Theology: The Jargon That Jars

To christen an idea, jazz musicians invent slang, admen and politicans go for novelty-promising labels ("New Fab," "New Frontier"), art critics pile on prefixes and suffixes ("post-abstractionism"). But it is theology, slicing its concepts fine, that seems to need new lingo most and best knows how to create it. Plain words, knighted with a capital letter, take on reverent meanings; Greek and German syllables, in numbers from two to six, are joined and sent out to intimidate the outsider.

Instead of the emergence of Christianity, younger theologians nowadays speak knowingly of The...

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