Religion, Theology, and the Human Sciences

By Richard H. Roberts | Go to book overview

Introduction

During the final decade of the twentieth century, I was able to make a series of contributions to what has now become a developing dialogue between the study of theology and the practice of religious studies on the one hand, and the social and human sciences (les sciences humaines/die Geisteswissenschaften) on the other.1 This book draws together widely distributed papers in journals and chapters in books which were associated with that continuing dialogue. Taken as a whole, what follows embodies a journey of religious, theological and intellectual exploration of the cultural impact of the 'triumph of capitalism', and then an engagement with the shifts in consciousness and changes in cultural practice associated with globalisation, the contested matrix of the modern/postmodern condition, and the ongoing crisis and dissolution of main-line religious traditions which were all characteristic concerns of religious reflection in the late twentieth century. Religion, Theology and the Human Sciences affords a wide-ranging interdisciplinary commentary upon aspects of the past decade, and it looks into a future in which religion(s), spiritualities and a migrating 'sacred' may well continue to undergo transmutation and recomposition.

This book seeks an inner coherence that flows, not least, out of the author's continuing quest to locate, investigate and critique the legitimacy of roles for religion and theology in the creation and sustenance of sustainable human identities — and the 'future of the human' — in a globalised, commodified and managerialised late modern world. Beyond such a basic interlinkage, the contents are arranged so as to enhance and justify the sense that there is an underlying logic that informs what might seem, at first sight, to be the extended chaos of fragmentation of the postmodern — and increasingly post-human — condition. Whilst such

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1
See introduction to R. H. Roberts and J. M. M. Good (eds.), The Recovery of Rhetoric: Persuasive Discourse and Disciplinarity in the Human Sciences (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1993).

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