on 2 November 2007
Are you one of those people who has picked up Milbank's 'Theoloy and Social Theory' or Pickstock's 'After Writing' and wondered what on earth the author is trying to say? You are not alone. A friend of mine has just asked me to find a good home for his recently purchased copy of TST having got stuck on page 1. I am going to buy him a copy of this fantastic, clear and intelligent book by Steven Shakespeare.
In fact, Radical Orthodoxy is trying to say something interesting - even if its authors appear to be trying to keep it a secret. For those like me who have been hoping for a lucid but critical introduction to Radical Orthodoxy, Steven Shakespeare's book is just the ticket. Radically orthodox theology is written in a deliberately complicated and opaque style that makes no conessions to the non-specialist reader. Until now it has been all but impossile for outsiders to understand what RO is about, why it has had such appeal among academic theologians, and what its strengths and weaknsses are. Shaespeare makes easy work of setting out the arguments of RO in an orderly and intelligible fashion (and each chapter ends with a handy bullet-point summary) At the end of the book Shakespeare highlights four areas in which the truth and value of RO should be challenged.
Shakespeare pushes over the smoke and mirrors game that creates the mystique of Radical Orthodoxy and shows us what is really going on. And what is going on is important - but not nearly as earth-shattering as Milbank et al would have us believe.