Religion, Theology and the Human Sciences

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Religion, Theology and the Human Sciences by Richard H. Roberts Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002. 334 pp. $23.00. ISBN 0-521-79508-7.

THE TITLE OF THIS VOLUME could be misleading, for the essays collected here do not constitute yet another dry, academic treatise on the relation of theology to the social sciences. On the contrary, this is a full-blown polemic against the unrestrained expansion of the "invasive commodification" and "managerialism" (p. 2) of both church and academy that have characterized the dozen or so years since the tumultuous events of 1989 were declared the "End of History." Roberts offers an engaging critique of the "McDonaldised" church and academy subject to the strictures of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control (p. 300).

North American readers should not be put off by the fact that this analysis is set in the British context. What may appear as foreign territory-British ecclesiology, academics, and politics-actually proves salutary, as we are provided a lens through which to see realities that are so close to us that if the examples were more familiar, they would be easily missed or dismissed along partisan political lines. Instead, we are left to ponder developments in assessment, accreditation, and church growth with a fresh perspective. …