Grant

Prayer, Love, and Human Nature: Analytic Theology for Theological Formation is a grant made possible by the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In accordance with Sir John’s vision of a progress-oriented and intellectually humble approach to theology, the John Templeton Foundation has recently invested significant funds in developing and promoting analytic theology (hereinafter, AT). AT is an approach to theology that seeks integration between theological investigation, on the one hand, and the methods and results of progressive and truth-oriented disciplines such as the empirical sciences and analytic philosophy, on the other. This grant takes AT forward by focusing on three Big Questions as case studies to road test the value of analytic theology in a vocational context: prayer, divine love, and the theological implications and engagement of the sciences of human origins. The project hypothesizes that AT provides a rigorous intellectual framework for the training and formation of church leaders.

Three colloquia and a capstone conference will enable invited pastors and faculty to reflect on how AT addresses the three Big Questions as they bear upon ministry and formation. Two PhD students will develop AT educators formed in a rich theological environment whose work will address prayer, divine love, and theological anthropology in light of contemporary science. Two post-docs will take forward AT in preparation for faculty appointments building a research profile that address the Big Questions over a three-year term, producing substantive monographs suitable for publication in series like Oxford Studies in Analytic Theology. Visiting fellowships will bring together faculty and pastors in an interdisciplinary forum. These activities, and the weekly AT research seminar that will accompany them, will also encourage other scholars, including current PhD students, and local ministers to engage the Big Questions across academic and ecclesiastical boundaries. A curriculum competition will disseminate AT courses in other partner institutions so that AT impacts theological courses elsewhere as well.