myself a bit slogged in Yoder over the past couple weeks -- not, I think, because I didn't like what I was reading or how it was written, but because, rather than painting an expanded and clarified canvas of the breadth of his thought, I realized it was all bleeding together. Hence taking time for McClendon -- who, as I had hoped, does in fact offer a happily Yoderian intersection point with, and way forward from, Jenson (if not, of course, something like a happy medium).

In any case, I am also spending my time continuing to gather all my resources together. This is especially challenging -- though fun -- with Jenson, who is like Hauerwas in his prolificity, yet unlike him in that none of it is gathered up together in one place. Moreover, unlike Yoder, whose death 13 years ago precludes ongoing haphazard article and essay publishing (and in fact has lead to the coalescing and editing in book form works otherwise unavailable outside of Mennonite closets and Duke's bookstore), Jenson continues to publish widely and much -- a complication for the "complete" bibliography in the back of his Festschrift released in 2000.

So I have been busy, in other words; but in the best of ways. It is a joy to see a man in his eightieth year continue, unabated and energized as ever, to write as relentlessly, thoughtfully, skillfully, and entertainingly as Jenson has over the past decade.

In the process, I have made good use of my summer church internship and its (ahem) free copy machine, and therefore many trees have suffered at the hands of Jenson's voluminous writing, in ecologically disastrous concert with the strange unavoidability of some of his most important works. (It is good to see Augsburg and Wipf & Stock, in just the last nine months, reissuing God After God and Visible Words, and A Religion Against Itself, respectively.) In particular, The Knowledge of Things Hoped For seems an essential work for exploring the early contours of Jenson's conception of the theological task -- and the single offering on Amazon is a used copy listed at $160! (Though I should mention that I was able to find the similarly out-of-reach A Large Catechism, only known to me from Ben Myers' brief interaction with it three years ago, through an obscure link -- now dead, but recoverable -- on a random comment thread in a two-year old post by Halden. Now it's shipping my way for exactly $6.80.)

So, I thought I would do two things for fellow Jenson fiends and bibliophile hounds alike. First, to share where I stand in my Jenson queue (i.e., Is it in my hands?), and to offer an updated bibliography -- given that, by personal correspondence, Jenson himself says he doesn't keep one updated or ongoing at hand -- of all his works since 1999. By all means, I welcome suggestions, additions, and corrections in what follows.

Books Found and Purchased

A Large Catechism (1991); Alpha and Omega: A Study in the Theology of Karl Barth (1963); America's Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards (1988); Canon and Creed (2010); Conversations With Poppi About God: An Eight-Year Old and Her Theologian Grandfather Trade Questions (2006); Essays in Theology of Culture (1995); Ezekiel: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (2009); God After God: The God of the Past and the God of the Future Seen in the Work of Karl Barth (1969); On Thinking the Human: Resolutions of Difficult Notions (2003); A Religion Against Itself (1967); Song of Songs: Interpretation Commentary (2005); Story and Promise: A Brief Theology of the Gospel About Jesus (1973); Systematic Theology: Volume 1: The Triune God (1997); Systematic Theology: Volume 2: The Works of God (1999); Unbaptized God: The Basic Flaw in Ecumenical Theology (1992); Visible Words: The Interpretation and Practice of the Christian Sacraments (1978).

Jenson-Published Works Of Whose Jenson-Authored Contents I Have Copies

The Catholicity of the Reformation (1996); Christian Dogmatics (2 vols.; 1984); Church Unity and the Papal Office: An Ecumenical Dialogue on John Paul II's Ut Unim Sint (2001); Either/Or: The Gospel or Neopaganism (1995); The Futurist Option (1970); In One Body Through the Cross: The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity (2003); Jews and Christians: People of God (2003); The Knowledge of Things Hoped For: The Sense of Theological Discourse (1969); The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology (2002); Lutheranism: The Theological Movement and Its Writings (1976); Marks of the Body of Christ (1999); Reclaiming the Bible for the Church (1996); Mary, Mother of God (2004); Sin, Death, and the Devil (1999); The Strange New Word of the Gospel: Re-Evangelizing in the Postmodern World (2002); The Two Cities of God: The Church's Responsibility for the Earthly City (1997).

