Okay, first impressions of the new seminars are all good. I read my first words of Von Balthasar in the last hour or so over at the Brew: the beginning of My Work: In Retrospect. I think I'm getting a feel from even that of what Professor Gawronski meant by Von Balthasar being an "intuitive" theologian. His language is already feeling more artistic and literary than philosophical and analytical in form or style. I can already guess how this might resonate with patristic writing more than Rahner did, simply in being affective as well as speculative: theology without the mystic or doxological/worshipful element separated out. I would be very excited to see that become more acceptable in academic theology if we could do it in such a way that it doesn't alienate reader of different methodologies, like the hard and the social sciences. Or maybe just to see it become part of the academic theological constellation, without prejudice.
The Johannine Tradition began this afternoon with the massive planning session for the seminar that I remember from taking Kurz for Luke/Acts last spring. In re-reading the Gospel of John and the letters over the last day or so, I was struck by some different things, particularly in the Gospel how the term "glory" is everywhere in the writing. I'm even toying with that as a research topic. For the short exegeses exercises in the class, I managed to get one of the two passages that I wanted most: I'm going to be looking at Jesus in the Temple (another research topic possibility) in John 7, which has always appealed to me as a scene of overwhelming drama: the sheer audacity of the man to teach and claim the things that he did in the very center and heart of Jewish worship. Iulia beat me to getting the "love" passage of 1 John 4, so I settled for the Thomas story in the resurrection accounts as my second, although I'm still going to enjoy myself. That's a passage I paid quite a bit of attention to in my high school lessons, and I've been meditating on it for some years now. That one is to be a more narrative/canonical bit of criticism, as opposed to the more "historical-critical" approach in the first exegesis.
And I'm already thinking about my research topics instead of waiting until I've "learned more of the field" by the last month of the semester--maybe I'm getting the hang of this grad school thing!