The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology

The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology

The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology

The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology

Synopsis

Theologians have responded in many different ways to the challenges posed by theories of postmodernity. Kevin J. Vanhoozer addresses the issue directly in an introductory survey of what "talk about God" might mean in a postmodern age. The book offers examples of different types of contemporary theology in relation to postmodernity, and examines the key Christian doctrines in postmodern perspective. Leading theologians contribute to this informative Companion.

Excerpt

To call a theology “modern” is to situate it in a familiar narrative about the Enlightenment or to point out certain family resemblances (for example, critical, scientific) between the thinking of exegetes and theologians and their secular counterparts. No such consensus exists, however, with regard to the term “postmodern.” Yet in the past twenty years or so postmodernity has become a concept that is as indispensable for understanding contemporary Western thought and culture as modernity has been for understanding the past three hundred years. For some, postmodernity marks the end of theology; for others, it is a new beginning. What is undeniable is that a number of theologians have now accepted this adjective as an accurate qualification of their approach to theology. Any genuine grasp of the present situation in theology, therefore, must come to grips with the various ways in which these theologians understand and appropriate “the postmodern.”

Yet postmodernity is as essentially contested a concept as it is an indispensable one–a sure sign of its importance for society and the academy alike. No one discipline has a monopoly on its definition; indeed, “postmodern” turns up in contexts as diverse as art and architecture, on the one hand, and philosophy and cultural studies, on the other. Though its proponents typically resist hegemonic “metanarratives” that purport to offer universal theories which construe reality from a “God'ss-eye point of view, ” there is nonetheless something ambitious about the very concept of the postmodern. For to be postmodern is to signal one'ss dissatisfaction withat least some aspect of modernity. It is to harbor a revolutionary impulse: the impulse to do things differently.

Postmodernity is upsetting, intentionally so. Postmodern thinkers have overturned the tables of the knowledge-changers in the university, the temple of modernity, and have driven out the foundationalists. Or, to take an even older image: postmodern prophets have marched, Moses-like, into Egypt and demanded “Let my people go.” Postmoderns have resisted their harsh modern taskmasters together with their requirement to make epistemological bricks out of the straw of logical propositions and the mud of . . .

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