Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine)

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ISBN-13: 978-0521470124
ISBN-10: 0521470129
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Remythologizing Theology is a ground-breaking work. Its bold proposal for integrating exegesis, biblical theology and systematic theology is a much needed one. Vanhoozer's approach gives careful attention to the literary dimension of scripture while keeping in view the inescapable role of theological presuppositions involved in interpretation."
Calvin Theological Journal, Jeffrey J. Monk, Westminster Theological Seminary

"Remythologizing Theology is an enormous accomplishment in reclaiming the biblical mythos in service to our reasoning about and response to God ... Vanhoozer succeeds in keeping both the 'theo' and the 'drama' in theodrama by faithfully attending to God's being-in-communicative-action while creatively addressing God's dialogical and dramatic interaction with his creatures."
Presbyterion

Book Description

This contribution to the theology of divine action and authorship develops a fresh vision of Christian theism. It also revisits several long-standing controversies such as the relations of God's sovereignty to human freedom, time to eternity, and suffering to love. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking, it brings theology into fruitful dialogue with philosophy, literary theory, and biblical studies.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 539 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521470129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521470124
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,216,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Ph.D., Cambridge University) is currently Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Previously he was Blanchard Professor of Theology at the Wheaton College Graduate School and Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1990-98).

He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Westminster John Knox, 2005 - named best theology book of 2006 by Christianity Today) and Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Systematic Theology and Pro Ecclesia and is the North American Consultant for the forthcoming edition of the New Dictionary of Theology. In 1999 he appeared on the cover of Christianity Today as one of the six "new theologians" featured in the lead story. He was the 2003 Westmont College Alumnus of the Year. He is married and has two daughters (and seventeen doctoral students). He is an amateur classical pianist and serious reader, and finds that music and literature help him integrate academic theology and spiritual formation.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott J. Anderson on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yet another strong effort from Kevin Vanhoozer. I'm a little biased as I was able to sit in on two of his doctoral level classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the summer of 1994. One class was on hermeneutics and postmodernism (and his then forthcoming book Is There a Meaning in This Text?) and the other was on Divine Action and Providence (which I think came to fruition with this book).

In this book he is trying to steer a course between the demythologizing Bultmann and the new kenotic-relational open theism school (Moltmann) while still being strongly rooted in Scripture and sacred tradition. I think he succeeds. This is not a full blown contemporary doctrine of providence, but it does focus on the vast majority of texts in the Bible which present God acting in the world, which depict God not usually splitting seas or stilling suns, but dialoging with humans, usually within a covenant framework. Vanhoozer affirms that the nature miracles were real and actual, but this is not the focus of his book. Too often studies get bogged down trying to understand nature miracles in a modern scientific framework, when the starting point needs to be: Can God speak, or not? Vanhoozer shows how, with a trinitarian metaphysics, it is reasonable and rational to hold that God has in fact spoken in the past, and continues to speak through Scripture primarily through the Spirit.

This book stands by itself but is best read after reading "Is There a Meaning in This Text" and "Drama of Doctrine".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tcairns on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Only the communicating God can help" - the final line of Kevin Vanhoozer's Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine) (RM), playing on a statement from Bonhoeffer's prison letters, provides a succinct summary of his project in this creative and challenging theological reflection on the doctrine of God. Vanhoozer is a theologian whose central claim is that God truly has spoken and is speaking through speech that acts and acts that speak in such a way so as to faithfully consummate his creatures and creation as a whole. Many will be encouraged to see Vanhoozer move from the somewhat swampy plains of hermeneutics and methodology to tackle the heights of theology with his constructive take on who and what God is. However, far from leaving methodology behind, Vanhoozer builds on his previous work to try and steer a course between those who would demythologize God and ignore/deny the biblical witness (Bultmann; abstract perfect being theology; certain conceptions of classical theology) and those who mythologize God as some sort of super creature (Feuerbach; Moltmann and the "voluntary-kenotic-perichoretic-relational-panentheism" which forms a contemporary scholarly consensus). The demythologizers lose the "drama" of the divine theodrama played out in scripture and history; the mythologizers lose the "theo" as the triune God is reduced to the creaturely plane and becomes a projection of human ideals.

The book proceeds in three parts: a summary of the issues and positioning of Vanhoozer's project amid the contemporary theological landscape (Vanhoozer's "remythologizing" vs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Martinez on September 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
This monograph is an example of constructive theology at its best. There is arguably no doctrine from which more consequences flow than the doctrine of God. Dr. Vanhoozer engages mayor figures of modern theology and the "new orthodoxy" of relational panentheism with a constructive retrieval of trinitarian theology that attends to God's communicative acts in history, as well as his transcendence to history, while maintaining the relational integrity of the creator and its creatures. This is high level theological dialogue with clear relevance for the Christian faith. Both friends in agreement and disagreement need to sit at this table.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas H. Walker on June 11, 2015
Format: Paperback
This book is not meant for most people. Why? (1) The wording is highly crafted, imaginative, and evocative. However, that style often obstructs the clarity and readability of the text. I am a highly educated Ph.d student in political philosophy, and I found it very difficult to understand what Vanhoozer is saying. You have to lock onto the rare sentence that says something concrete and extrapolate from that. Often you get only a sense of what he is saying, the gist, rather than the substance. (2) Vanhoozer is not dealing with anything the ordinary Christian cares about. He is responding to complex arguments in contemporary theology. This is another reason that it is difficult to understand: he presupposes a vast amount of background knowledge in academic theology. Professional theologians might find this book useful, but it will seem esoteric to most Christians. For example, one of the chapters makes the (seemingly) simple point that God-in-three-persons cannot be reduced to the "economic trinity," meaning what the three persons of the trinity do in relation to each other and to creation. Apparently some contemporary theologians believe that God has no existence outside of his external relationships, but I suspect that thought has never entered the mind of most ordinary Christians. Of course, this simple point was argued in very forbidding and complex language, as noted above.

Maybe my lack of understanding was my fault for venturing into a book outside of my specialization. Still, even if the academic theological community would benefit from this book, I'm going to give it three stars as a warning to the rest of us. I'm not sure even pastors would benefit from reading this.
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