The author follows the threads of theology through the twentieth century, examining how Christians have reconciled their myth-filled religious beliefs within a world secularized by Enlightenment criticism and science. To understand how religion keeps its place in Christians' lives, the author writes, we must explore how modern theologians have ansered the question of myth in today's Christianity.
The twentieth century saw a wide variety of theological stands that were often confusing. Gary Dorrien sorts through theological trends by focusing on the notions of Christ and word. He presents the story of recent theology in a narrative style that makes the book ideal for classroom use, integrating the major theologians of the century along with other developments in philosophy and culture.
Gary Dorrien is Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University in New York City. An Episcopal priest, he is the author of eleven books and over one hundred articles that range across the fields of theology, philosophy, social theory, politics, ethics, and history.
Dorrien, who teaches religion at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, weaves a
coherent, accessible and generally persuasive account of the development of
modern theology, arguing that it has been "in crisis for most of its history."
From the opening paragraph of the introduction, he insists that the crisis has
been and continues to be a "crisis of belief." Modern theology emerged with the
question of whether it is possible to sustain Christian faith in the face of
the desacralization of the world by modern science. This desacralization and
disintegration led, according to Dorrien, to a "return of the repressed"
mythological aspects of Christianity on the part of modern theology. The bulk
of the book, however, is devoted to a careful historical account of theological
developments that began with Kant, Hegel and Schleiermacher, continued through
Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann and Emil Brunner, and culminated in Schubert
Ogden's appropriation of Bultmann and the "postmodern" turn of liberation and
feminist theologies. Dorrien's book will appeal to those who share his
commitment to a historical framework within which to understand theology.