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Mapping Modern Theology: A Thematic and Historical Introduction Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A Fresh Approach to Modern Theology

"This outstanding collection of essays with contributions from leaders in the field will appeal to scholars and students alike. The editors have managed to provide the reader with a genuine alternative to other textbooks. The essays are all excellent, setting a high watermark for other such symposia. It should quickly establish itself as a resource of choice for those wanting a comprehensive account of modern Christian theology that is alert to historical as well as systematic considerations. I highly recommend it."
--Oliver Crisp, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This intriguing volume fills a gap in teaching materials for theological students that has long been noteworthy: it tackles the traditional loci of systematic theology through the lens of modernity's particular challenges. Intended primarily for students in the Reformed tradition, this book will prove to be an excellent textbook and focus for debate; the editors are to be congratulated on the quality and insightfulness of the contributions."
--Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge

"This collection of fifteen essays on key topics will repay careful study. Through examining the different ways in which the central doctrines of the Christian faith have been handled under the pressures of modernity, it provides valuable orientation for students of modern theology. Clear, informed, and insightful, it deserves inclusion on all relevant reading lists."
--David Fergusson, New College, University of Edinburgh

"A volume such as this is a welcome guide indeed to the contours of modern theology. Especially valuable is the organization of this book according to the classical doctrinal loci and central concerns of the Christian theological tradition. An impressive lineup of scholars provides a sure guide to the ways each of these concerns has been treated within the context of modernity and demonstrates thereby the necessity of our striving, even if sometimes failing, to tell of the gospel in ways both responsible to the tradition and alert to the realities of contemporary culture."
--Murray Rae, University of Otago

"The best book of its kind. Highly recommended."
--Adam A. Neder, Whitworth University

About the Author

Kelly M. Kapic (PhD, King's College, University of London) is professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, where he has taught for over a decade. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of several books, including The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics. Bruce L. McCormack (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary; DrTheol hc, Friedrich Schiller University) is Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. A world-renowned Barth scholar, he is a frequent writer and lecturer on topics of Reformed theology.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; First Edition edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103535X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801035357
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was not quite what I was expecting. This is not a weakness of the book per se, but something I need to highlight for you so you know what you're getting into if you choose to add this to your library. While this book turned out different than I expected, the narrative that emerges in the essays turns out to be different than I imagine the editors expected.


I was alerted to the unexpected nature of the book in Bruce McCormack's introductory essay. Rather than "modern" in the sense of "theologians who have been influential in the modern period," (i.e. the last 200 years), "modern" in this book is more "theologians who are self-consciously working with modernist presuppositions." As McCormack points out, "not everything that has happened in the last two hundred years is 'modern'" (2). So, for the focus of the essays in this collection, "modern theologians" are theologians who are take seriously the developments in modern thought (scientific, philosophical, and otherwise), and work in that light.

The names that keep occurring over and over in this regard are Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, and most frequently, Friedrich Schleiermacher, who isn't called "the father of modern theology" for no reason. As you would expect, Barth makes a strong showing, leading several chapters to almost present Schleiermacher as the game changer and then trace the results to Barth with some concluding thoughts on his wake. Though not stated as such, it seems anyone who appropriates and appreciates the theological work of these theologians qualifies as a modern theologian.

With that in mind, the reader is taken on various theological safaris across the modern landscape.
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This volume is an excellent single-volume overview of the principal themes and discussions in modern-to-contemporary Christian theology (19th and 20th centuries). Because the Amazon information is a bit scarce, and because the subject is polarized, I wanted to supplement the information here.

The book has 403 pages of primary content, comprising 15 chapters on specific divisions and themes of Christian theology. These include both foundational areas of scriptural content (such as "Creation" and "The Trinity") and applied areas (such as "Christian ethics"). Each chapter is written by a single author who is an authority on the topic and is meant to serve as a freestanding introduction to the topic. The approaches are generally review-like, meaning that they take more care to expose the breadth of issues rather than to argue for a single position. Each has around 10-20 references to additional material.

The writing level is appropriate for college-level courses, assuming at least general familiarity with Christian scripture and history, and a general foundation (e.g., one to two courses) in modern philosophy such as Kant. It would make an excellent introductory text for themes in theology or a supplement to seminary study. It is also suitable for general readers, if you are interested in an overview of current academic theological work.

What is the volume's orientation? For the most part, it is mainstream Protestant theology with substantial Reformed church (Calvinist) presence in authors and themes. This content is generally within the range of protestant seminaries such as Reformed, Presbyterian, and is not fundamentalist (in the common/popular usage of the word).
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Format: Paperback
Fifteen leading theologians wrote essays on fifteen selected modern theological topics for Mapping Modern Theology. These theologians are compelled to encompass major topics discussed under the span of modern theology. Readers drawn to this kind of book often expect to find an accurate roadmap with sufficient details to navigate through important places. The direct lineage of mapping theology has been continuous in the last twenty years from books such as 20th-Century Theology (S. Grenz, 1993), A Map of Twentieth Century Theology (C. Braaten, 1995), Fortress Introduction to Contemporary Theology (L. Miller, 1998), and The Modern Theologians (D. Ford, 2005).

However, without being selective drawing a modern theology map remains insuperable. In effect, in Mapping philosophical-theological perspectives discuss modern theology by focusing on historical developments of major topics in systematic theology such as the Trinity (essay written by Fred Sanders), biblical hermeneutics (Daniel Treier), anthropology (Kelly Kapic), Christology (Bruce McCormack), atonement (Kevin Vanhoozer), providence (John Webster), soteriology (Richard Lints), Christian ethics (Brian Brock) and eschatology (Michael Horton). The subtitle indicates that their method is thematic and historical: it is an interwoven and dialectical approach to modern theology through the history of interaction between brilliant minds struggling to break into a new era called modernity.

The modern theologians were mainly interested in "the nature of God and his relation to the world," and they demarcated modernity from the Reformation, the center of which was the doctrine of justification (4).
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