One of my colleagues here in Oxford, Johannes Zachhuber, has recently published an important book, entitled Theology as Science in Nineteenth Century Germany, on the ways in which theology was conceptualised as an academic discipline in 19th century German circles, above all in the thought of Ferdinand Christian Baur and Albrecht Ritschl. The book is remarkably lucid, insightful, tightly argued and displays a close and sensitive reading of an impressive number of difficult texts. The results cohere well in a unified thesis chronicling the rise and fall of scientific theology in a fusion of historical and idealist programmes. A book well worth reading and pondering, whose results are important not least for the changing fortunes of the New Testament in academic study.
But don’t just take my word for it. Last month a panel in Oxford, comprised of Graham Ward, Michael Bentley, Sondra Hausner and I discussed the book, with a response from Johannes, hosted by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. You can listen to that exchange here.