Books To Be Saved For and (Then) Purchased

[None! As of August 23, all present and accounted for.]

- - - - - - -

Chronological Bibliography of Robert W. Jenson Beyond 1999

1. Reviews (9 total)
"Barth's Moral Theology: Human Action in Barth's Thought." International Journal of Systematic Theology 2 (2000): 119-121.

"The Trinity: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Trinity." Theology Today 57 (2001): 580, 582.

"Ascension and Ecclesia: On the Significance of the Doctrine of the Ascension for Ecclesiology and Christian Cosmology." Princeton Seminary Bulletin 22 (2001): 101-102.

"Justification: The Heart of the Christian Faith." Princeton Seminary Bulletin 23 (2002): 243-45.

"On Christian Theology." Pro Ecclesia 11 (2002):367-369. [An interesting review given Williams' status, leadership, and influence over the last decade.]

"Pro Ecclesia: die dogmatische Theologie Peter Brunners." Theologische Literaturzeitung 129 (2004): 60-61.

"The Social God and the Relational Self." Theologische Literaturzeitung 129 (2004): 195.

"The Essence of Christianity." Theology Today 61 (2004): 240-241.

"That They May All Be One: The Call to Unity Today." Theological Studies 67 (2006): 709-710.
2. Articles (36 total)
"The American People." First Things 92 (1999): 12-13.

"Jesus in the Trinity." Pro Ecclesia 8 (1999): 308-318.

"The Hidden and Triune God." International Journal of Systematic Theology 2 (2000): 5-12.

"Can We Have a Story." First Things 101 (2000): 16-17. [I enjoyed this, especially as an acknowledgment of current dominating stories.]

"Second Thoughts About Theologies of Hope." Evangelical Quarterly 72 (2000): 335-346.

"Toward a Christian Theology of Israel." Pro Ecclesia 9 (2000): 43-56. [I assume that this is the same piece printed in the CTI Reflections 3 (2000): 2-21. Someone feel free to correct me, though. Either way, a thoughtful -- though I am not sure quite right -- stab at an important question.]

"Response to Robert Davis Hughes III." Sewanee Theological Review 45 (2001): 72-74.

"What If It Were True?" Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie 43 (2001): 3-16.

"Avery Cardinal Dulles." Pro Ecclesia 10 (2001): 133-134.

"The Future of the Papacy: A Symposium." First Things 111 (2001): 28-36. [Incidentally, this is the last new piece Jenson published with First Things in the last 10 years. I don't know the whole story, but does this have something to do with the shake-up post-9/11? Am I way off? Anyway, the thoughts and suggestions here are certainly interesting, especially given that Jenson and the current Pope have known each other personally for decades.]

"Joining the Eternal Conversation: John's Prologue and the Language of Worship." Touchstone 14 (2001): 32-37.

"Response to Watson and Hunsinger." Scottish Journal of Theology 55 (2002): 225-232.

"The Bible and the Trinity." Pro Ecclesia 11 (2002): 329-339.

"Creator and Creature." International Journal of Systematic Theology 4 (2002): 216-221. [I probably found this the most confusing, or at least difficult to restate in my own words, essay/idea I have read from Jenson. That's not necessarily a slam, just to see that I had trouble with it.]

"Triune Grace." dialog 41 (2002): 285-293. [Reprinted with slight revisions in the collection The Gift of Grace: The Future of Lutheran Theology. See below.]

"Response to Mark Seifrid, Paul Metzger, and Carl Trueman on Finnish Luther Research." Westminster Theological Journal 65 (2003):245-250. [Given that I haven't read the Finnish Luther research, this was mostly read as an outsider looking in.]

"Christ as Culture 1: Christ as Polity." International Journal of Systematic Theology 5 (2003): 323-329.

"Epiphany." Theology Today 60 (2004): 559. [A poem!]

"Christ as Culture 2: Christ as Art." International Journal of Systematic Theology 6 (2004): 69-76.

"Gunton, Colin E. (1940-2003)." Theology Today 61 (2004): 85.

