philosophy

Craig Bartholomew: Know the Epistemological Cone to Your Theological Ice Cream

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Craig Bartholomew, Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University College, visited Southeastern Seminary in 2017. In this Library Talk, he discusses how to be a well rounded scholar.

Which Christian philosophers should you know? What is epistemology, and why does it matter? And why should you know the history of your discipline? Bartholomew discusses all of these questions and more. Watch the video above, or read a few excerpts below.


Epistemology is how to go about knowing something so you can trust the results of the knowing process.

What is epistemology, and why does it matter?

“Epistemology is how to go about knowing something so you can trust the results of the knowing process. Do you know what that means? There is not a class you take at Southeastern where there is not some epistemology at work….

“Do you know what the problem is? Too many profs wouldn’t be able to tell you what the epistemology is, and too many students wouldn’t know to ask what the epistemology at work is….

“Epistemology, at the deep level, is shaping the pedagogy.”

There is an epistemological cone to your theological ice cream.

“If you’re called to be a philosopher, be a philosopher. If you’re called to biblical studies, pastoral work or theology, be aware there is a cone to your ice cream. Don’t obsess about the cone. But make sure you’ve got a healthy cone that can support the best work in biblical studies or theology.”

Know the story of your discipline.

“Whatever discipline you’re majoring in, you ought to be able to tell the history of your discipline… because that will alert you to what forces and ideologies and presuppositions have shaped it to what it is today. “

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