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Christology and Science Paperback – June 9, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A clear and imaginative attempt to address some of the central tasks in Christology by employing conceptual resources from the natural sciences, this book deserves close attention.' David Fergusson, Professor of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK LeRon Shults here offers one of the first comprehensive accounts of the relevance of science for contemporary Christology, and vice versa. At once a multifaceted and highly accessible book. Niels Henrik Gregersen, Copenhagen University, Denmark In this exemplary engagement between Christian theology and contemporary science, via specific case studies involving evolutionary biology, cultural anthropology and physical cosmology, LeRon Shults has offered profound, new insights into a Christology for our time. In the process he has engaged some of the leading figures in "theology and science." This book is part of Shults's wider project of reforming Christian theology in dialogue with such philosophical areas as epistemology, ethics and metaphysics. It is essential reading for scholars and laypersons alike who are passionate about 'theology and science.' Robert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, USA Christology and Science brings together two topics that for many have nothing to do with each other. In his learned and innovative new book Shults shows how philosophy and contemporary science can help Christians rethink the core of their belief, that is, the "science" of Christ. There is much to learn from his creative proposal for theologians and those involved in the dialog between religion and science. Alan G. Padgett, Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary; editor, Journal for Christian Theological Research Shults' book on 'Reforming Christology' is a fascinating attempt to break new ground for contemporary Christian thinking. It is clearly written and carefully argued and through its interdisciplinary approach provides challenging reinterpretations which allow for new ways of articulating the significance of Christ. Dirk Evers, Director of Studies and Research at the FORUM SCIENTIARUM, University of Tuebingen, Germany '... a fascinating attempt to break new ground for contemporary Christian thinking. It is clearly written and carefully argued and through its interdisciplinary approach prepares the way to reinterpretations of the significance of Jesus Christ.' ESSSAT News '... Shults' work is a fine starting point for appreciating the radical nature of the challenges in articulating a contemporary Christology.' Theological Book Review 'It is a great joy [...] to welcome the publication of LeRon Shults's Christology and Science, a learned, clear and bold engagement between key dimensions of the Christian experience of God in Christ and recent developments in the sciences. ... I believe that this book does break new ground in Christology. It is well structured and comprehensive in its scope. The three main chapters on the incarnation, atonement and parousia each deal with a fundamental area of Christology, and Shults shows how each area is challenged by recent scientific insights and how each is open to creative new developments in dialogue with science and philosophy. This book is one that I would recommend to all those working in the area of Christology, as well as all those interested in the contemporary conversation between science and theology.' Ars Disputandi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

F. LeRon Shults is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Agder, Norway. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (June 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802862489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802862488
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway.

www.leronshults.typepad.com

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Marston on July 29, 2008
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In his latest effort in reforming Christian theology in dialogue with contemporary scientific and philosophical perspectives, LeRon Shults focuses on Christology in light of science (broadly concieved). The book is structured similarly to Shults' "Reforming" though is significantly more brief. In three case studies, Shults explores a particular area of interdisciplinary interest, narrows the focus into specific philosophical challenges, highlights the work of a few relevant thinkers, and rounds off each case study with his own perspective. Shults covers an astonishing amount of ground (who else can explain and critique John Milbank in five sentences?) without leaving the reader behind. He is at his best when he explores the often-overlooked philosophical and metaphysical commitments involved in traditional theological explanations of incarnation, atonement, and parousia. This book is essential reading for all who think Christological formulations need reforming, but who desire to preserve the intuitions of previous efforts. Shults indeed challenges some cherished Christian positions, but without the self-styled radicality of a John Shelby Spong. He does not dispense with Christian orthodoxy, but expresses it in reformative ways.

My main criticism of the book is the brevity of Shult's summary/constructive section at the end of each case study. He covers various issues, perspectives, and proposals in earlier parts of the chapter and it is not always clear what he wants to bring forward into his own analysis. For instance, in the section on parousia, Shults says, "Even if we are critical of the methodological and metaphysical assumptions that guide some of these interdisciplinary proposals, we can appreciate..." (p. 143), but does not offer any actual criticisms. This is consistent with the book's presentation not as a final or complete perspective, but as a gesture toward further possibilities.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 22, 2009
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REVIEW:

LeRon Shults has provided a book that is resourceful and challenging for those serious about theology, and especially enjoyable for those with an interest in science. This book offers awareness of the hermeneutical challenges involved in understanding Christological doctrine in conversation with contemporary science. His careful articulation of the reconstructive task of Christology reveals a refreshing philosophical depth. Moreover, his exposition of the sciences are as interesting as they are relevant.

In the first chapter, Shults addresses the issues involved with reforming Christology. In the following three chapters, he outlines categories that have historically shaped discourses regarding the incarnation (chapter 2), atonement (chapter 3), and parousia (chapter 4) of Christ. In each of these chapters he also puts forth reconstructive proposals from various scholars conversant with the relevant fields of study (evolutionary science, cultural anthropology, and physical cosmology).

What I like most about this book: In illuminating how inherited philosophical and scientific categories informs our assumptions and conditions traditional doctrinal formulations, this book demonstrates that theology and science are already mutually conditioning. This insight should preclude any question as to whether science and theology SHOULD interact, as it is the case that they are inescapably intertwined within our interpretive framework. The appropriate question then is how to have an interdisciplinary dialogue while being intentional about this inescapable relationship.

This book will be especially helpful to theology students in understanding contemporary theological discourse and anyone interested in the dialogue between theology and science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wayne on June 7, 2011
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Strap on your helmet (intelligence) and leathers (open mind)--this is a high speed ride through theology and science via the fast track of philosophy. You only get brief road signs to help make the corners, then it's down and up another steep mountain. Very exciting and ground breaking, though not grounding. To me, it was just right, since I like to wander into the wilderness and also fill in the blanks. His road maps are great and he points out the curves.

1) What are the commonalities between evolutionary biology and Christology? --Sameness and difference, body and soul, origin and goal (of course). These philosophical categories which he systematically uses to assess each area of investigation are astute points of where mirror images of science and the nature of Christ intersect. Who does that? If only all writers were aware and explicit enough of their own ideas, and of the philosophical paramaters of the subjects they are addressing. This is a gift which Shults has marvelously honed (although he suffers on the other end by not fleshing out the subject). I think he is trying to lead us to explore the outer boundaries, without going over the edge. He is the most creative conservative I know of.

"For Peacocke the incarnation is the self-communication of God, disclosing the ultimate purpose of the divine creative process--persons embodying the values exemplified in the life of Jesus. As the One 'in whom' the world exists, God has all along been instantiating, 'incarnating' God's own 'personalness' in that world. Peacocke argues that this has been made supremely and explicitly manifest in Jesus the Christ." (p. 45)

2) What are the commonalities between anthropology and theology? --particular and universal, law and order, us and them.
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