"Christ as Culture 3: Christ as Drama." International Journal of Systematic Theology 6 (2004): 194-201.

"The Trinity in the Bible." Concordia Theological Quarterly 68 (2004): 195-206.

"A Second Thought About Inspiration." Pro Ecclesia 13 (2004): 393-398. [An extremely generative and stimulating essay about the Old Testament as the church's only "true" Scripture as text.]

"Reading the Body." The New Atlantis 9 (2005): 73-82. [New addition to bibliography on June 30, 2010.]

"Review Essay: David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth." Pro Ecclesia 14 (2005): 235-237. [Ideal for getting a sense of how Jenson construes the limitations and difficulties in Hart's articulation of the Trinity, and therefore the differences between them on the matter.]

"A Statement of Pastoral and Theological Concern: A Response to the Report and Recommendations from the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality." Lutheran Forum 39 (2005): 40-41. [Co-signed/authored with/by about a dozen others.]

"Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses." Theology Today 62 (2006): 533-537.

"On the Doctrine of Atonement." Princeton Seminary Bulletin 27 (2006): 100-108.

"Toward a Theology of Religions." CGST Journal 40 (2006): 69-81.

"Can Holiness Be a Nota Ecclesiae?" Bijdragen, 67 (2006): 245-52.

"God's Time, Our Time: An Interview With Robert W. Jenson." Christian Century 123 (2006): 31-35. [I particularly like his line that pastors ought to be forced to read at least one difficult book per year.]

" Spiritu Sancto." Pro Ecclesia 15 (2006): 100-107.

"A Theological Autobiography to Date." dialog 46 (2007):46-54. [See the Christian Century piece below, too; to be read together.]

"Kristendommen og religionerne." Dansk teologisk tidsskrift 72 (2009): 241-249.

"Neuhaus, Richard John (1936-2009)." Pro Ecclesia 18 (2009): 239-240.

"How the World Lost Its Story." First Things 201 (2010): [pages?]. [Reissued essay from 1993 -- though no less powerful now than then!]

"Reversals: How My Mind Has Changed." Christian Century online, April 20, 2010. [A wonderful and clarifying telling of his story, along with the 2007 dialog piece.]
3. Essays (30 total)
"The End is Music." Pages 161-171 in Edwards in Our Time: Jonathan Edwards and the Shaping of American Religion. Edited by Sang Hyan Lee and Allen C. Guelzo. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.

"Once More Into the Breach: The True Historical Jesus." Pages 120-127 in Theology in the Service of the Church: Essays in Honor of Thomas W. Gillespie. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.

"For Us...He Was Made Man." Pages 75-87 in Nicene Christianity: The Future for a New Ecumenism. Edited by Christopher Seitz. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2001.

"What is a Post-Christian?" Pages 21-31 in The Strange New Word of the Gospel: Re-Evangelizing in the Postmodern World. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

"The Christological Objectivity of History." Pages 62-67 in Story Lines: Chapters on Word, Thought, and Deed Gabriel Fackre. Edited by Skye Fackre Gibson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

"The Great Transformation." Pages 33-42 in The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

"With No Qualifications: The Christological Maximalism of the Christian East." Pages 13-22 in Ancient and Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century. Edited by Kenneth Tanner and Christopher A. Hall. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

"Luther's Contemporary Theological Significance." Pages 272-288 in The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther. Edited by Donald McKim. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

"How Does Jesus Make a Difference?" Pages 191-205 in Essentials of Christian Theology. Edited by William C. Placher. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. [In many ways a compendium of past expressions of his thought on Jesus, an intriguing introduction to Christology for beginning theology students.]

"Scripture's Authority in the Church." Pages 27-37 in The Art of Reading Scripture. Edited by Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hays. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. [This essay is essential reading. I have read and re-read it numerous times just in the past few months. Immensely helpful and extremely applicable for teaching contexts in the church.]

"Toward a Christian Theology of Judaism." Pages 1-13 in Jews and Christians: People of God. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

"On the Ascension." Pages 331-340 in Loving God With Our Minds: The Pastor as Theologian. Edited by Michael Welker and Cynthia A. Jarvis. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

"A Space for God." Pages 49-57 in Mary, Mother of God. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

"Eschatology." Pages 407-420 in The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology. Edited by Peter Scott and William T. Cavanaugh. London: Blackwell, 2004. [Really enjoyed this one, especially his one-sentence summary of the eschaton, as well as his telling of Israel's political story.]

"Triune Grace." Pages 19-30 in The Gift of Grace: The Future of Lutheran Theology. Edited by Niels Henrik Gregersen, Bo Holm, Ted Peters, and Peter Widmann. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.

"The Triunity of the Common Good." Pages 333-347 in In Search of the Common Good. Edited by Dennis P. McCann and Patrick D. Miller. New York: T&T Clark, 2005.

"Afterword." Pages 217-220 in Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology. Edited by Paul Louis Metzger. New York: T&T Clark, 2005.

"The Logos Ensarkos and Reason." Pages 78-85 in Reason and the Reasons of Faith. Edited by Paul J. Griffiths and Reinhard Hütter. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. [Co-written with Colin Gunton, who died unexpectedly before the final session for the group working on these papers.]

"Christ in the Trinity: Communicatio Idiomatum." Pages 61-69 in The Person of Christ. Edited by Stephen R. Holmes and Murray A. Rae. New York: T&T Clark, 2005.

"Christian Civilization." Pages 153-163 in God, Truth, and Witness: Engaging Stanley Hauerwas. Edited by L. Gregory Jones, Reinhard Hütter, and C. Rosalee Velloso Ewell. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2005. [This is one of my least favorite of Jenson's writings -- I had hoped for a more substantive engagement with Hauerwas (though I recognize he has done this elsewhere), possibly with Yoder even, and instead it is a somewhat off-putting celebration of "Christian high culture." Not an ugly or "bad" essay, just frustrating, and certainly not a helpful way of construing the Constantinian settlement.]

"Male and Female He Created Them." Pages 175-188 in I Am the Lord Your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments. Edited by Carl. E. Braaten and Christopher R. Seitz. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

"Versöhnung in Gott." Pages 31-38 in Entzogenheit in Gott. Edited by Markus Mühling and Martin Wendte. Ultrecht: Ars Disputandi, 2005. [Anyone have a digital copy of this one? We don't have a copy of this one in the library.]

"Anima Ecclesiastica." Pages 59-71 in God and Human Dignity. Edited by R. Kendall Soulen and Linda Woodhead. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.

"Is Patriotism a Virtue?" Pages 147-153 in God and Country?: Diverse Perspectives on Christianity and Patriotism. Edited by Michael G. Long and Tracy Wenger Sadd. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007.

"Foreword." Pages x-xii in Praise Seeking Understanding: Reading the Psalms with Augustine by Jason Byassee. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007. [Short but fun; has Jenson authored any other forewords?]

"On the Authorities of Scripture." Pages 53-61 in Engaging Biblical Authority: Perspectives on the Bible as Scripture. Edited by William P. Brown. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. [Jenson talking about Scripture is always good reading; though this one doesn't contain much that is new, it is nonetheless helpful as re-articulating past positions and ideas.]

"The Strange New World of the Bible." Pages 22-31 in Sharper than a Two-Edged Sword: Preaching, Teaching, and Living the Bible. Edited by Michael Root and James J. Buckley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

"Election and Culture: From Babylon to Jerusalem." Pages 35ish-50ish in Public Theology in Cultural Engagement. Edited by Stephen R. Holmes. Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 2008. [New addition to bibliography on June 30, 2010.]

"Identity, Jesus, and Exegesis." Pages 43-59 in Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage. Edited by Beverly Roberts Gaventa and Richard B. Hays. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008. [One of the half dozen essays by Jenson that is required reading and that would be first in a new gathered collection of his writings. I love the way Richard Hays used this piece in his contribution to Wheaton's N.T. Wright conference earlier this year.]

"Moses and the Mountain of Knowledge." Pages 223-230 in Crisis, Call, and Leadership in the Abrahamic Traditions. Edited by Peter Ochs and William Stacy Johnson. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.

