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Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation Paperback – December 1, 1996


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Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation + Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace + The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; First Edition edition (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687002826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687002825
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Miroslav Volf, is Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut. A native Croatian, he writes out of his own firsthand experience of teaching in Croatia during the war in former Yugoslavia. Professor Volf won the 2002 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book, Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon, 1996).


More About the Author

Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. He has published and edited nine books and over 60 scholarly articles, including his book Exclusion and Embrace, which won the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Customer Reviews

Easily one of the most important books I've read.
Amazon Customer
Volf calls us to give up on modern hopes in order to see the only hope in self-giving love (p. 28).
John T. Henry
This book is very theologically and academically rigorous.
thatblueeyedgirl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Wade G. Channell on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Exclusion and Embrace is one of the most important books I have read in years. Although a very difficult book (having been written for an extremely critical academic community), it was completely worth the effort.
As one recently evacuated from a war in Africa, I began the book looking for answers on how to rebuild a broken society. I found some of those, but more importantly I found an approach to my own life as the macro issues were ultimately based on how each individual operates.
Volf's exploration of "double vision" -- building understanding through seeing from each other's perspectives -- continues to affect me, as I apply it to marriage, friendships, work, and relationships in general.
I cannot recommend the book highly enough.
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Nowers on December 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a sane, sober, and suggestive work. It is also nothing short of brilliant. The book will force advocates of liberation theology to gulp hard when they encounter these probing questions: "What happens when, armed with the belief in the rightness of its own cause, one side wins? How will the liberated oppressed live with their conquered oppressors?" (104). Here the primacy of reconciliation is asserted, a notion that liberation theologians have sometimes been accused of trivializing. While the book has not weakened my allegiance to liberation theology, it has made me consider eschatological possibilities and scenarios that I had heretofore overlooked. I was particularly taken with this passing line: "I am not a universalist, but God may be" (299). On the matter of style, some readers might have hoped for more footnotes to alleviate a cluttered text. Citation references are given in the body of the text itself and keyed to a very thorough bibliography. There can be no dismissing the book out of hand, however. Miroslav Volf is an outstandingly able theologian, holding two earned doctorates from Germany's University of Tuebingen. I have spoken with him in person and have found him quite engaging and friendly. His numerous writings need to be pondered diligently.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By puritanfan on May 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book because Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church quoted from it more than once, and what he quoted caught my attention. Here is the passage:

"Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion - without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person's humanity and imitate God's love for him. And when one knows that God's love is greater than all sin, one is free to see onself in the light of God's justice and so rediscover one's own sinfulness." (p.124)

In 306 pages, the Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf shares the lessons he was teaching his seminary students while Serbian forces were establishing rape camps in and around his hometown.

In short, Volf's Exclusion and Embrace is an incisive study on whether Jesus' command to love one's enemies (Matthew 5:44) can be taken seriously. Why it must be done, how it can be done, and the obstacles that must be overcome to at least be willing to embrace the perpetrator make up the bulk of the text.

At first glance why Christians must love their enemies is obvious: because their Lord commands it. But beyond that, the importance of the commandment itself has never before become more apparent. We live in a world of holocausts, gulags, killing fields, suicide bombings, and ethnic cleansings.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Michael Blyth on September 18, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book and include it in the top 10 books that have influenced my life. Living in the fault zone between Muslim and Christian civilizations, and having gone through religious riots and killings in our town, the book's message is especially relevant. Reconciliation is something still being worked on.

The book is loaded with insights and nuances that cannot be boiled down to a simple message. However, it is definitely not for everyone. Much of it is extremely academic and as a doctor I could only understand it because I had been doing some reading about postmodern culture, criticism and thinking. As an outsider to Volf's academic discipline, I had the feeling I was reading a message of vital importance encased in something that the academy might accept. If so, I think it was 100% appropriate and hopefully successful. Unfortunately it also limits the audience. It's not a book I can easily get my colleagues to read. I would dearly love to see a rewrite for non-specialists, and have even started editing a readable version for friends here.

Finally, I think that there is something to Rev. Thomas Scarborough's criticism. I do not agree that the book is in any way shallow, but it does not deal satisfactorily with the difficult problem of what to do when "the other" apparently wants nothing except your own destruction, and where "justice" might seem to require the destruction or at least constraint of "the other." This can be a problem, for example, in extremely abusive family relationships, and appears to be true in some political and religious conflicts. Volf addressed this after September 11 in an interview with Christianity Today, and doubtless in other writings and addresses, but I did not get much understanding of this from the book.
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