07 July 2010

Book: The Gift of Difference: Radical Orthodoxy, Radical Reformation

Just published: "The Gift of Difference: Radical Orthodoxy, Radical Reformation", edited by Chris K. Huebner and Tripp York, with a foreword by John Milbank (CMU Press, July 2010):


Publisher's description (in a press release): "The Gift of Difference is a collection of essays in which theologians such as Craig Hovey, Harry J. Huebner, and D. Stephen Long consider the strengths and weaknesses of Radical Orthodoxy in dialogue with the Radical Reformation tradition. Writers in this volume engage topics such as ecclesiology, martyrdom, worship, oath-taking, peace and violence. In recent years, Radical Orthodoxy has become an important and influential movement in contemporary theology and philosophy. [...] Radical Orthodoxy enlists the resources of classical theology to engage the current strongholds of secular and religious thought. Proponents of Radical Orthodoxy argue that the Enlightenment project to remove reason, ethics, politics and economics from a theological framework culminates in the nihilism of postmodern discourse. They suggest that much contemporary theology is idolatrous in nature because it takes the isolation of such disciplines for granted.

"In the Foreword, John Milbank writes that '[modern Mennonites] see the Church itself as the true polity and (unlike most of the magisterial Reformation) they see the possibility of "living beyond the law" in terms of a new sort of social and political practice.' What might this concrete expression of Christian discipleship have to suggest to a movement like Radical Orthodoxy? What gifts does Radical Orthodoxy offer academics, ministers and laypeople from Radical Reformation tradition? 'This book explores both common and divergent themes between Anabaptist/Mennonite theologians and their counterparts in the Radical Orthodoxy movement,' says co-editor Chris K. Huebner. 'For example, while they jointly reject as false the dualisms characteristic of modernity, the manner in which questions of peace and justice get framed remains an ongoing debate.'"

Endorsements: "What hath the Radical Reformation to do with Anglo-Catholics – especially Anglicans who have a lingering penchant for Christendom? The answer from this book: a lot more than you might expect! Huebner and York have staged a mutually critical interaction between Radical Orthodoxy and Mennonite theology, illuminating both as a result." (James K.A. Smith, Calvin College)

"This book is a breath of fresh air. Retrieving central themes of classical theology, it is both faithful to tradition and innovative, offering a third way between liberalism and conservatism, one which sees theology as critical for public life without privatizing Christianity, on the one hand, or slipping into Constantinianism, on the other." (A. James Reimer, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo)

Chris K. Huebner is Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Tripp York is an Adjunct Instructor of Religious Studies at Western Kentucky University.

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