Writer and educator. Has held positions at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton, MN, and the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.
Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings, Paulist Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Thinking of Christ: Proclamation, Explanation, Meaning, Continuum (New York, NY), 2003.
Paul and the Gentile Women: Reframing Galatians, Continuum (New York, NY), 2005.
Writer and educator Tatha Wiley has written three texts within her field of religious and theological studies. Wiley focuses on interpretations of biblical texts in relation to a modern audience. Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings, published in 2002 via Paulist Press, discusses the complicated Christian theological tenet of man's original sin. The doctrine, based upon the biblical writings of Paul the Apostle, states that man is born with inherent sin due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and therefore is not pure but imperfect. As a result, man must seek atonement and grace through God and, in most Christian sects, through the act of baptism. Tracing the origins and chronology of the doctrine, Wiley explores several prominent historical figures including Saint Augustine, whose major contribution includes The Confessions of Saint Augustine, and the religious philosopher Saint Anselm of Canterbury. These two men, both credited as being crucial to the spread and development of Christianity and Catholicism in medieval Europe and the Western world, are central figures in Wiley's text. Original Sin follows the spiritual crisis that followed the fall of the Roman Empire through the formation and rapid growth of the Catholic Church, including the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, and eventually arrives at the modern era. Barbara Pitkin, in her article for Church History, stated that "readers get a hint of both the complexity of Augustine's thinking and the heated medieval debates about the topic of concupiscence." The idea of "concupiscence" reflects the conflicts surrounding the ideology of original sin and insists that there is an innate motivation that lies within the soul. Wiley uses this concept to illustrate the variations and contradictions existing among modern Christian denominations. The survey also includes a section containing feminist perspectives regarding patriarchy and tradition.
Wiley's Thinking of Christ: Proclamation, Explanation, Meaning, a 2003 Continuum Press release, contains essays and contributions from several writers. Lou F. McNeil's review in Theological Studies observed: "The first section, ‘Recovering the Tradition,’ reminds us that soon after Jesus' death the question confronting Christian believers shifted from ‘Who is Jesus?’ to ‘Who are we in relation to the Jews?’ This shift shaped much of what is addressed throughout this collection." McNeil also noted, "The essays here reflect on the human experience of the denial of personhood, sin, suffering, and death," and "the book includes an excellent glossary and index and deserves to be in every graduate and undergraduate library."
Those "coming to a text with a modern interpretative approach can draw out new and relevant insights" from Wiley's Paul and the Gentile Women: Reframing Galatians, published in 2005, according to Library Journal contributor John Jaeger. Wiley explores Christian views regarding the act of circumcision by examining Paul's writings in the New Testament book of Galatians. Don Schweitzer observed that Wiley "begins by asking what circumcision would have meant for gender relations in the Galatian church" in his review for Interpretation. Schweitzer also stated: "Wiley shows how Paul implicitly argues for a community in which gender differences do not translate into hierarchical rankings and exclusions." Furthermore, Ruth B. Edwards wrote in her review for Evangel: "Since circumcision applied to males, who alone were perceived as full members of Israel, this left women as inferior members of the faith community and threatened the understanding of Christian baptism by which women and men were made full members without distinction." In other words, Paul and the Gentile Women explains the clash between Paul and the advocates of classic Jewish law regarding Christian conversion.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Catholic Biblical Quarterly, April 1, 2006, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, review of Paul and the Gentile Women: Reframing Galatians, p. 352.
Choice, November 1, 2005, J.E. Lunceford, review of Paul and the Gentile Women, p. 502.
Church History, December 1, 2003, Barbara Pitkin, review of Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings, p. 883.
Evangel, spring, 2007, Ruth B. Edwards, review of Paul and the Gentile Women, p. 25.
Interpretation, January 1, 2006, Don Schweitzer, review of Paul and the Gentile Women, p. 108.
Library Journal, March 15, 2005, John Jaeger, review of Paul and the Gentile Women, p. 90.
Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2005, review of Paul and the Gentile Women, p. 21.
Theological Studies, September 1, 2004, Lou F. McNeil, review of Thinking of Christ: Proclamation, Explanation, Meaning, p. 662.
Theology, November 1, 2003, Mario Farrigia, review of Original Sin, p. 428.
Theology Today, July 1, 2004, Ronald H. Stone, review of Original Sin, p. 266.
Augsburg Fortress Web site,http://www.augsburgfortress.org/ (May 28, 2008), author profile.
Catholic Books Review,http://www.catholicbooksreview.org/ (May 28, 2008), review of Paul and the Gentile Women.
Church and Synagogue Library Association,http://cslainfo.org/ (May 28, 2008), review of Paul and the Gentile Women.