DS9010 Research Methods and Design Aung, James Hatun
Summary (Yaghjian, Chapter 1) January 24, 2013
Lucretia B. Yaghjian’s book, “Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers” consists of three parts. The first part contains four chapters, the second part has two chapters and the third part has four chapters. I will summarize in this paper the first part of the first chapter, entitled as “Writing Theology Well in Its Own Context.” Yaghjian begins every chapter with “a starting point” and concludes the chapter with “a concluding reflection” which helps the readers to understand where is the chapter heading to. This chapter focuses on “the sociorhetorical Context of Writing Theology,” this gives “a summary of theological writing” and surveys of well-known theological study approach.
This book, first required readers not just to read books and earn knowledge of how to write, but it encourages readers to start to write while reading this book. Yaghjian suggests a concrete, clear way to begin to write good theology, thus, to write well is just to start writing it (4). To answer the fundamental question of “what is writing and why do people write?” Yaghjian attempts to answer under the title of “the Sociorhetorical Context of Writing Theology.” To sum up the answer, people write “to communicate people” (5), passing the information “across time and space” (5), because writer has intention to leave behind to his audience.
In sociorhetorical context of writing theology, asking the right questions is essential, for examples: asking the author “who,” asking the subjects as “what” and inquiring the audience as “to whom” and finding the purpose of the letter as “why.” At one point, asking those questions help us to understand the purpose of our writing, Yaghjian emphasizes to write “purposefully” as theological seminary students. Writers write as a person and this writing is also personal which include “contextual, social, historical and political” (6). Writing has process, process of thinking, evaluating, and recalling experience, thus, in order to write well theology with a good process and the right purpose, we understand what is theology and “why theologians” are writing their theology.
To understand what theology is and the purpose of theologians in their writings, Yaghjian attempts to answer the meaning of theology as “thinking, speaking and writing about God” (6). The author also introduces what the others theologians define “theology” such as tackling the definition of theology by Paul Tillich, Rebecca Chopp, Roger Haight, and Rowan Williams. In fact, doing theology is not only writing theology, but also includes speaking theology, however, these both cannot be separated from each other, they both should go together. However, speaking theology is “invisible ink” which disappears after a while, but writing theology is essential which cannot disappear, but remain in history, so we need to more focus on...