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.