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The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture (Wiley Blackwell Guides to Theology) Hardcover – December 9, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Wiley Blackwell Guides to Theology
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (December 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405106980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405106986
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Kelton Cobb draws on insights from a variety of disciplines to provide us with a ground-breaking theological investigation of popular culture. Offering a highly nuanced alternative to both the elite despisers and the uncritical celebrants, he probes the ways in which profound spiritual impulses are often at work just below the surface of popular culture. This book will serve as an important reference point for all future studies in this increasingly important field.” Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary


“What makes this theologically-informed analysis so useful is Cobb's creative engagement with popular culture that is theoretically grounded in cultural studies as well as theological studies. This strikes me as a major contribution to the cultural study of religions and the theological study of cultures. ” Gary Laderman, Emory University

"There is much to commend in Cobb's book. It is well-written, it is grounded in careful scholarship (and an evident love for the subject), and it makes some very stimulating connections between theology and popular culture... The book will be particularly useful for theology students who are new to the discipline of cultural studies and will find it valuable in beginning to make connections between their existing theological knowledge and the study of popular culture." Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol 21, No 3

Review

“Kelton Cobb draws on insights from a variety of disciplines to provide us with a ground-breaking theological investigation of popular culture. Offering a highly nuanced alternative to both the elite despisers and the uncritical celebrants, he probes the ways in which profound spiritual impulses are often at work just below the surface of popular culture. This book will serve as an important reference point for all future studies in this increasingly important field.” Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary


“What makes this theologically-informed analysis so useful is Cobb's creative engagement with popular culture that is theoretically grounded in cultural studies as well as theological studies. This strikes me as a major contribution to the cultural study of religions and the theological study of cultures. ” Gary Laderman, Emory University

"There is much to commend in Cobb's book. It is well-written, it is grounded in careful scholarship (and an evident love for the subject), and it makes some very stimulating connections between theology and popular culture... The book will be particularly useful for theology students who are new to the discipline of cultural studies and will find it valuable in beginning to make connections between their existing theological knowledge and the study of popular culture." Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol 21, No 3


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Theology critic on July 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best book on Theology and Popular Culture. Religious language and images pop up everywhere. In a systematic way one learns about the sheer range of different mechanisms through which religious language is found in music, film, and plays.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Paszak on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kelton Cobb's introduction to theology and popular culture is a well thought out attempt of interpreting voices in popular culture in light of contemporary scholarship. It is organized in two parts, the first reflecting on theories on popular culture and the second expositing theologies of popular culture.

He begins by giving some historical and social context to the rise of popular culture (ch. 1), and then he introduces some of the major concepts in the study of popular culture, specifically coming from Frankfurt school and the Birmingham Center with their (post)Marxist critical analysis (ch. 2). In chapter 3, he reviews major attitudes and approaches the church has historically used to approach culture, depicted by Turtullian (avoidance), Augustine (engagement), and Paul Tillich.

Paul Tillich is particularly important for Cobb's approach. Paul Tillich taught at the Frankfurt school and had close association with notable scholars there (e.g., Adorno, Horkheimer, and Lowenthal). His appropriation of that scholarship inspired his writings, and consequently practically invented the discipline of Theology and Culture. Cobb utilizes the distinction in Tillich's project between Religion1 - being the expressions of a culture's orientation towards transcendence and ultimate concern, and Religion2 - the specific religious institutions. In chapter 4, Cobb introduces the theological tools used to approach poplar culture, such as Ultimate Concern, Myth, Revelation, Ecstasy, etc. He introduces a notion of Religion3 - which are specifically religious expressions or symbols that have been absorbed into popular culture.

Chapters 5-9 make up the second part of the book . He utilizes the insights mentioned in the first part and reviews the themes of Images of God (ch.
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Format: Paperback
When reading this book, The Blackwell Guide to Theology of Popular Culture, I couldn't help but having conflicting feelings. The points that Kelton Cobb makes are very amusing. The chapters are grouped together in such a way that the book, though long, is easy to read. There is not a lot of previous knowledge that is required when reading Cobb. Many theological texts require a PhD in theology in order to properly understand them. Cobb deals with many famous pop culture movies in order to illustrate his points. I think this is a great way to actually assess the basic ideas of theology and culture in today's context. Very few authors are able to express the theories of our culture in a way that people can understand. This book was written about popular culture using techniques from popular culture that enable an average reader to understand the concepts at hand. I really liked his use of television and music and there ideas about the nature of God and man as well as other aspects of religious ideology.

I had to read this book for part of a Cultural Engagement class and I could not have been happier with the professor's selection. There are many times that things are pulled out of context or defined in a way to suit the author's own agenda without actually examining the culture accurately. In regards to the use of this book as a tool to understanding popular culture, I would have to say that this is definitely a great addition to any culture and theology course. Many of the textbooks that have defined culture and theology are from a past decade where the authors use popular culture that is not relevant for this time period. While the 1950's were a great time period, the applicability of some of the ideals of theology and culture are not appropriate for this time period.
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