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Noticeboard: theology and philosophy

18 September 2015


HANS URS VON BALTHASAR is reputed to have been Pope John Paul II’s favourite theologian, and is held in esteem by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. This contrasts with the low regard in which he was held during the 1950s and ’60s. Karen Kilby seeks to provide a balanced view in Balthasar: A (very) critical introduction (Wm B. Eerdmans/Alban, £16.99 (£15.30); 978-0-8028-2738-8).

What does the phrase Jesus the Son of God mean? In his book, D. A. Carson seeks an interpretation that takes into account other designations of people as God’s sons, for instance, Adam, Israel, Solomon. How is the sonship of Christ similar, or unique (IVP, £7.99 (£7.20); 978-1-84474-599-9)?

There are voices other than those of the tradition of the institutional Churches which derive from the apostolic witness to the incarnation. Those on the edge — Wendy Farley names specifically women battered or silenced, gays, the afflicted, the poor, the imprisoned — lead us back to the earliest women apostles whose voices have been drowned, she argues in Gathering Those Driven Away: A theology of incarnation (Westminster John Knox, £20.99 (£18.90); 978-0-664-23321-1).

In God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a theology of divine emotion, Rob Lister aims to find a middle way that can hold together traditional ideas of God’s impassibility with the notion of divine emotions as seen in scripture. He looks at how these ideas emerged and developed, and at modern theology’s rejection of the idea of a God who does not suffer. Lister argues that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive (IVP, by arrangement with Crossway, £16.99 (£15.30); 978-1-84474-601-9).

Paul Barnett, a Christian and a historian, writes a response to those who discredit the integrity of the Gospels, and with it the credibility of Christianity. He concentrates on the historical basis for Christianity in Gospel Truth: Answering new atheist attacks on the Gospels, making a case for the truth, historical and revelatory, of the NT (IVP, £9.99 (£9); 978-1-84474-594-4).

William Arnal and Russell McCutcheon argue that “religion” is not a universal given, but is confined to certain groups of people at certain times. They explore the difficulties in defining the term itself, and the practices and studies that shape its construction, in The Sacred is the Profane: The political nature of “religion” (OUP, £25.49 (£22.95); 978-0-19-975712-1).

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