Shameless Promotion of My Forthcoming Book about Modern Theology

What’s a blog for if one cannot use it to promote his books? The new InterVarsity Press catalog (“New Title Announcement/Winter 2014″) has just been published. It includes (on page 28) my forthcoming magnum opus The Journey of Modern Theology: From Reconstruction to Deconstruction which will actually be about 710 pages in length (scheduled for publication in November). It’s a radical revision of Stan Grenz’s and my 20th Century Theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age published in 1992. I would say this is a whole new book as you can tell by comparing the two books’ tables of contents. Some of the subjects are the same (e.g., Schleiermacher, Barth, and Tillich) but the chapters about them have been completely rewritten.

Below I paste here the book’s Table of Contents for your perusal. But please go to amazon.com and read the four outstanding recommendations of the book by leading theologians including Francis Schussler Fiorenza (Harvard) and Veli-Matti Karkkainen (Fuller). This book is the culmination of years and years of study and teaching modern theology–from the Enlightenment to postmodern theology. The organizing theme is “Christian theological responses to modernity.” In each chapter I discuss how the theologian or movement under consideration responded to the “acids of modernity” (which I explain in the first chapters).

 

Table of Contents

Preface.…………………………………………………………………………………………

Introduction.……………………………………………………………………………………

1. Modernity Challenges Traditional Theology: the Context of Early Modern Theology……

1.a. Science Revises the Heavens………………………………………………………………..

1.b. Philosophers Lay New Foundations for Knowledge………………………………………..

1.c. Deists Create a New Natural Religion………………………………………………………

1.d. Critical Philosophers Limit Religion to Reason…………………………………………….

1.e. Realists, Romanticists and Existentialists Respond………………………………………..

2. Liberal Theologies Reconstruct Christianity in Light of Modernity…………………………

2.a. Friedrich Schleiermacher Launches a Copernican Revolution in Theology………………

2.b. Albrecht Ritschl and His Disciples Accommodate to Modernity…………………………

2.c. Ernst Troeltsch Relativizes Christianity……………………………………………………

2.d. Catholic Modernists Attempt to Bring Rome up to Date………………………………….

3. Conservative Protestant Theology Defends Orthodoxy in a Modern Way………………….

3a. Charles Hodge Constructs a Modern Form of Protestant Orthodoxy……………………

4. Mediating Theologies Build Bridges between Orthodoxy and Liberalism………………….

4a. Isaak August Dorner Bridges the Gap between Liberal and Orthodox Theologies………..

4b. Horace Bushnell Searches for a Progressive Orthodoxy…………………………………..

5. Neo-Orthodoxy/Dialectical/Kerygmatic Theology Revives the Reformation in a Modern Context

5.a. Karl Barth Drops a Bombshell on the Theologians’ Playground………………………….

5.b. Rudolf Bultmann Existentializes and Demythologizes Christianity………………………

5.c. Reinhold Niebuhr Rediscovers Original Sin and Develops Christian Realism……………

6. Chastened Liberal Theologies Renew and Revise the Dialogue with Modernity…………..

6.a. Paul Tillich Describes God as the Ground of Being, a “God above God”……………….

6.b. Process Theology Brings God Down to Earth…………………………………………….

7. Radical Theologies Envision a Religionless Christianity (includes Bonhoeffer)…………….

8. Theologians Look to the Future with Hope…………………………………………………

8.a. Jürgen Moltmann Renews Confidence in the Final Triumph of God……………………..

8.b. Wolfhart Pannenberg Revitalizes Rational Faith in History’s God……………………….

9. Liberation Theologies Protest Injustice and Oppression…………………………………….

10. Catholic Theologians Engage with Modernity……………………………………………..

10.a. Karl Rahner Finds God in Human Experience……………………………………………

10.b. Hans Küng Advocates a New Paradigm of Catholic Theology………………………….

10.c. Hans Urs von Balthasar Bases Christian Truth on Beauty……………………………….

11. Evangelical Theology Comes of Age and Wrestles with Modernity………………………

12. Postmodern Theologians Rebel against Modernity…………………………………………

12.a. Postliberal Theologians and Stanley Hauerwas Develop a Third Way in Theology……..

