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Keeping Hope Alive: Stirrings in Christian Theology [Paperback]

By Dermot A. Lane (Author)
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Item description for Keeping Hope Alive: Stirrings in Christian Theology by Dermot A. Lane...

Explores eschatology and hope of Christian life in light of new advances in anthropology, ecology, cosmology and feminist thought.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.55"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 26, 2005
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  159244993X  
ISBN13  9781592449934  

Availability  0 units.

More About Dermot A. Lane

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dermot A. Lane is president of the Mater Dei Institution, a college of Dublin City University, and a parish priest at Balally in south Dublin. He as also taught at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Dublin and is a frequent lecturer in the United States. He has published 7 books with Veritas and his books published in the U.S. include Reality of Jesus: An Essay on Christology (Paulist, 1977), Christ at the Centre: Selected Issues in Christology (Paulist, 1991), Keeping Hope Alive (Wipf & Stock, 2005), and The Experience of God: An Invitation to Do Theology (Paulist, 2005). He is co-editor of The New Dictionary of Theology (Liturgical/Michael Glazier, 1993).

Dermot A. Lane was born in 1941.

Dermot A. Lane has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Exploration Book
  2. Reference Works

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Keeping Hope Alive: Stirrings in Christian Theology?

Caroline Renehan  Dec 19, 1998
Even at a glance, it is obvious that this text has taken years of research on the part of the author. While some of the content matter stretches the mind, the style is interesting and easy to read. This is ideal not only for the serious student of theology but also for those who simply want to inform themselves about the latest stirrings in Christian thinking on life, death and hope.

Primarily the book is about eschatology and reclaiming our understanding of this as a way of being in the world. The novice reader of theology would not be blamed for thinking that eschatology is about death and judgement, heaven and hell and end things, for this was a common pre-supposition for many centuries. No doubt such thinking was one of the reasons for the demise of any serious research in eschatology for a long time. However, Lane not only has shown the significance and meaning of eschatological understanding for Christianity today, but he has also offered an innovative perspective on a discipline integral to Christian faith and practice.

The book^Òs greatest asset is its strong emphasis on hope within the context of Christianity. Hope, in a world of darkness, is what the book is all about. Lane^Òs hope is not a superficial one. Rather, it is a hope which emanates from human experience and the human understanding of life in its totality, finality but ultimate infinity. In this respect, Lane sets about reclaiming eschatology by explaining its relationship to the Church in the world, the Eucharist, social justice, faith and ecology. Thus, eschatology like Christianity itself is rooted in the world giving lie to the Marxist theory that religion is the opium of the people keeping them from their political and social responsibilities to the world. 1

Lane has also shown how eschatology can be used as a vehicle to alleviate other misconceptions about theology. For example, the classical understanding of the dualism of the body and soul, the spirit and matter, heaven and earth are now explained anew within the context of what it means to be a human being. Lane encourages us to not to be so preoccupied with our own individual lives and souls but to see our individual destinies as bound up with the rest of humanity. 2 Yet, this is not to suggest that understanding of the self in relation to God and humanity is sacrificed in any way. For, he says, it is only when the self has evolved and emerges out of a configuration of other relationships does the self embrace a deepened awareness of the transcendent, divine dimension within the world. 3

It is from here, within the all embracing scope of eschatology, that humankind can move in search of hope. Particularly noteworthy are the dimensions of Christian hope of which the author writes. Interestingly, Lane refers to Christian hope as having a "peculiar character". Every Christian has heard of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is precisely because every Christian knows about these events that the mystery of them is often viewed as little more than a mundane fact of life. Lane, however, shocks the reader into re-awakening us from our anaesthetised existence by reminding us that "Christian hope embraces suffering and death as intrinsic elements of Christian existence". 4 This makes us aware that talk about the resurrection and life after death is not where real hope resides. Resurrection and the after-life are not meant to be a placebo liberating us from the stark realities of death which will inevitably come to all of us. Nor on reading this book can we bury our heads in the sand and pretend the far off day will not come when we will no longer be known on this earth. Instead, what Lane encourages us to acknowledge is that in and through our belief in Christ our lives include "both darkness and light, tragedy and transformation, sadness and joy, death and resurrection".5 This is the kernel of Christianity and the promise of eschatology.

The finest chapter, however, is the one written on the Eucharist as sacrament of the eschaton. The centrality of the Eucharist for the Christian, according to Lane, has to be included in any understanding of eschatology. Lane explains with simplicity the complexity of the relation between the two. Given the "overall thesis that eschatology is as much about relationships in this life as the next" 6 he successfully aims to show that the Eucharist, as it is presently celebrated, is a memorial of the past and a celebration of the future. Lane relates the Eucharist to the power of memory. He does not allow our responsibility to the "little ones" of this world to be forgotten; not the Jewish holocaust, not Hiroshima, not Rwanda, not the ecological crisis, nor the perennial holocaust of "Mans^Ò inhumanity to Man". Yet, he sets the stage as to how these and other evils might be addressed within an eschatological understanding of the Eucharist. He writes of the liberating power of memory which exists between the Eucharist and anamnesis as it is understood within the Christian liturgy. As Lane says "only when we have a sense of life as gift will we be able to celebrate that gift in the present through the Eucharist and at the same time dare to hope that what the Eucharist symbolises will come to eschatological fruition for the whole of humanity and creation in the fullness of God^Òs time".7

Even a good review (if this were such a piece) would not do justice to the text. A summary would impoverish it. It has to be read.


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