The Promised End: Eschatology in Theology and Literature / Edition 1

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This book brings Christian theology, creative literature, and literary critical theory into dialogue on the theme of 'the end'.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As the field of literature and theology develops and becomes more sophisticated, so Fiddes is contributing at the cutting edge. His work is genuinely interdisciplinary, and his choice of texts is faultless. He initiates a learned and helpful dialogue with major theologians. I will certainly use this as a textbook in my teaching - it's one I have been looking for, for some time, indeed." David Jasper, Dean of Divinity and Professor of Literature and Theology, Glasgow University

"This is a marvellous book which combines a variety of literatures, from the popular to the literary classics and new classics. That Fiddes can move so easily among these is impressive. Also impressive is his command of literary theory and theology, along with scientific theory. I recommend it with absolutely no reservations." Carolyn Jones Medine, Professor of Religious Studies and English, Louisiana State University

"This book on eschatology is almost certainly like no other you have read. Through its dialogue between theology and literature it uniquely stimulates theological reflection and offers resources for pastoral care and preaching. It is a remarkable, if sometimes demanding, book, and a rewarding and recommended read." Regent's Reviews

"A highly specialized survey of contemporary theology, literature, and critical theory dealing with the perception of endings ... No student of theology or literature should overlook this book." First Things

"This book succeeds in finding fresh insights into eschatology at the interface of religion and literature and is a fine achievement. It is not always an easy book to read but is always a worthwhile one." The Baptist Ministers' Journal

"In The Promised End, Fiddes offers a unique synthesis of interdisciplinary measures, offering theologically refreshing insights, on the end that is not so much perceived as promised. In the area where religion, literature and science often clash, Fiddes is remarkably clever at pointing out their potential for unification." Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology

"Fiddes' clarity regarding the theorists mentioned above, and his wide-ranging knowledge of theological studies are to be commended. However, the impressive aspect of his dialogue is the truly deep and profound grasp of the theological ideas that are shown to be lurking within the literary texts. One comes away with the sense that theological issues can be powerfully demonstrated in the context of literary works, and that even works which may not immediately seem "theological" are in fact pervaded by metaphysical concerns in ways we may not have clearly imagined." Religion and Literature

"It is fortunate that Fiddes' literary judgements are as acute as his theological acumen, and for both we are much in his debt." Theology

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul S. Fiddes is Principal of Regent's Park College in the University of Oxford, and a University Research Lecturer in Theology. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including The Creative Suffering of God (1988), Past Event and Present Salvation: The Christian Idea of Atonement (1989), and Freedom and Limit: A Dialogue Between Literature and Christian Doctrine (1991).

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Table of Contents


Part I: Facing the End:.

1. The Problem of Closure: John Fowles' the French Lieutenant's Woman and Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot.

2. Theology and Literature - A Dialogue.

3. The End Organizes the Human Story: Frank Kermode.

4. The End Discloses a Desired World: Northrop Frye.

5. Biblical Eschatology and Openness.

6. Closure and Openness in Ending.

Part II: Deferment and Hope:.

7. The End Defers Meaning: Jacques Derrida.

8. Death and the Other.

9. Openness and Relativism.

10. The End Opens Hope: Paul Ricoeur.

11. Hope and a Passion for the Possible.

12. Hoping in the Face of Death.

Part III: Taking Death Seriously:.

13. A Journey to Nothingness: Shakespeare's King Lear.

14. Human Surplus and Excess.

15. Images of a Desirable and Undesirable World.

16. The Configuring of Time.

17. Looking Upon Death.

18. Death the Last Enemy.

19. Creation from Nothing.

Part IV: A Question of Identity:.

20. Resurrection and the Idea of Replication.

21. Problems About Identity.

22. Closing the Gap? A Modified Dualism.

23. The Person and the Finality of Death.

24. Survival and Relationships: Doris Lessing's Memoirs of A Survivor.

25. Corporate Resurrection.

26. The Identity of the Self: Lessing's the Making of the Representative for Planet 8.

27. The Making of the Person.

Part V: the Eternal Moment:.

28. The Problem of Fragmentation By Time: T.S. Eliot's 'Ash Wednesday'.

29. The Problem of Isolation in Time: Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway.

30. Eliot and the Timeless Moment: the Four Quartets.

31. Eternity as Simultaneity?.

32. The Healing of Time.

33. Woolf and the Symbols of Eternity: to the Lighthouse and Between the Acts.

Part VI: Expecting the Unexpected:.

34. Two Parables of Waiting.

35. The Reversal of Expectations.

36. Two Plays of Waiting: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Endgame.

37. The Futility of Waiting: (A) Waiting for the 'Not Yet'.

38. Waiting For a Possible Future.

39. The Futility of Waiting: (B) A Programmed Future.

Part VII: The Arrow of Time:.

40. The One-Way Flight of the Arrow.

41. The Arrow Points Backwards: Martin Amis' Time's Arrow.

42. The Counter-Movement to Evolution.

43. Cycles of Torment and Renewal: Flann O'Brien's the Third Policeman and James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

44. Preservation and Retroaction.

45. The Eternal Dance.

Part VIII: A Fuller Presence:.

46. The Desire for Presence.

47. Millennium and Utopia.

48. Fictional Images of Utopia: Aldous Huxley's Island and Ursula Leguin's the Dispossessed.

49. The Postmodern Critique of Full Presence.

50. Absence at the Heart of Existence.

51. Theological Versions of Hidden Presence.

52. The Millennial Hope.

Part IX: Our Eternal Dwelling-Place:.

53. Participating in Triune Relationships.

54. Dwelling in Triune Spaces.

55. Particularity and Eschatology.

56. The Eternal City.


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