Salvation at Yale

Last summer I took a course at Yale Divinity School’s Jonathan Edwards Center on Edwards’ Religious Affections. I enjoyed it very much. This summer I’m considering taking another course there. I was looking through the course offerings, and I came across this:


I gather that the instructor takes a position somewhat different from my own, which wouldn’t be all bad. I’m sure I would have much to learn from him. But what struck me was a little word in the middle of the last paragraph, a brand new coinage, I think. Can you find it?

Instructor: Fred Simmons is assistant professor of ethics at Yale Divinity School. His research and teaching examine the moral implications of Christian theological commitments and the relationships between philosophical and theological ethics. He is completing a book on the ethical and potential esoteriological significance of ecology for contemporary Christians, and is co-editing a volume on love and Christian ethics.

What is “esoteriological significance”? This caught my fancy. It’s apparently some truth about salvation (hence, soteriological) that is available only to the elite few (hence, esoteric). I am not surprised that the predominantly liberal Yale Divinity School would claim knowledge of such truth—or that it would be related to ecology. I’m guessing that salvation, in the liberal view, now comes primarily through reducing your carbon footprint.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

1 Comment

  1. Wesley Barley on May 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Thanks Mark:) That last paragraph is masterfully written:)

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