12.b. John Caputo Deconstructs Religion with the Kingdom of God………………………….

Conclusion………………………………………………………………

  • Andy

    Thanks, Roger. I’ve got it ready to go in Amazon.

    Thanks for being my “online theologian friend.” You challenge me, keep me thinking, and provide a safe Arminian context. I enjoy reading the interactions between you and very informed thinkers (I’m just a self-taught observer, about to learn way more than I bargained on via your next book).

    And I feel that Arminian thought lends itself well to pursing relationship with God, so I give you some credit on that front as well.

    • Roger Olson

      You encourage me. Thanks!

      • Fred Karlson

        Ditto for what Andy said, and I am a seminary trained missionary, who heard so many times I can’t count that Arminius was a heretic. You are a real encouragement and testimony Roger, that we need loving theological understanding to strengthen Christ’s church.

  • labreuer

    Please fight to keep those excellent chapter titles, in the event that your publisher tries to make them mundane. :-)

    • Roger Olson

      Don’t worry; they’re set in stone! My publisher likes them, too. :)

  • James M. Henderson

    Just pre-ordered it. Now to plan out some big reading time.

    • Roger Olson

      Thanks. Take your time. Let me know what you think about the book.

  • Bev Mitchell

    Roger,
    Sounds like good clean fun for a long winter. Thanks for the heads up.
    “Acids of modernity” I love it. Corrosion is an apt metaphor for the effects of overblown certainty, legalism, inerrancy, the insistence on surely knowing everything. It can eat you alive because it’s mission impossible. Hope the book comes out in Kindle format. We older folk sometimes drift off reading, and I wouldn’t want that to fall on my foot or damage the cat. Author’s note for moderns who would know for sure and (just for fun) post moderns who don’t care: We don’t have a cat.

    • Roger Olson

      Bev, thanks. Let me know what you think of it when you get into it. “Acids of modernity” was coined by Walter Lippmann. (I give him credit in the book.)

  • John Walker

    I’m especially interested in the chapters on Pannenberg and Postmodern theology. Congratulations on the accomplishment, it’s appears to be quite the tome!

    • Roger Olson

      As you may know, I studied under Pannenberg. So did Stan Grenz. When we collaborated on 20th Century Theology he insisted on writing the chapter on Pannenberg–since he actually earned his doctorate under him. But I was never fully satisfied with that chapter. So I have written a completely new chapter using some of Stan’s material but putting my own interpretation there.

  • Don Bryant

    I’m in. I have read your “The Story of Christian Theology” multiple times and find it balanced, irenic,inclusive, but ready to draw boundaries when and where they should be drawn. Modern theology is virtually absent on the menu of Evangelical offerings, almost as if everything worthy stopped at the first Great Awakening. There are questions being asked and issues posed today that require thoughtful response. And theological movements begin and gather steam right under our nose without the kind of engagement that keeps us aware and ready.

  • unknown

    Many write books on religion . You cant challenge traditional theology otherwise youre going off track. when non chosen people write about what they have not experienced or can not see it often becomes new age. Many are called but few are chosen by GOD

  • Jon Rising

    Looking forward to it. Thanks for the reminder, Roger.

  • isaacofnineveh

    Please say this will be in Kindle format, too!! I recently started on Douglas Campbell’s monster volume, The Deliverance of God, weighing in at 1200+ pages BUT I had to buy the hardback version. If yours is going to be 700+, be kind and go Kindle, Nook, etc.

    • Roger Olson

      That’s a publisher decision; I have no say in it.

  • Roger Olson

    Interesting. I’m glad they are available in India. But the last time I checked with the publisher (IVP) they did not know about that. If that hasn’t changed, OM needs to get IVP’s permission. I’m sure there would be no problem.

  • Josh

    Roger,

    Will there be an Arminian emphasis throughout this volume or at least a discussion of Arminianism in modern theology?

    • Roger Olson

      Not overtly, but, of course, as an Arminian evangelical (or evangelical Arminian) I’m sure my biases will be detectable to those who look for them.

