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Augustine's Theology of Preaching

by Peter T. Sanlon

Scholarship has painted many pictures of Augustine—the philosophical theologian, the refuter of heresy, or contributor to doctrines like Original Sin—but the picture of Augustine as preacher, says Sanlon, has been seriously neglected. When academics marginalize the Sermones ad Populum, the real Augustine is not presented accurately. In this study, Sanlon does more, however, than rehabilitate a neglected view of Augustine.

How do the theological convictions that Augustine brought to his preaching challenge, sustain, or shape our work today? By presenting Augustine’s thought on preaching to contemporary readers Sanlon contributes a major new piece to the ongoing reconsideration of preaching in the modern day, a consideration that is relevant to all branches of the twenty-first century church.

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The Augustinian Alternative

Religious Scepticism and the Search for a Liberal Politics

This book's central claim is that a close reading of Augustine's epistemology can assist political theologians in developing affirmative accounts of political liberalism. Set within a scholarly context profoundly hostile to liberal politics, this book suggests that Christian communities can work fruitfully with political liberals based on common principles. Placing Augustine's reading of the skeptics in dialogue with contemporary culture, the book endeavours to construct a viable form of liberal Christian politics that is attentive both to Augustine's sin-sensitive account of public life and his eschatological vision of the church.

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The Authors of the Deuteronomistic History

Locating a Tradition in Ancient Israel

by Brian Neil Peterson

Peterson engages one of the most enduring controversies in current critical scholarship on the Hebrew Bible, the identities and provenances of the authors of the various “editions” of the Deuteronomistic History. Critically reviewing the presuppositions of scholars reaching back to Martin Noth, and using careful analysis of motif and characterization at each redactional level in each book of the Deuteronomistic History, Peterson asks where we might locate a figure with both motive and opportunity to draw up a proto-narrative including elements of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the first part of 1 Kings.

Posing his questions in the form of a “Whodunit?” Peterson identifies a particular candidate in the time of David who had both knowledge and a theological and political agenda, qualified to write the first edition. He then extends the method to identify the particular circle who became the custodians of the Deuteronomistic narrative and supplies successive redactions, informed by the original formative vision, down to the time of Jeremiah. Careful argumentation yields surprising results at each stage.

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Barcelona, Berlin, New York: 1928-1931

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The period 1928 to 1931, which followed completion of his dissertation, was formative for Bonhoeffer's personal and pastoral and theological direction. Almost all of these nine hundred pages of writings appear in English here for the first time. They document the intense four-year period that included preparation of his postdoctoral thesis; a vicarage in Barcelona; occasional lectures; his postdoctoral academic year at Union Theological Seminary; travel around the United States, Cuba, and Mexico; and his re-entry into the German academic and ecclesial scene.

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Becoming a Christian in Christendom

Radical Discipleship and the Way of the Cross in America's "Christian" Culture

by Jason A. Mahn

How might one live the Christian faith within a culture that idealizes and privileges Christianity while also relativizing it, rendering it redundant and innocuous? Arguing for a reconceptualization of the theology of the cross and radical communal practices, this book brings together two clusters of critics of Christian acculturation and accommodation: (1) Lutherans such as Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer who lift up radical discipleship against the propensity toward “cheap grace,” and (2) various “Anti-Constantinians,” including neo-monastic communities, who resists the church’s collusion with power politics, symbolized by the conversion of Constantine in the early fourth century.

Drawing on these diverse resources, author Jason Mahn explores some pervasive dangers of America’s new Christendom: its accommodation to an exploitative economy that cheapens the meaning of grace; its endorsement of political liberalism, within which the church becomes another special interest group; its justification of war and other forms of “necessary” violence; and its self-defeating lip-service to religious inclusivity. Mahn provocatively imagines alternatives to conventional Christianity—ones whereby the church embodies an alternative politic, where it commits to cruciform non-violence, appreciates gifts by giving them away, and knows its boundaries well enough to learn from those on the other side.

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Becoming an Anti-Racist Church

Journeying toward Wholeness

By Joseph Barndt

Martin Luther King's observation that 11 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week remains all too true.

Christians addressing racism in American society must begin with a frank assessment of how race figures in the churches themselves, leading activist Joseph Barndt argues. This practical and important volume extends the insights of Barndt's earlier, more general work to address the race situation in the churches and to equip people there to be agents for change in and beyond their church communities.

