Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Christ, history and apocalyptic: the politics of Christian mission

There are just a few books that I’m really anticipating this year. One of them is Nate Kerr’s forthcoming book in the new Veritas series: Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission. This was originally a Vanderbilt dissertation under Paul DeHart – and it looks like an exceptional work which brings together some of the most important (but usually separate) strands of contemporary theology. The book will be launched later this year at the AAR meeting in Chicago. Here’s the table of contents and the blurb:

  1. Introduction
  2. Ernst Troeltsch: The Triumph of Ideology and the Eclipse of Apocalyptic
  3. Karl Barth: Foundations for an Apocalyptic Christology
  4. Stanley Hauerwas: Apocalyptic, Narrative Ecclesiology, and “the Limits of Anti-Constantinianism”
  5. John Howard Yoder: The Singularity of Jesus and the Apocalypticization of History
  6. Towards an Apocalyptic Politics of Mission
“This book engages in a defense of Christian apocalyptic as the criterion for evaluating the ‘truth’ of history and of history’s relation to the transcendent political reality that theology calls ‘the Kingdom of God’. The heart of this work comprises an original genealogical analysis of twentieth-century theological encounters with the modern historicist problematic through a series of critical engagements with the work of Ernst Troeltsch, Karl Barth, Stanley Hauerwas, and John Howard Yoder. Bringing these thinkers into conversation at key points with the work of Walter Benjamin, Carl Schmitt, John Milbank, and Michel de Certeau, among others, this genealogy analyses and exposes the ideologically ‘Constantinian’ assumptions shared by both modern ‘liberal’ and contemporary ‘post-liberal’ accounts of Christian politics and mission. On the basis of a rereading of John Howard Yoder’s place within this genealogy, the author outlines an alternative ‘apocalyptic historicism’, which conceives the work of Christian politics as a mode of subversive, missionary encounter between church and world. The result is a profoundly original vision of history that at once calls for and is empowered by a Christian apocalyptic politics, in which the ideologically reductionist concerns for political effectiveness and productivity are surpassed by way of a missionary praxis of subversion and liberation rooted in liturgy and doxology.”

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