  • http://relevancy22.blogspot.com/ Russ Slater

    I’m looking forward to the read. It’ll be a nice compliment to your “Story of Christian Theology.” I’ve written much about modernity’s acids even as I’ve reconstructed a postmodern theology that is progressive, questioning of modernal church proclamations, and humble in exegesis. Presently I’m working on re-expressing a postmodern Radical Theology that explores the Christian faith as an existential apocalyptic event (Kingdom, radical presence, faith, hermeneutic, etc). And then combine it with the ideas found in Weak Theology (as bourne by its synthetic relations between Relational and Process Theism) using Arminianism and Open Theism as its theological base. Any helpful links on RT would be appreciated (mostly its disparaged by my conservative friends; however, recent neo-orthodox readings have proven hopeful). Though your book is written to inform the church’s progression into, and through, modernity’s secularism, I suspect it might also help in understanding theology’s more recent postmodern (and lingering “emergent” church) movement. Thanks.

    • Roger Olson

      I hope it does. One thing I hope emerging church folks will notice is that much of what they want in theology was anticipated by 19th century mediating theologians such as Horace Bushnell and I. A. Dorner. I have chapters on them. Especially when I was reading Bushnell and writing about his theology I recognized a kindred spirit with progressive evangelicals and even postmodern Christians–for example his theory of language and his idea of “Christian comprehensiveness.” In someways he seems to have been charting a course for a postconservative, postliberal, moderate-to-progressive evangelical theology well over a century ago!

      • http://relevancy22.blogspot.com/ Russ Slater

        This is good to know for the 19th century and I will pay attention to them when reading of their work. Language and self-referentialism is a big part of it (as aside, abstractionism in art and poetry tried to work through this). Do you have any similar names for the 20th century? I suspect Karl Barth will be in there somewhere (but whether as fully interactive with 20th century existential phenomenology I do not know – Bonhoeffer was attempting to be but Nazism kept him from being fully interactive with it and eventually cut his life too short to complete his interest). 21st century names coming to mind are Cobb and Caputo amongst others, but from my side of the tracks I do not know of any as too many evangelic theologians seem to be fighting yesteryear’s theological wars and issues. Sure, there are a lot of emergent names but as rigorous, thorough-going theologs with respected resumes I know of none.

        • Roger Olson

          I’m not perfectly clear what kind of contemporary theologian you’re looking for. Among evangelicals, someone who I highly respect for his sharpness of mind and agility in interacting with modernity and postmodernity is Kevin Vanhoozer. However, he still lands in a place a little too conservative for me (and more conservative than I think his method and approach, for example to language, should permit). My “heroes” of 20th century theology are Barth and Balthasar.

          • http://relevancy22.blogspot.com/ Russ Slater

            A quick skim of KV’s bio doesn’t do much for me. But NT Wright moves in the right direction for me. And theologians like Thomas Oord et al come to mind who have made strong strides towards pragmatically thinking through postmodernism, relational/process theism, and open theism. And of course any ANE biblical historical has been helpful redaction-wise.
            Still, I’m looking for more of a Radical Theologian (but not a Radical Orthodoxy per neo-Calvinism like James KA Smith) that has broken from Evangelicalism and is working through the lanes of Ricoeur, Heidegger, Tillich, Caputo.
            Perhaps a neo-orthodox postmodernist if there is such a thing (which I think there is) similar to Barth. More than doctrines and topics is the importance of hermeneutic for postmodernistic discussion. It seems the former set of names are aptly working out the doctrines and topics but that the Continentalist’s have been working out the anthropological or existential “hermeneutic” (broadly, the “environment” we bring with us in reading the bible). Not that the other names aren’t doing this as well, only that they aren’t doing it rigorously from a Radical, existential, phenomenological perspective (as versus a literary, incarnational exegesis).
            And so, in a sense, I’m looking for a way to “extend the bible’s voice” into today’s postmodern world filled with multi-vocal beliefs, agnosticism, and disbelief. Focusing on Christian relevancy across basic biblical and doctrinal lines while breaking down boundary set thinking. The conundrum for the Christian is how to speak doctrine that can bear relevancy to today’s non-Christian cultures. But not just topically but on a deeply personal level. Thanks.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X