Skip to content »

Liturgical Theology

Convener

Melanie Ross
Yale Divinity School
405 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
[email protected]

Mission Statement

This seminar explores a wide range of topics and issues in the field of liturgical theology, with attention to theology of liturgy (theological reflection on particular worship practices), theology informed by liturgy (liturgy as a source for theological reflection), and doxological theology (theology oriented toward worship). Our sessions include discussion of papers and discussion of a book read in common.

2019 Academy Meeting Agenda

Friday, Jan 4
10:30-10:45   Welcome, introductions       

10:45-noon    Discussion of Alexander Schmemann, Introduction to Liturgical
Theology (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1966). Porter Taylor, facilitator

Noon-1:30      Lunch

1:30-2:30        Timothy Brunk, paper discussion: “Eucharist and Consumerism”

2:30-3:00        Nathan Jennings, paper discussion: “Eucharistic Sacramental
                        Theology and the Economy of Gift”
          
3:00-4:00        Coffee break

4:00-4:30        Jennings paper discussion, cont.

4:30-5:30        Cory Dixon, paper discussion: “Saturation and Sacrament:
                         Sacramental Revelation and the Philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion”

Saturday, Jan 5
9:30-10:45      Discussion of Bruce Morrill, Divine Worship and Human
Healing: Liturgical theology at the Margins of Life and Death
(Liturgical Press, 2009). Joris Geldhof, discussion facilitator

10:45-11:45   Todd Johnson, paper discussion: “An Anatomy of Theologica
                        Prima

11:45-noon    Todd Johnson, intro to “Liturgical Theology 2.0” discussion

Noon-1:30      Lunch

1:30-2:30        Group Discussion: “Liturgical Theology 2.0”: New Disciplinary  
                         Directions. Todd Johnson, facilitator

2:30-3:00        Planning for 2020


Paper Abstracts


Timothy Brunk, “Eucharist and Consumerism”

The health and vitality of Eucharistic celebrations is directly connected to the health and vitality of the church and that whatever threatens the health and vitality of those celebrations also challenges the well-being of the church as a whole.  I want to examine here the challenges that present-day consumer culture poses to the vitality of Eucharistic celebrations.  I will do so by discussing three dyads: individualism / community; passivity / participation; commodification / gift.  The astute reader will observe that the first term in each pair is drawn from an aspect of consumer culture and the second term is drawn from an aspect of Eucharistic liturgical theology.  I will then offer some concluding remarks and suggestions.

Nathan Jennings: “Eucharistic Sacramental Theology and the Economy of Gift”

Classical Eucharistic sacramental theology asks questions concerning whether or not the Eucharist is a sacrifice, and, if so, how. Then it addresses questions concerning the particular presence of Christ and what counts as the means of consecration. How we answer each previous question affects how we answer each subsequent question. Almost all meals in the first century Mediterranean basin were ritual meals and all ritual meals were sacrifices. Most indigenous practice of sacrifice takes place in the context of a gift economy. The Eucharist is a sacrifice in the sense of setting a gift economy in motion, where gift economies assume abundance and communion. It is not a sacrifice in a modern sense of loss in an exchange economy, where exchange assumes alienation and scarcity. If the Eucharistic sacrifice sets a gift economy in motion, in what way is Christ truly present? What “counts” as proper “means of consecration”? Addressing these concerns within an economy of gift offers fresh starting points for ecumenical dialogue and may offer challenges to the way our local communities embody Eucharistic practice.

Cory Dixon: “Saturation and Sacrament: Sacramental Revelation and the Philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion”

Catholic phenomenologist Jean-Luc Marion has developed the related ideas of givenness and the saturated phenomenon to explain the excess of intuition that some phenomena contain.  In my dissertation, I use these concepts as a philosophical basis for sacramental theology, exploring sacraments (particularly the eucharist and baptism) as phenomena saturated with the givenness of God––a givenness that is unpredictable and inexhaustible.  In doing so, I look at the sacraments as a means of God’s self-disclosure, one which balances the immanence of the Creator mediated through creation and the transcendence expressed in the radical Otherness of God.  To do so, I draw into conversation with Marion such related thinkers as Kenan Osborne, Louis-Marie Chauvet, Avery Dulles, Henri de Lubac, Rudolf Otto, Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Buber.  Through this exploration, I show not just how the Otherness of God can be mediated by the mundane world, but how this same mundane world is available for us to provide an embodied response to God’s incarnated self-disclosure.  Finally, I look at the implications of my conclusions for lay participation in the formal sacraments and other sacramental experiences.

Todd Johnson: “An Anatomy of Theologica Prima
Almost a third of a century ago Aidan Kavanagh proposed that participation worship provides the opportunity for first level of theological reflection, or theologica prima. Since then liturgical theologians have wrestled with the relationship between this first level theological reflection and the later more systematic theological reflection on worship and its relationship to scripture, doctrine, and tradition. This paper instead focuses on the former not the latter. Using the resources of the field of embodied cognition, this paper begins with the assumption that there is theological reflection that occurs in the experience of participating in a liturgical ritual. After introducing some of the basic premises of embodied cognition, it will examine how the concepts of “extended cognition,” “dilated experiences,” and “empathetic mesh” provide both an explanation of how one makes theological sense of a liturgical experience and what insights this offers to the processes of liturgical formation and further theological reflection.

2018 Seminar Agenda

Friday, January 5
10.30-11.45
Discussion of Romano Guardini, The Spirit of the Liturgy led by William Johnston

11.45-noon
Discussion of Jennifer McBride, Radical Discipleship led by Judith Kubicki

1.30-2.30
Discussion of Jennifer McBride, Radical Discipleship led by Judith Kubicki (continued)
2.30-3.00

Discussion of Jan Rippentrop, Eschatological Liturgical Theology: Addressing the Whole Drama of the Christian Life and the Connection to Social Transformation

4.00-4.45
Discussion of Jan Rippentrop, Eschatological Liturgical Theology: Addressing the Whole Drama of the Christian Life and the Connection to Social Transformation (continued)

4.45-5.30
Discussion of Melanie Ross, Evangelical Worship: An American Mosaic

Saturday, January 6
9.30-10.00
Discussion of Melanie Ross, Evangelical Worship: An American Mosaic (continued)

10.00-11.15
Discussion of Joris Geldhof, The 2002 Order of Mass: Incentives for Liturgical Theology

11.15-12.00
Discussion of John Krueger, Singing the Sacrament: Martin Luther's Communion Hymns

1.30-2.00
Discussion of John Krueger, Singing the Sacrament: Martin Luther's Communion Hymns (continued)

2.00-3.00
Selection of new convener and discussion of plans for 2019

Links for books: http://www.crossroadpublishing.com/crossroad/title/spirit-of-liturgy http://fortresspress.com/product/radical-discipleship-liturgical-politics-gospel