- 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: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,311,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine)
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"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."
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.
Top customer reviews
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".
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. the aforementioned "demythologizing" and "mythologizing"); a constructive description of who and what is God according to who God reveals Godself to be in scripture (triune "being-in-communicative-act" - God's being is in communicating); and the nature of the God world relation, given who and what God is (a dialogical Author on the Dostoevskey-ian/Bakhtin-ian model- which is also the richest section of the book, addressing questions of God's impassibility, his emotional life, and the possibility of genuine dialogue between Creator and creatures). As this brief summary implies, RM is a wide-ranging, challenging, creative discussion that assumes a good grasp of the contemporary theological scene (if the phrase "voluntary-kenotic-perichoretic-relational-panentheism" causes only confusion rather than a wry smile, this book may prove difficult, even though Vanhoozer is an admirably clear writer and provides copious footnotes to help situate his own claims within the scholarly landscape).
As mentioned, Vanhoozer's most fundamental commitment is that God has truly spoken and is truly speaking (in speech that acts and actions that speak) and that this revelation (Barth is often in the footnotes, along with Aquinas, Calvin, Ricoeur - Feuerbach and Moltmann are chief opponents) must discipline and shape any reflection on who and what God is - all else is simply anthropomorphic/ontotheological projection. RM presents a keen analysis and subversion of the dominant contemporary voluntary-kenotic-perichoretic-relational-panentheist paradigm, but its real significance is in Vanhoozer's constructive attempt and willingness to put forward a metaphysics that attempts to be truly biblical - a logos shaped by the mythos of the triune creating, covenanting, communicating God. While the book weighs in at 500+ dense pages, it rewards the reader's effort, and in fact, my only complaint is that I would like more (specifically, I would have liked a bit more on the relation between covenant and creation). Certainly, given the books length and assumption of a certain level of familiarity with contemporary theology, there is also a pastoral need to take some of these sometimes daunting theological ideas and work them out (with fear and trembling, creativity and courage) at the church and community level.
RM is a tremendous effort by one of the finest theologians writing in English today and highly recommended for those interested in the doctrine of God and a constructive theology that seeks to plant its roots firmly in the biblical witness. I certainly hope that there will be increased engagement with Vanhoozer's proposal in the years to come - both in the academy and in the church.
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.