Torrey Honors Institute Professor Matt Jenson Releases New Book, “Theology in the Democracy of the Dead”

Matt Jenson’s new book invites readers into the living tradition of theology’s past

Jan. 16, 2020 By Katelyn Moger & Benjamin Vincent

Informed by his work as a theologian and professor at Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute, Matt Jenson recently published a new work exploring major theological contributions of eleven of the Christian tradition’s most influential theologians. His new book, Theology in the Democracy of the Dead — a project 10 years in the making — was informed by the deep and broad reading included in Torrey Honors’ curriculum and takes on the similar unique approach to studying theology.

 

“I wanted to do what we do in Torrey, which is to read the primary material and then do a close reading, and close interpretation of the primary sources and see what I can learn from just listening to those voices,” said Jenson.

 

As a systematic theologian specializing in theological anthropology and ecclesiology, the book is not what one would expect. Where most studies on the history of Christian theology focus either on one theologian or on one doctrine as discussed by various thinkers, Jenson’s work reviews a major theological contribution of 11 historic writers in an in-depth fashion from their individual works.

 

“[I wanted to] get inside the mind of the author and the text and pay as close attention to the words they have written as possible, and try to understand not just what they are doing but why they are doing what they are doing,” said Jenson.

 

He wanted to explain the brushstrokes of each historic writer and why they made those choices to his readers. 

 

The book was an outpouring from his class preparation, leading discussions on primary texts with Torrey Honors students. After reading as much material as he could from a theologian in an English translation, Jenson would write an in-depth lecture for his students, which he began compiling for this book at the suggestion of another faculty member. Jenson consulted experts on each author in order to refine his work. The result is a “guided reading for students and a kind of apprenticeship to these theologians in the work of theology,” Jenson shared.

 

Theology in the Democracy of the Dead is available for purchase on Amazon.

 

 

The Torrey Honors Institute is Biola University’s undergraduate honors program. Founded in 1996, Torrey Honors prioritizes theological education and formation through the reading of great books, group discussions, and one-on-one faculty mentorship. Torrey Honors provides an alternate path for students of any major to complete most of their core curriculum requirements.

 

Learn more about the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola. 

 

Written by Katelyn Moger & Benjamin Vincent. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, assistant director of media relations and strategic communications, at (562) 777-4061 or jenna.loumagne@biola.edu.

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