A hallmark of Barndt's analysis is his keen grasp of the deep yet checkered legacy that American church and church bodies inherit on this question. Yet Barndt also lifts up the ways in which their prophetic work has proved a catalyst for progress in American race relations, and he clearly shows why and how churches can inculcate an anti–racist commitment into their collective lives.

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Before Nature

A Christian Spirituality

by H. Paul Santmire

Before Nature caps a set of themes first brought to the fore in Santmire’s previous work, most notably the classic Travail of Nature. Here Santmire continues the pursuit of a theology bound up with nature and its condition, especially the fragility and fervent expectation of nature’s redemption. Out of this concern, Santmire invites readers on a theological and spiritual journey to a prayerful and contemplative knowledge of the Triune God, in which practitioners are inducted into a bountiful relationship with the cosmic and universal ministry of Christ and the Spirit uniting all of nature in a single vision of hope and anticipation. Scholarly, practical, and accessible.

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Behind the Public Veil

The Humanness of Martin Luther King Jr.

by Lewis V. Baldwin

What was Martin Luther King Jr. really like? In this groundbreaking volume, Lewis V. Baldwin answers this question by focusing on the man himself. Drawing on the testimonies of friends, family, and closest associates, this volume adds much-needed biographical background to the discussion, as Baldwin looks beyond all of the mythic, messianic, and iconic images to treat King in terms of his fundamental and vivid humanness. Special attention is devoted to King’s personal insecurities and struggles, his humility and affinity to common people, his delight in pleasant and passionate conversation, his insatiable love for the precious but ordinary things of life, his robust appetite for artfully-prepared and delicious soul food, his enduring appreciation for music and dance, his cheerful and playful attitude and spirit, his abiding interest in games and sports, and his amazing gift of wit, humor, and laughter. King emerges here as an ordinary human being who enjoyed and celebrated life to the fullest, but was never bigger than life. Here we see the personal qualities of King—as a real, fleshly human being—and also as a man shaped by his social and cultural experiences and locations. This book reclaims the man behind the mythology.

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Being Deified

Poetry and Fantasy on the Path to God

by David Russell Mosley

Being Deified examines the importance of deification to Christian theology and the place of human creativity in deification. Deification is an explanatory force for the major categories of Christian theology: creation, fall, incarnation, theological anthropology, as well as the sacraments. Deification explains, in part, the why of creation and the what of humanity: God created in order to deify, humanity is created to be deified; the what of the Fall: the desire for divinity outside of God’s gifts; one of the purposes for the Incarnation: to deify; and what end the sacraments aid: deification. Essential to deification is human creativity for humans are created in the image of God, the Creator. In order to explore this dimension of deification, this essay focuses on works of poetry and fantasy, in many ways the pinnacle of human creativity since both genres cause the making strange of things familiar (language and creation itself) in part to make them better known, particularly as creations of the Creator.

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Being Salvation

Atonement and Soteriology in the Theology of Karl Rahner

by Brandon R. Peterson

Karl Rahner’s theory of how Jesus saves has garnered criticism. Rahner’s portrayal of Jesus has been described by Hans Urs von Balthasar as merely notifying the world of God’s salvific will. Others have doubted whether Rahner thinks Jesus “causes” salvation at all. Even Rahner’s advocates style his Jesus as a kind of sign, albeit an effective one, the primal Sacrament. But another major and yet underappreciated dimension to Rahner’s christology is his identification of Jesus as Representative—both our representative before God and God’s before us. As such a Representative, Jesus is not a redemptive agent who accomplishes human salvation simply through an act, and even less is he a mere exemplar or notification. This Jesus does not only “do” our salvation—rather, he is the locus of salvation itself. He not only “opens” heaven’s gates, but he creates heaven with his own resurrection. Being Salvation uncovers this dimension within Rahner’s theology, relating it to other historical examples of representative soteriology (e.g. Irenaeus’s theory of recapitulation) and to Rahner’s more familiar sacramental soteriological categories. It gives special attention to Rahner’s intense attention to the church fathers early in his career, including Rahner’s untranslated theology dissertation, E latere Christi(“From the Side of Christ”).

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