In the starting points of this chapter, Yaghjian throws introductory questions such as what a theological essay is and how to write it. To answer the “starting points” questions, she defines what essay is in common understanding to relate its structure to “the basis theological essay structure” (61). However, in writing essays, purposeful writing is essential with the significant characteristic of “purpose, subject, structure, style, voice, and audience” and expressing these characteristic in his/her own thinking with the intention of “personal, formal and academic purposes” (61).
Yaghjian takes the readers to the definition of “theological essay” and the purpose of theologians who write them. To consider theological essay, readers must understand what kind of essay are theological essay. After observing Paul Tillich, for Yaghjian, essay is with questions or issues in “systematic way” and answering the questions or issues with the assistant of rich historical Christian tradition sources. In the same time, a good essay writer engages with the readers in a conversation format while writing essays. The author introduces different kinds of theological essay and she instructs how to write this kind of theological essay. To have a comprehensive writing theological essay, she gives two “subspecies”: “critical theological essay and constructive theological essay” where these two have different purpose and goal in each way of writing.
Writing “a critical theological essay” is giving a critique to “nontheological material” (e.g. Film or current global ethical issues) in the light of theological perspectives. Yaghjian helps to identify the “rhetorics of the critical theological essay” in which she emphasizes on explaining the elements of this essay: “a problematic, an exposition, a criticism, and an interpretation” (64) which all are essential in writing a critical theological essay paper. However, careful reading and understanding take a vital role in writing a critical paper or a critique. The two sample outlines of theological summary help to see vividly methods of writing theological essays and she inserts each “element” to give an eye opening on what a critical theological essay looks alike. In sum, Yaghjian gives a good comprehensive example of how to write theological book review and its outline, including an outline theological critique.
Yaghjian explains constructive theological essay as “integration of rhetorical and theological process” (71) and she gives an instruction on how to write this essay. Theologians form their theology with this kind of essay and construct their theologies with careful observation. Both contemporary systematic theologians and classical systematic theologians expose their theology.Yaghjian also deals on “rhetoric of a constructive theological essay” and their ways of formation in writing it, here, she emphasis relating each category in essay with a clear logical connection with it. In this...