"Ipse Pater Non Est Impassibilis." Pages 117-126 in Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering. Edited by James F. Keating and Thomas Joseph White, O.P. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009. [One of my favorite pieces by Jenson, and enormously helpful -- though still sometimes impenetrably thick -- in comprehending his position on the triune God's "non-impassibility." The last two paragraphs are powerful.]

"America: Transcendentalism to Social Gospel." Pages 339-357 in The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology. Edited by David Fergusson. London: Blackwell, 2010. [Thanks to John Rasmussen for this addition.]
4. Books (5 authored, 7 edited, 12 total)
Church Unity and the Papal Office: An Ecumenical Dialogue on John Paul II's Ut Unim Sint. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001. [Jenson doesn't actually have an essay in this collection, so nothing much to comment on here.]

The Strange New Word of the Gospel: Re-Evangelizing in the Postmodern World. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

On Thinking the Human: Resolutions of Difficult Notions. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

Jews and Christians: People of God. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

The Ecumenical Future. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

In One Body Through the Cross: The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. [I enjoyed this, but I was unclear on what the proposal offers in substance for the ecumenical conversation. I would be interested to find responses in the academic and ecclesial communities to which this document was speaking.]

Mary, Mother of God. Edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

Song of Songs. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.

Conversations With Poppi About God: An Eight-Year Old and Her Theologian Grandfather Trade Questions. By Robert W. Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006. [Rousing, playful, and thoughtful; a happy experiment and something in which more "professional" or "academic" thinkers ought to engage.]

Ezekiel. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2009.

Canon and Creed. Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010. [Coming August 23rd, just in time to read before the fall semester begins!]


  1. As someone who tries to read everything from Jenson that I can, I have myself tried to put together a list of his writings that are not in the 2000 festschrift; so I was surprised how many items you have that I was unfamiliar with; so thank you Brad

    1) are you interested in items pre- 1999 not listed in the festschrift ??
    2)you can have all the copies of A Large Catechism you want from the publisher at $4.00/ea
    3)are you by any chance going to be at Ekklesia Project Chicago in a couple of weeks ??

    Peace, John F Rasmussen

  2. Nathaniel Drake CarlsonJune 26, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Excellent and much appreciated, Brad.

    "What If It Were True?" used to be available online and I neglected to get a copy of it when I had the opportunity. Do you have any idea if there is a way in which it's accessible beyond the journal you cited?

  3. Hi guys,

    Thanks for the great bibliography Brad.

    I don't know how relevant it will be but there is "Reading the Body" (2005) an article in The New Atlantis commenting on John Paul's The Theology of the Body. I'm sure you could find it, but I am also happy to e-mail a pdf if you want.

    As regards the forthcoming Canon and Creed, I'm pretty sure the podcasts of his lectures here in Dunedin, NZ in 2009 reflect a bit of a 'trial run'. You may have seen these on Jason's blog, but if not:

    Nathaniel, I could also send you a .doc of "What If It Were True?" if you want.

    My e-mail:

    Thanks for sharing your hard work.

  4. Brad, you may want to add the recent essay in

    The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology
    Edited by: David Fergusson
    eISBN: 9780631217183
    Print publication date: 2010

    CHAPTER 16.
    America: Transcendentalism to Social Gospel
    pp. 339-357
    Robert W. Jenson

    Peace, John Rasmussen

  5. Thanks John. Glad to have my email correspondences with all of you, and glad for the additions. The first for 2010 that I'm aware of!

  6. Brad, this is an excellent list. I'm doing my PhD on Jenson and appreciated you pointing out the reissuing of God after God. Thanks.

    1. This is super helpful. I am currently doing my MA on Robert Jenson. Thank you so much for this work.

  7. That helps a lot. Thanks a lot, Brad.

    You may want to add another:

    “Reconciliation in God.” Pages 159-166 in Gunton, C. E. The Theology of Reconciliation. London: T & T Clark, 2003.

    Can you or anybody here send me pre-90 bibliography?


  8. Brad, here is another:
    “Christology” in Lee, S. H. The Princeton companion to Jonathan Edwards. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2005.

    SH (not SH in princeton but young SH in Aberdeen)