Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship

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Overview

The rise of modern science and the proclaimed 'death' of God in the nineteenth century led to a radical questioning of divine action and authorship - Bultmann's celebrated 'demythologizing'. Remythologizing Theology moves in another direction that begins by taking seriously the biblical accounts of God's speaking. It establishes divine communicative action as the formal and material principle of theology, and suggests that interpersonal dialogue, rather than impersonal causality, is the keystone of God's relationship with the world. This original contribution to the theology of divine action and authorship develops a new vision of Christian theism. It also revisits several long-standing controversies such as the relations of God's sovereignty to human freedom, time to eternity, and suffering to love. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking, it brings theology into fruitful dialogue with philosophy, literary theory, and biblical studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Remythologizing Theology is a ground-breaking work. Its bold proposal for integrating exegesis, biblical theology and systematic theology is a much needed one. Vanhoozer's approach gives careful attention to the literary dimension of scripture while keeping in view the inescapable role of theological presuppositions involved in interpretation."
Calvin Theological Journal, Jeffrey J. Monk, Westminster Theological Seminary
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Vanhoozer is Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield (IL). He is the author of Biblical Narrative in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur (Cambridge, 1990) and Is There a Meaning in this Text? (1998).

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Table of Contents

Preface xii

Introduction: What is remythologizing? 1

A perennial problem: myth, mythos, and metaphysics 3

A modern solution: demythologizing 13

"Soft" vs. "hard" demythologizing: Feuerbachian slips 17

An alternative approach: remythologizing 23

The argument: a brief summary 30

Part I "God" in Scripture and theology 33

1 Biblical representation (Vorstellung): divine communicative action and passion 35

A gallery of canonical exhibits 36

A miscellany of theological issues 57

2 Theological conceptualization (Begriff): varieties of theism and panentheism 81

On the very idea of a "classical" theism 82

The critique of ontotheology: why are they saying such awful things about perfect being? 93

The recovery of Trinitarian theology 105

The relational turn 112

The panentheist gambit: children of a greater God 124

3 The new kenotic-perichoretic relational ontotheology: some "classical" concerns 139

Persons and/as relations 140

Perichoresis and/as relationality 149

Passion and/as relatedness 162

Passing over/out of Egypt: remythologizing the God-world relation 174

Part II Communicative theism and the triune God 179

4 God's being is in communicating 181

The being of God: a who or what question? 183

Thinking biblically; interpreting theologically 187

The analogy of being-in-act: towards a post-Barthian Thomism 198

Being-in-communicative-act: elements of a theodramatic metaphysic 222

5 God in three persons: the one who lights and lives in love 241

Father, Son, and Spirit: communicative agents in immanent relation 244

What God communicates: triune "ways" into the far country 259

A "simple" schema: shapes of triune communicative action 271

Communicating triune life: remythologizing "participation in God" 279

Part III God and World: authorial action and interaction 295

6 Divine author and human hero in dialogical relation 297

Theistic authorship: unpacking the analogy 302

Authoring humanity: the God-world relation as divine dialogue 316

7 Divine communicative sovereignty and human freedom: the hero talks back 338

His dark materials: does God author evil? 338

Exploring the powers: the poetics of biblical discourse 346

God's authorial Word enters in 356

Triune dialogics: prayer and providence 366

8 Impassible passion? Suffering, emotions, and the crucified God 387

Does God suffer? A theological litmus test 388

Motions and emotions: can humans move God? 398

The "voice" of the crucified God: active or passive? 416

9 Impassible compassion? From divine pathos to divine patience 434

Divine pathos: suffering love 436

Divine promise: lordly love 441

Divine patience: enduring love 448

Conclusion: Always remythologizing? Answering to the Holy Author in our midst 469

Mythos revisited: between mystery and metaphysics 471

Biblical reasoning: the formal principle of divine communicative action 475

Triune authorship: the material principle of divine communicative action 486

Select bibliography 505

Index of subjects 523

Index of scriptural reference 533

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