Skip to Main Content

Jessie Ball duPont Library

Sewanee School of Theology Library Guide

Gathering of information especially for the students at the School of Theology

2022 Annual Lectures with Dr. Mark Jordan, Harvard Divinity School


The Word After Babel—Writing Theology Here and Now


Whether you preach sermons or listen to them, whether you pray to God in the language of the Prayer Book or in silence, whether you prefer religious poetry or academic prose, in every case theological decisions impact how we speak to and about God. In a series of three lectures, Dr. Mark Jordan will guide us through the ways in which the Anglican and Episcopal tradition shapes our common language, and our understanding of God. Dr. Jordan writes:

Anglicans have typically claimed, as a biblical principle, that public prayer and the ministry of sacraments should occur in “a language as the people understandeth.” Applied to “the English tongue,” the commitment has called forth vivid translations of scripture and eloquent prayerbooks, surrounding them with libraries of devotional poetry, affecting hymnody, and robust preaching. Not a few Anglicans boast of their vernacular—or, at least, their versions of English.

Jordan shares their impulse, but feels more strongly the press of basic questions. How are theologians obliged by the many common languages of our verbose present? Which “people” do they address—and how exactly will they help them to “understand”? The lectures will cover three topics:

  • Theological Style and Beauty’s Revolutions

  • Theological Prophecy and the Risk of Slogans

  • Theological Silences or the Smallness of Writing

Each lecture will focus on the tensions in more recent Anglican writing around one topic. Taken together, the lectures will interpret “Anglican” loosely—as befits one of the great indefinables. Pursuing examples of common language about the divine, the lectures will also cut across some academic boundaries, commend some questions, and suggest some conversation partners. The rest is, as must be, up to the listener.

The lectures are available by request only and can only be used with the author's permission. To consult a copy of the lectures, please email Romulus D. Stefanut at: