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Doing Theology in the university use none none generating topaint none in none Specific Terms for GS1 Barcodes put it, univocall none for none y he called them categories . Now suppose Aristotle is suf ciently right that we can, just by way of example, distinguish how things can differ quantitatively (one thing is six foot long, another ve foot) from how they differ qualitatively (one thing is blue, another red); then we have thus far an at least plausible logic for distinguishing between those differences which can stand in relations of exclusion from one another and those between which no such relations can obtain. For a thing s being six foot long excludes its being ve foot long, for they differ as lengths do; and a thing s being blue excludes its being red, for they differ as colours do.

But its being ve foot long cannot either entail or exclude its being red or blue, nor vice versa. Hence, if we are in possession of some such logical apparatus, then we are in command of some sort of distinction between pro table and settleable, and unpro table and unsettleable, forms of disagreement which, to simplify, will be the difference between difference and diversity. It does not matter, for our purposes, how Aristotle got himself this apparatus for distinguishing difference from diversity.

Nor does it matter whether he got it right. What matters to us is how we might get for ourselves a comparable apparatus which will equip us to distinguish between pro table and unpro table theological disagreement, between difference and diversity as between religions, between beliefs in mutual exclusion of one another and simple heterogeneity of belief. And here again I think we must resist the temptations of the a priori.

I am inclined to think, in a vaguely Wittgensteinian fashion, of faith traditions as forming a sort of family. Historically, of course, some of them are like family members in having a common parentage, as the Abrahamic religions have, and as, loosely, Hinduism and Buddhism have. In other cases, as in many modern families, step-parentage will have to do, at best.

But it was not that sort of genealogical analogy with families that I had in mind but that feature of families with which, being myself the seventh of nine exceptionally opinionated siblings, I am perhaps more than commonly conscious, which consists in their engagement in a certain kind of argument. You can tell any two or more members of my family from what we argue about and how we do it, and in what sort of language we embody our disagreements: as with others, so with Turners, eadem est scientia oppositorum there is a Turner-like territory of disagreement. Of course the analogy is only partial.

But for what it is worth, the analogy holds thus far that, as with families, so with faiths, pursuing disagreements is as productive a way as any of establishing both what common ground there is which makes our disagreements possible and pro table and where there is, on the contrary, but diversity, difference of a kind such that nothing is gained from. denys turner trying to settle t none for none he matter, but can lead only to blows. If eadem est scientia oppositorum, then let us seek out that true oppositio on the ground of which will lie the eadem scientia. Thereby we will, I guess, discover the family of theologians: it is the kinship of those who occupy the common territory of theological disagreement, of those who know how to disagree about God.

So I say: if you want to do theology then argue. Argue where you know there is disagreement; argue where you are unsure there is disagreement, as being the best way of nding out where difference is disagreement, or, on the other hand, pure alterity. Do you know whether your saying God is a trinity of persons and a Muslim s saying God is one is like saying God is red, not blue; or is it more like saying God is red, not six foot long Is what the Muslim af rms by way of divine oneness that which is denied by the Christian s Trinity Well, argue with the Muslim in order to nd out, for you may nd that you disagree as much (if not more) with some members of your own faith tradition than with Muslims or Jews.

You may, of course, also have to argue about how properly to argue about such matters, for you may nd you disagree also about the nature of our disagreements, as with a group of Birmingham theologians I discovered a year or so ago in debate with some Ayatollahs in Tehran. But that just adds to the fun of nding out just which your family is. So here I come to one of two conclusions about the place of Theology within the university, this rst one having to do with the curricular organisation of this subject.

As you can gather, I am not at all happy with the nomenclature of Religious Studies , nor with the idea of it, if only because the widely established practice current in most UK universities in which the disciplines are taught and studied is intellectually and, as it seems to me, also morally, indefensible, whereby if it is Christian it can be taught as and called Theology , whereas if it is Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist, then it is taught as and must be called Religious Studies . This is not a charmingly English, hence innocent, incoherence: it is an arrogant and patronising insult on the part of one, offered to all the other, major world faith traditions. On the other hand, teach them all from the inside as Theology, at least in a broad sense as making contestable truth-claims, and so as argumentativa, then you generate an agenda of questions which is not some arti cial construct of theoretical questions you could ask if you happened to want to, but a set of questions you are constrained to ask, whether you want to or not.

I really do believe that you ought to do only such theology as you cannot avoid doing without intellectual dishonesty; and I rather think.
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