Levering: Jesus and the Demise of Death

In promoting this book giveaway, I realized I had another book I wanted to bring to your attention: the Patheos Book Club is taking a look at Matthew Levering’s Jesus and the Demise of Death — which seems like excellent reading for the season, particularly for this week and next week, if this intro excerpt is any indication!

In his intro, Levering writes:

I seek to contribute to the “robust recovery of apocalyptic teaching and preaching” by setting forth a theology of resurrection and eternal life (Christ’s and ours). By means of a constructive retrieval of Thomas Aquinas’ theology of resurrection and eternal life, I argue that the Church’s traditional eschatology has a biblical perspicacity that has been missed by its critics. Since we learn about resurrection and eternal life from Scripture, I also examine in some detail the approaches of biblical scholars to these topics. This exegetical engagement provides the basis for appropriating Aquinas’ theological insights in a contemporary fashion. In this regard I agree with Joseph Ratzinger that theological insights “must be capable of holding up in biblical terms, but it would be false to treat them as exegetical conclusions because the way we have decided in their favor is that appropriate to systematic thought.”

Don’t get scared.
It sounds over-brainy, perhaps, but having read Levering’s The Betrayal of Charity; the Sins that Sabotague Divine Love I can tell you he’s a very accessible and readable chap and as demonstrated here in this interview with Patheos’ Kathleen Mulhern, a very thoughtful theologian:

Describe the beatific vision. Is this something that can really have an impact in modern life? How?

It is a simple thing, really. We are made for God, which is to say we are made for intimate personal communion in holiness. We are made for the joy and peace of charity and the adventure of wisdom. We are made to know Him as He is. Our earthly lives rightly entail many projects, but none of them fully fits us. The project that we want is actually to be known and loved by Him in such a way that we fully reciprocate that knowledge and love, so that we can really share in His life. Can God enable us to share in His life? Yes. And this is going to be an amazing thing. Jesus’ risen body shows us, too, that our glorified bodies will be able to take part in the communion of charity or true friendship with the triune God—the communion that is what we mean when we talk about beatific vision.

Very timely reading, I think!

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About Elizabeth Scalia