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Postliberal Theology and the Church Catholic: Conversations with George Lindbeck, David Burrell, and Stanley Hauerwas
Baker Academic / 2012 / Paperback
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George Linbeck's The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Post-Liberal Age touched previously unnoticed raw nerves in the world of theology but in many ways influenced it for the better. Theologians, from all sides, had negative reactions as it seemed Linbeck's work was proposing a theology based on general theories of religion rather than traditional resources. Yet, for whatever its affects, Linbeck's influence, and those who were influenced by him have to be powerful voices in the late modern church.
But where, exactly, does "postliberal theology" sit in relation to the broader universal church? That is precisely the question this book addresses. Seeking to carve out a definitive space for postliberal theology in the church, with its emphases on language, ressourcement, and rearticulating the "Tradition of the Great Church", Postliberal Theology and the Church Catholic explores how postliberal thinkers address the problem of the visible unity of the universal church in all of its manifestations. How does it address the twin problems ecumenicity and ecclesiology in light of events such as Vatican II and the titanic shifts in Western Culture since the 1960s?
This book addresses these issues through three deeply insightful interviews with George Linbeck, David Burrell, and Stanley Hauerwas. Context is provided by John Wright, who also edits the interviews in an introductory chapter covering the significance and development of postliberal theology since 1984 and Linbeck's aforementioned The Nature of Doctrine. A broader ecclesial and theological context is also provided by Wright who traces what he calls "silent shifting tectonic plates" of the church and its relationship to theology since the 1960s. Finally, each interview covers the theological development of Hauerwas, Burrell, and Lindbeck while also drawing the significance of their theology for the church universal.
Scholars and students who wish to study the changing shape of ecclesial and ecumenical relationships, the nature of the church, or the significance of postliberal theology will find this to be a valuable and insightful volume.
How does postliberalism relate to Roman Catholic theology? More specifically, how reliant is postliberalism on what happened at Vatican II? This volume centers on conversations with three of the most important North American theologians in the last half of the twentieth century--George Lindbeck, David Burrell, and Stanley Hauerwas--to examine the Roman Catholic roots of postliberal theology. After two opening chapters by John Wright, the book includes three chapters based on interviews with each theologian, followed by a dialogue between them and a conclusion by Wright. This work not only offers insight into the contingent histories of three seminal theologians but also places postliberal theology within the broader stream of the great tradition of the church.
A powerful and much-needed defense of Christian 'postliberalism' as central to the unity of the church catholic...Wright shows how the words of Lindbeck, Hauerwas, and Burrell serve as best witness for the defense, and his own words brilliantly join theirs to the ressourcement of Congar and de Lubac...Wright's book marks a new day (and new names) for 'postliberal' theology, now Protestant and Catholic, and more urgent than ever. The book is amazing.
Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia
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