Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption

Article excerpt

Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption. By Marion Grau. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2004. viii + 255 pp. $100.00 (cloth); $30.00 (paper).

In Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption, Marion Grau attempts to rethink divine economy in a way that avoids the simplistic polarities of God/world and capitalism/Marxist anti-capitalism. She seeks instead what she calls a "third space" that embodies exchanges that challenge this polarity. It is a space that is ambivalent and changing, appreciative of difference and context. As such, this "third space" transcends conceptions of divine economy in which God remains the active counterpart in a redemptive exchange on behalf of passive humanity. Rather, this "third space" involves "divine-human action within creation in which humans participate, where salvific energies merge beyond the distinctions of divine and human realms" (p. 5). This "third space" also transcends the polarity in which market capitalism and relationships based on exchange are an evil to be avoided while socialist economies are free of oppressive, discriminatory tendencies. Instead, Grau attempts to recover and reconstruct the idea of exchange as a useful one for conceiving of divine countereconomy as a mutual, cooperative exchange between God and the human.

To find this "third space," Grau engages poststructuralist, feminist, and postcolonial works. She also rereads ancient theological texts that deal with economic matters in an effort to recover neglected economic images of salvation (p. 10). In the process, she recovers three typoi or figures that reconstruct ancient theological economies and suggest more redemptive forms of exchange which help to transform both economics and theology (p. 11). The three figures are trickster-like, both foolish and wise as they expose the limits of theological constructs of divine economy and employ a variety of strategies to promote the development of more divinely economic patterns (p. 12). Among these figures, Grau includes the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-30), the widow with two copper coins (Mark 12:14-44), and Christ as the soteriological currency in a wonderful, miraculous exchange between God and the devil.

Grau finds each trickster figure helpful in opening up that "third space" from which the reconstruction of a divine countereconomy can be accomplished. …

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