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BOOK REVIEWS 659 what he is about to do or has done. For example, in the course of three brief paragraphs he has the following phrases: "My tack will be"; "I will focus"; "I begin with"; "Our adaptation of that model will seek"; "As has been alluded to"; and "I will begin" (210-211). There are similar phrases on almost every page of the book-pages 110-112 have at least five. Del Colle is obviously attempting to help the reader, but this constant repetition becomes a little much after a while. Though I have offered some criticisms of Del Colle's work, they are criticisms of a very respectable and competent work and not condemnations of an unsatisfactory book. Anyone working in the area ofSpirit-christology, with its Trinitarian and soteriological implications, must now consider and appraise what Del Colle proposes. THOMAS WEINANDY, 0.F.M., CAP. Greyfriars Hall Oxford, England The Politics of God: Christian Theologies and Social Justice. By KATHRYN TANNER. Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress, 1992. Pp. x +262. In Gaudium et Spes we find the following: "Since all persons possess a rational soul and are created in God's likeness, since they have the same nature and origin, have been redeemed by Christ, and enjoy the same divine calling and destiny, the basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition" (Par. 29). One way to approach Kathryn Tanner's The Politics of God is to see it as an extended reflection on just this sort of Christian egalitarian claim in its particular reference to the relation between the transcendent God and God's human creation. It is for the author a claim which authorizes a progressive politics directed toward social justice. By pursuing an "internal" rather than a "totalistic" critique of traditional Christian beliefs, she seeks to expose their progressive potential, all the while conceding that Christian traditions historically have legitimated and masked injustice through appeals to this or that "divinely ordained" social hierarchy. Internal critique aims to "uncouple" Christian beliefs about God and the world from these practices. Tanner argues that there is a "logical gap" between Christian convictions about God and creation and the actions and attitudes with which they may be conjoined. The gap may be bridged by contingent factors of practical engagement , such as what the beliefs come to mean in a certain period of history, how they are combined with others in Christian discourse, the life-situations, especially power differences, that characterize those to whom the beliefs are 660 BOOK REVIEWS applied, and the scope of the beliefs application. Scope is especially significant , since universal, even-handed application can avoid the employment of beliefs in "power plays," as when the poor are unilaterally designated "sinners " or "blessed" for their "humility" by folks enjoying far greater status and privilege. The project of "uncoupling" belief from unjust practices, however, goes beyond exposing this logical gap; it also demonstrates how belief in God's transcendence positively fosters patterns of cultural self-criticism. Tanner notes, for example, that "[b]ecause ultimate tmth, value and reality reside in a transcendent realm, pretensions to ultimate finality for human understanding of what is real, true, or good are destroyed. The notion of transcendence tends to compel in this way a recognition of (1) the limited and finite nature of human ideas, proposals, and norms; (2) their historical and socially circumscribed basis; and (3) their essentially fallible and defeasible character. The transcendence of God functions as a protest against all absolute and unconditioned claims." So when invoked in a congenial historical setting-where, crucially, social differentiation is present-and when combined with a belief in God's agency as creator, governor, and redeemer, the critical potential of a belief in God's transcendence for the purposes of social criticism may be realized. That belief rules out any strict "matching" between the divine realm and human social orders, or the assertion of a participatory relation between God and human creatures that might support such a match. God is both utterly other than the world and as agent related to it. But the theological definition of this relation, by way of a doctrine of creation , may still undermine social criticism through...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 659-662
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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