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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great postmodern primer, 20 Dec. 2005
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Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (Cambridge Companions to Religion) (Paperback)
According to the introduction, 'Postmodernity allows for no absolutes and no essence. Yet theology is concerned with the absolute, the essential.' Not meaning to be postmodern to the extreme, this statement can hardly be taken as an absolute, either in regard to postmodernity or in terms of theological development. So, where does one start?
The definition of postmodernity is difficult to formulate. The modern is more easy to situate, in that it occurs in or after the Enlightenment, and the different developments in intellectual and philosophical areas that that entails. Postmodern, as the name implies, is defined in relation to (and in contrast to) the project of modernity. 'Postmodernity is upsetting, intentionally so. Postmodern thinkers have overturned the table of the knowledge-changers in the university, the temple of modernity, and have driven out the foundationalists,' according to editor Kevin J. Vanhoozer.
The book is divided into two primary parts. In the first part, there are essays by theologians such as Kevin Vanhoozer, Nancey Murphy and Brad Kallenberg, George Hunsinger, Thomas A. Carlson, Graham Ward, David Ray Griffin, Mary McClintock Fulkerson, and D. Stephen Long. These look at different types of theology that might be classified as postmodern - postliberal theology, postmetaphysical theology, deconstructive theology, reconstructive theology, feminist theology, and radical orthodoxy. No one form of theology in this list holds a monopoly on the term postmodern; no one form of theology in this list fully qualifies under all the parameters by which one might judge something to be postmodern. (Vanhoozer playfully comments that there are eight chapters, a sort of eightfold-path to enlightenment.)
In the second part of the book, various aspects of the traditional structure of systematic theology receive a 'postmodern' treatment. Most systematic theologies are divided broadly into sections that look at scripture, tradition, the Trinity, method, God, creation, humanity, Christology, soteriology (salvation), ecclesiology (church), and pneumatology (Holy Spirit). These are drawn together in essays by Vanhoozer, Dan Stiver, David Cunningham, Philip Clayton, John Webster, Walter Lowe, Stanley Grenz, and David Ford.
Prior to this collection, I was very familiar with many of the theologians (Ward, Griffin, Cunningham, Grenz, Ford), and had fleeting acquaintance with the work of many others. They constitute an interesting and diverse group to approach this particular topic - postmodernity as an enterprise eschews the idea of conformity and lock-step methods, and these writers approach their subjects from vastly different areas. For example, David Ray Griffin has been one of the leading lights in the school of process theology, but here writes on reconstructive theology, stating that 'not all process theology is properly called postmodern.' Graham Ward is known to me more as a writer in the area of radical orthodoxy topics, but here is developing the idea of deconstruction a la Derrida as applied to the theological task. Stanley Grenz is on the more conservative side of writers here; I was surprised (in a pleasant way) to see him dealing with the issue of ecclesiology through the lens of narrative theology.
This is a really interesting text, one of the most interesting theology books I've read in a long while. It is a good text for introducing many of the strands of modern, er, I mean postmodern (okay, contemporary) theology in a brief but systematic, clear and accessible manner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 4 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (Cambridge Companions to Religion) (Paperback)
A good read helped in my MA studies
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The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (Cambridge Companions to Religion)
The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (Cambridge Companions to Religion) by Professor Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Paperback - 31 July 2003)
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