Reinventing Liberal Christianity  -     By: Theo Hobson
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Reinventing Liberal Christianity

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2013 / Hardcover

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In this provocative book Theo Hobson addresses head-on the current crisis of liberal Christianity. In past years liberal Christianity challenged centuries of authoritarian tradition and had great political influence. It played a major role in the founding of the United States and gave rise to the secular liberalism we see today. But liberal Christianity today is widely dismissed as a watering-down of the faith, and more conservative forms of Christianity are increasingly dominant. Can the liberal Christian tradition recover its influence?

Writing in a lively journalistic style, Hobson puts forth a bold theory about why liberal Christianity collapsed and how it can be reinvented. He argues that a simple revival is not possible because liberal Christianity actually consists of two traditions--a good tradition that must be salvaged and a bad tradition that must be repudiated. Reinventing Liberal Christianity untangles these two traditions with a fascinating survey of Christian thought from its origins to the present and, further, aims to transform Christianity through a discriminating rediscovery of liberal faith and cultic ritual.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802868401
ISBN-13: 9780802868404

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Publisher's Description

In this provocative book Theo Hobson addresses the current crisis of liberal Christianity. In past years liberal Christianity challenged centuries of authoritarian tradition and had great political influence. It played a major role in the founding of the United States and gave rise to the secular liberalism that we take for granted. But liberal Christianity today is widely dismissed as a watering-down of the faith, and more conservative forms of Christianity are increasingly dominant. Can the liberal Christian tradition recover its influence?

Hobson puts forth a bold theory about why liberal Christianity collapsed and how it can be reinvented. He argues that a simple revival is not possible, because liberal Christianity consists of two traditions -- a good tradition that must be salvaged and a bad tradition that must be repudiated. Reinventing Liberal Christianity untangles these two traditions with a fascinating survey of Christian thought from the Reformation to the present and, further, aims to transform liberal Christianity through the rediscovery of faith and ritual.

Author Bio

Theo Hobson is a British theologian and journalist who haswritten for The Guardian, TheSpectator, and The Times LiterarySupplement. His other books include Milton'sVision: The Birth of Christian Liberty.

Endorsements

Theo Hobson is as well-qualified as anyone to set about the task of reinventing liberal Christianity. In this remarkable, wise, and incisive book he sets about that task with outstanding skill, presenting us with an accessible and arresting argument that is as compelling as it is convincing.
-Martyn Percy,
University of Oxford

This is an ambitious work that deals with central issues in contemporary public life and does so by delving into past and present theological debates...It covers a wide range of sources, theological and secular, spanning the modern period, and Hobson's style, as ever, combines clarity, boldness, and a certain dispatch with a good grasp of the material.
-George Pattison,
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Hobson presents a lively, timely, theologically informed, and historically grounded argument for the compatibility of a sacramental Christianity with the traditions of the liberal state.
-David Martin,
London School of Economics

For Christians who appreciate living in a liberal state and despair at 'postliberal' theology's easy dismissal of it, this book is a delight. It argues for a robust version of liberal Christianity that affirms the communal and cultic aspects of Christianity, but does not neglect the individual and the institutions that protect his or her freedom.
-Linda Woodhead,
Lancaster University

A provocative and brilliantly written attempt to rejuvenate liberal Christianity against its many despisers. Equally well-read in the history of liberal politics and in theology, Hobson presents a nuanced account of a series of complex developments in church and state. In his wide-ranging analysis he articulates a humane form of liberalism that roots liberal politics and its greatest achievement, the secular state, in critical theology. Unlike many liberals, however, Hobson does not maintain a vague rationalism or deism but emphasizes the importance of religious and cultic practice. This is an uncompromising book about the indispensable relationships between liberalism and religion, and it poses a deeply needed challenge to theologians of all stripes.
-Mark D. Chapman,
University of Oxford

Editorial Reviews

Booklist (STARRED review)
"This book is so engrossing and so illuminating that it is a must-read for everyone concerned with the future of Christianity and the liberal state."

Martyn Percy
-- University of Oxford
"Theo Hobson is as well-qualified as anyone to set about the task of reinventing liberal Christianity. In this remarkable, wise, and incisive book he sets about that task with outstanding skill, presenting us with an accessible and arresting argument that is as compelling as it is convincing."

George Pattison
-- Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
"This is an ambitious work that deals with central issues in contemporary public life and does so by delving into past and present theological debates. . . . It covers a wide range of sources, theological and secular, spanning the modern period, and Hobson’s style, as ever, combines clarity, boldness, and a certain dispatch with a good grasp of the material."

David Martin
-- London School of Economics
"Hobson presents a lively, timely, theologically informed, and historically grounded argument for the compatibility of a sacramental Christianity with the traditions of the liberal state."

Linda Woodhead
-- Lancaster University
"For Christians who appreciate living in a liberal state and despair at 'postliberal' theology’s easy dismissal of it, this book is a delight. It argues for a robust version of liberal Christianity that affirms the communal and cultic aspects of Christianity, but does not neglect the individual and the institutions that protect his or her freedom."

Mark D. Chapman
-- University of Oxford
"A provocative and brilliantly written attempt to rejuvenate liberal Christianity against its many despisers. Equally well-read in the history of liberal politics and in theology, Hobson presents a nuanced account of a series of complex developments in church and state. In his wide-ranging analysis he articulates a humane form of liberalism that roots liberal politics and its greatest achievement, the secular state, in critical theology. Unlike many liberals, however, Hobson does not maintain a vague rationalism or deism but emphasizes the importance of religious and cultic practice. This is an uncompromising book about the indispensable relationships between liberalism and religion, and it poses a deeply needed challenge to theologians of all stripes."

Anglican & Episcopal History
"Very interesting and deserves a close reading."
 

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