Incarnation by Thomas F. Torrance (Introduction)

The cover of Torrance's Incarnation

I did a little math the other day.

The average Canadian life-span is sitting just shy of 80 years. I’m 38. If I keep reading at my current pace of a book or so per week, I’ll be able to consume just over 2,000 books this side of the great divide.

With that thought in mind, I try to choose the books I read more carefully than I used to. Instead of raiding second hand book shops to fill the shelves of my library with interesting spines, I want to know that a book is substantial enough to spend my time on. Incarnation is one of those substantial books.

Thomas F. Torrance

In case you don’t know much about Thomas F. Torrance (1913-2007), here are some of the reasons I’m drawn to him:

  1. Deep Thinker. Torrance studied with Karl Barth at Basel and translated Barth’s Church Dogmatics into English.
  2. Biblical Knowledge. I like to know that a systematic theologian is first a Biblical theologian. Torrance translated Calvin’s entire Commentaries into English.
  3. Trinitarian. Torrance is known as a “Theologian of the Trinity,” yet it has been said that his Christology volumes contain his developed doctrine of God. I’m intrigued.
  4. Service. Torrance served the church as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland where he worked towards church unity.
  5. Science. One of Torrance’s major fields of study was the dialogue between science and theology.
  6. Academic. Torrance had ample time to refine his Christological understanding as a professor of Christian Dogmatics at New College, Edinburgh for 27 years.

Incarnation: The Book

Incarnation is the first of a two-volume set which comprises Torrance’s Christology lectures to his students at Edinburgh. The lectures were then edited by Robert T. Walker, an Edinburgh trained philosopher and theologian. Walker has unique insight into T. F. Torrance’s thought since he heard the lectures in person and happens to be T. F. Torrance’s nephew.

As you would expect from a systematic theologian, the chapter structure highly detailed, which makes the overall logic of his argument easy to follow. This is good, since the subject matter is quite dense.

As this series of posts continue I’ll be carefully reading, summarizing and interacting with Torrance’s theology. In doing so I hope not only to remember the material, but to integrate it into my own life and ministry.

I welcome any dialogue the online theologs have to offer. Comments are open!

1.0. Preliminary Matters →

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