Radical Theology: A Vision for Change

Radical Theology: A Vision for Change

Radical Theology: A Vision for Change

Radical Theology: A Vision for Change

Synopsis

Radical theology" and "political theology" are terms that have gained a lot of currency among philosophers of religion today. In this visionary new book, Jeffrey W. Robbins explores the contemporary direction of these movements as he charts a course for their future. Robbins claims that radical theology is no longer bound by earlier thinking about God and that it must be conceived of as postsecular and postliberal. As he engages with themes of liberation, gender, and race, Robbins moves beyond the usual canon of death-of-God thinkers, thinking "against" them as much as "with" them. He presents revolutionary thinking in the face of changing theological concepts, from reformation to transformation, transcendence to immanence, messianism to metamorphosis, and from the proclamation of the death of God to the notion of God's plasticity.

Excerpt

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many readers, critics, and conversation partners I have had through the years who have contributed to the effort put forth in this book. My thanks must begin with a close-knit group of pathbreaking scholars who I first read and met during my years under the tutelage of Charles Winquist at Syracuse University. They include Thomas J. J. Altizer, Carl Raschke, Mark C. Taylor, and Edith Wyschogrod. Individually and collectively they not only contributed to defining radical death-of-God theology for a generation and for the deconstructive postmodern a/theology that followed but also taught me how intimate and personal the scholarly pursuit could be. I mean this in the best possible way. I remember being surprised to discover they were all friends, that arguments were forged and insights gleaned just as often over dinner or drinks as in the privacy of one’s study. It was then that I began reading their articles and books as conversations with and commentaries about one another. and it was thereby that, somewhere along the line, I came to be among the initiated.

So as not to give the false impression that this was an exclusive or exclusionary group of scholars, I should add that it was during the same period and among those same conversation partners that I was introduced to such inspirational figures as the great historians of religion Huston Smith, Charles Long, and David Chidester. I remember how each in his own way pressed us graduate students, who were under the thrall of postmodern theory, to consider more fully questions of historicity, materiality, and economics. Their personal challenge, along with the rigor of their methodology, has remained with me just as assuredly as the pronouncements of the radical theologians, both old and new. If this book achieves its goal of reactivating and expanding the tradition of radical theology, then that is the fruit of the seeds first planted by them.

In the decade since, the scholarly dialogues have developed into enduring friendships. the closest circle includes my colleagues at Lebanon Valley College (LVC), a dedicated and innovative group of professionals with whom I’m constantly impressed because of their genuine commitment to students. To avoid the risk of leaving a name out, I will just say thank you en masse to the lvc transdisciplinary collective. You know who you are, and I am most grateful to you all for mustering the courage to say “yes” to our collective vision to excite and empower . . .

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