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How To Read T. F. Torrance: Understanding His Trinitarian and Scientific Theology Paperback – December 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (December 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556357737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556357732
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
By many accounts Scottish theologian Thomas Forsyth Torrance is the premier English speaking theologian of the latter half of the 20th century (as Bruce McCormack of Princeton Seminary would describe him). Though retired for several years from the University of Edinburgh, Torrance's literary output continues, most recently with his book on the Triune God. Torrance is well read in many fields and wears his erudition easily. His language is evangelistic, but dense, indeed sometimes quite difficult, and he often needs re-reading and patient reflection. Torrance aims for a complete re-viewing of the world on the part of the reader, a complete epistemological transformation--so that the reader follows him into seeing the Triune God and the world, and humanity's place in it differently. Perhaps his most enduring gift is the beautifully developed idea of the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ--and of our inclusion in God's life through our union with Christ. Colyer, here, slowly and carefully draws the reader into Torrance's thought and does so systematically--and quite nicely. Colyer's book is helpful, indeed, I would say indispensable for the interested Torrance reader. There is really nothing else comparable. I would recommend it highly. In addition I would also recommend Alister McGrath's biography of Torrance.
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Format: Paperback
Thomas F Torrance is a prolific and complex theologian. You sense he is probably the foremost English speaking theologian of our day, but he is hard to read. Not only has he contributed books and articles by the hundreds, his profound thoughts and his compact and dense prose demands careful reading and reflection. Colyer does well to elicit and organize key elements of Torrance's theology. Why is Torrance so significant a theologian? His commitment to a holistic understanding of the whole, not so much by systematic analysis as by recognising the significance of the linkages of internal and external relationships, speaks satisfyingly to a postmodern world disillusioned by analytical and dualistic ways of thinking. But also, on that basis, Torrance has taken a fresh look at the Trinity and the internal relationships of the Trinity and then their relationships and role with humanity. His development of Christ's mediatorial role as one in essence and in his intrinsic relationship with the Father (homoousios)and his total identification ("hypostatic union") with fallen humanity, is both soul refreshing and hope enduing. We need this emphasis and understanding of the Trinity and of the manward-Godward mediatorial salvific ministry of Jesus Christ. This is important and pertinent theology for the church in our generation, and seems to be even more so as we see and hear an abstract and remote deism espoused and projected in the interfaith memorial and prayer services following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
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I believe T. F. Torrance to be a very important theologian for our time, even though my impression is that interest in him is waning. His main contribution is in the area of the cross-fertilization of theology and science (which happens to be my own focus, but at a more prosaic level). He was directly mentored by Karl Barth and helped edit many of Barth's Church Dogmatics volumes. Like Barth, Torrance seems (from my perspective) to have a overly accomodating view of salvation, but otherwise he is very evangelical and his Christology is profoundly Christ-honoring.

The primary problem with Torrance is that his many books/articles are hard to comprehend. He touches on many topics, does not fully develop each, he makes very broad statements, has little concrete Biblical citations, etc. Yet he has a great deal of substance to offer, is a highly original and profound thinker, is an excellent tonic for the overly-analytical approaches of today's church and seminaries, and makes major strides in instituting the cross-fertilization of science and theology. Also, like Barth, it is obvious that his theology is practiced, not just an academic study like too many theologians. My own surmise is that Torrance is so hard to read because he adopts and strongly emphasizes integrative rather than analytic descriptions. The problem with this is that everything is mixed together and the individual topics are not separately developed. For me, as I've read Torrance's works it was very fustrating trying to build understanding (but recently it has begun to jell).

Colyer attempts to prepare the reader for tackling Torrance's writtings by summarizing his positions and suggesting study strategies.
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For the theologians among us. Not your easy read.
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A much needed guide to understand Torranse's scientific take on the Bible.
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