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By Carl F. Starkloff

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Additional info for A Theology of the In-Between: The Value of Syncretic Process (Marquette Studies in Theology, #33.)

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1~The European Epoch: The Metaxy between 100 and 1300 37 sion and those that arose with the passage of the Church into the northern European tribal cultures. G. Collingwood (1956, 49-50) suggests four characteristics of Christian historiography, which I cite in support of the belief that ongoing syncretic process is a providential one, however flawed by human imperfection. Christian history-writing is thus described as: 1) universal in orientation, 2) guided by providence, 3) discerning of an intelligible pattern in events, and 4) future-oriented toward further epochs and events.

Related to these, there are the further elements of freedom and purpose versus determinism and fate, the unity of the Church under authority (obviously an issue still needing so much attention within the Christian family today), the reality of sin and the hope of redemption, and the “worship practiced by rational creatures” (Romans 12:1) through both prayer and the moral life. ” Given Dawson’s heavily Catholic bias and his perhaps overly optimistic assessment of European unity, one may arguably agree with him on the ultimate unity of medieval culture and medieval religion (Dawson, 1936, xvii).

Passage Let us summarize here the synthetic movement as it passed through the formative stage of the patristic period. It is a process beginning within the Bible itself, which developed the doctrinal content to which all Christians are heirs, regardless of differences of interpretation. Later 34 A Theology of the In-Between in this book, we shall examine a theory of doctrine and how it applies to syncretic process, but at this point it will be of help to pause long enough to restate basic doctrinal points that apply to problems arising in the context of syncretism.

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