Joanna Leidenhag, "Two Accounts of Scientific Trinitarian Theology: Comparing Wolfhart Pannenberg's and T. F. Torrance's Theological Methodology," Heythrop Journal 57, 6 (2016): 935-949
Leidenhag, Joanna. "Two Accounts of Scientific Trinitarian Theology: Comparing Wolfhart Pannenberg's and T. F. Torrance's Theological Methodology." Heythrop Journal 57, 6 (2016): 935-949
Wolfhart Pannenberg and T.F. Torrance have both been pioneering figures in interdisciplinary dialogue between systematic theology and the natural sciences1; they both play an influential role in contemporary understandings of ‘theology as a science of God’.2 Both subscribe to a realist, trans-rational (i.e., rationality is the same in all areas of human enquiry), and ‘scientific’ picture of what theology is and how it should operate. In the case of Pannenberg, this approach may be seen as a response to William Bartley’s charge of irrationalism, or the growing view that theology is irrelevant in the academic milieu.3 In resisting such a charge, Pannenberg and Torrance provide important arguments for how theology can and should be considered a relevant, rational and realistic area of enquiry in contemporary society – both in the sense of scientific realism, that a hypothesis correctly relates to phenomena, and in the sense of being realistic about the limitations of human knowledge. It is therefore against the criteria of relevance, rationality and realism that this paper will evaluate Pannenberg’s and Torrance’s theological methodologies. In fact, despite their common endeavour, the nature and function of ‘scientific theology’ varies considerably between the two; it is because of this unity-in- difference that a comparison of their methodologies is fruitful.