Academic journal article Theological Studies

Being Promised: Theology, Gift and Practice

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Being Promised: Theology, Gift and Practice

Article excerpt

Being Promised: Theology, Gift and Practice. By Gregory Walter. Foreword by Patrick R. Keifert. Sacra Doctrina: Christian Theology for a Postmodern Age. Grand Rapids, Ml: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. xiv + 110. $25.

Being Promised is part of the Sacra Doctrina Series that analyzes different Christian theological topics for the postmodern culture. The contributors to this series are grounded in the Christian tradition and work from an ecumenical perspective. Walter's contribution is an analysis of "gift" from the perspectives of the cultural anthropology of Marcel Mauss, the philosophical phenomenology of Jacques Derrida, and the biblical tradition. From the Scriptures, W. focuses on the story of Abraham and Sarah at Mamre and the strangers' empty or excessive gift of Isaac, the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, and the gift of Christ's body at the Last Supper and Eucharist. The "dangerous memory" of the crucifixion and the hope of the resurrection of Christ guide these theological reflections (93).

The book's great strength is that in thinking about promise as a gift and a practice, it lays out a postmetaphysical and postfoundational method for theology that avoids the usual pitfalls of gift study: the archaic gift of reciprocity and modern efficient causality, and the pure gift of postmodernism that has no strings attached and is impossible by definition. …

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