Dr. Kelly Kapic Co-Edits "Mapping Modern Theology"
Baker Academic has published Mapping Modern Theology: A Thematic and Historical Introduction, edited by Dr. Kelly Kapic, professor of theological studies, and Dr. Bruce McCormack, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
For Kapic, the motivation for the book came from his years of teaching theology. “Very often, we think the theological conversation stopped several hundred years ago, and so our task is simply to repeat what’s always been said,” says Kapic. “I am someone who greatly values history; I think the early church and especially the Reformation, given our tradition, is of tremendous significance to help us understand the Bible and key ideas. But it is to our detriment to not properly understand the distinctive questions and challenges that have arisen in the last 150 to 200 years.”
Having taught a course on modern theology for a number of years, Kapic came to believe that there was a hole in the literature. A different kind of book was needed. “What’s different about Mapping Modern Theology is that it’s not arranged around theological movements; it’s not arranged around people; it’s arranged around topics.” Kapic hopes that students and professors will find this book helpful “not just in a historical sense, but also in a very rich theological sense.” He hopes they will learn how the conversations have taken shape, how various ideas and theologians relate to one another, and how this background relates to current perspectives.
Kapic invited scholars from around the world to contribute chapters on these vital theological doctrines and debates in recent history. Contributors include Kevin Vanhoozer, John Webster, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Katherine Sonderegger, Telford Work, and Michael Horton. Kapic and McCormack also contributed chapters: Kapic on anthropology and McCormack on the person of Christ.
In addition to drawing inspiration for the book from the classroom, Kapic also sought the feedback of his students when editing the various chapters. “One of the distinctive things I love about being a teacher who has opportunities to write is I love working with students,” says Kapic, who worked on this book for approximately six years. When drafts of chapters came in, he shared them with students of his modern theology course, and shared some of their feedback with the authors. Kapic notes that all of the contributing authors were receptive to, and thankful for, the feedback from such thoughtful students.
Among the Covenant students who helped edit Mapping Modern Theology was Matthew Baddorf ’10, who is currently finishing his second year in a PhD program in philosophy at the University of Rochester, with philosophical interests partly shaped by his classes with Kapic.
“I was rather keen on helping, but busy during my last semester, and promised more thorough comments after I graduated,” says Matthew. “I'm glad Dr. Kapic allowed this, and I got to spend a day or two of an otherwise dreary summer providing line-by-line comments on the drafts I had. My most pleasant memory of working remotely with Dr. Kapic was that he provided me with his own comments on one of the drafts. He knew I was training for an academic career, and wanted me to ‘see the sausage being made.’ I still look back on this experience as important instruction in the professional editing process.”