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Ancient and Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century Essays in Honor of Thomas C. Oden [Paperback]

By Kenneth Tanner (Editor) & Christopher A. Hall (Editor)
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Item description for Ancient and Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century Essays in Honor of Thomas C. Oden by Kenneth Tanner & Christopher A. Hall...

IVP Print On Demand Title The consensual roots of Christianity found in the common understanding of the faith among the early church fathers is the foundation on which the church can and should build in the twenty-first century. Edited by Kennth Tanner and Christopher A. Hall, the eighteen essays found in this volume span theological and ecclesiastical perspectives that emphasize what the various Christian traditions hold in common. This shared heritage is applied to a wide range of topics--from worship and theology to ethics and history and more--that point the way for the people of God in the decades ahead. Ancient & Postmodern Christianity is created in honor of Thomas C. Oden, who has done much in recent decades to promote these ideas with such signal publications as After Modernity . . . What? and the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, which was launched under his editorial direction. Contributing scholars include Richard John Neuhaus, Alan Padgett, J. I. Packer, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Carl Braaten, Stanley Grenz, Bradley Nassif, Thomas Howard and more. Here is a volume that will set a course needed for succeeding generations to restore and renew a living orthodoxy.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   284
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6.36" Height: 0.82"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2002
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
Edition  Print on Demand  
ISBN  0830826548  
ISBN13  9780830826544  

Availability  58 units.
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More About Kenneth Tanner & Christopher A. Hall

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tanner is ordained in the Charismatic Episcopal Church and serves on the staff of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Ancient & Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century--Essays In Honor of Thomas C. Oden?

Great Essays on Bringing the Ancient Faith to Today's World  Jun 4, 2003
I enjoyed this collection of essays, but I must admit I was dubious at first, since many collections such as this are so scholarly that even I, a scholar, get bored to tears. These essays are actually quite good, and written in honor of one of my favorite scholars and authors, Thomas Oden. Oden has written many books advocating a return to the ancient and historical faith when doing theology and ethics, instead of relying solely on modernist texts and values. This is what makes Oden ancient and Postmodern (i.e. beyond/after modernism) because he rejects many modernist assumptions and returns to ancient theology. However he does not return to a pre-modern worldview, but rather accepts much of modernism's science and progress. So it's not about "going back," but about bringing the ancient and catholic faith to one's own time period. The essays in this book generally all reflect such an outlook.

These essays do a good job of bringing the ancient faith to today's world. Christian postmodernism seems to be much different than cultural postmodernism. In some ways, Christian postmodernism is moving beyond the modernism of the Church with its individualism, hyper-rationalism, etc. In other words, now that modernism is effectively dead, many see a chance for the Church to return to its experience of the Jesus of Nicene orthodoxy and live its radical ethics without worrying about the latest secular scholarly paper on Jesus. Both conservative and liberal modernists will probably be equally outraged at many essays in this book, although the book has a more conservative bent, because the catholic faith consists of certain long-held beliefs.

My favorite essays are the ones about worship, including ones written by Robert Webber, Thomas Howard, and Joel Scandrett. Wolfhart Pannenberg's essay on the Resurrection is quite good, as is David Mills' essay on doctrine, although it sounds a bit too polemical at times for my tastes. Stanley Grenz and John Franke's essay on Tradition is quite enlightening, and is in some ways the most "postmodern" of all essays. Other essays are more scholarly, and while I have skimmed them, they have not intrigued me as much as the ones that relate more to how Christian doctrine affects Christian experience. The authors come from Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, and other traditions, making the views quite broad. Overall I enjoyed this book. As an Anglican, much of what I read makes sense, but for those in more traditionally evangelical churches the emphasis on Eucharist, sacraments, and Church authority might seem more revolutionary. Either way, this book does a good job of taking the ancient faith and applying it for today's world, although by the very nature of postmodernism, defining what "today's world" is will vary among readers.

"Ancient" is NOT "Postmodern"  Apr 12, 2003
I have begun to notice something of a trend among books on postmodernism by Evangelicals (with the exception of Stanley Grenz): they don't really engage postmodernism. Sure, they talk a little bit about relativism and how that is dangerous; they throw a few jabs at the Englightenment; they note the necessity of humility. However, they never really engage Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida, or Nietzsche.

This is a shame, too, because after reading the essays in this volume, you can tell that the early Church Fathers - and, if this volume is reflective of current Evangelical engagements with early Christianity, the Greek Fathers in particular - have been thoroughly engaged. The Evangelicals in this book have paid a lot of attention to the work of the Greek Fathers, noting the details, the depth and profundity of their work.

The books greatest strength is its essays on the Greek Fathers. From St. Maximus the Confessor to St. John Chrysostom, Evagrius of Ponticus to St. Clement, there are some really deep engagements with the early Church. In addition, there are also several essays on ecumenism which are, in the heart and mind of this reviewer, worth reading.

But, I again find myself wondering what is up with the whole "postmodern" thing that the title proclaims this book is about. I think it is this: there are a few essays in this book that deal with some various aspects of a general cultural shift that is called - fairly or unfairly - "postmodern." So, there is an essay about the Church as a community, and another essay about the importance of Tradition (by Stanley Grenz, which has already appeared in his book Beyond Foundationalism).

Of course, anyone who has studied postmodernism knows that community and tradition are really not a part of the postmodern program; rather, they are attacked by postmodernity. What I am guessing is that these essays were written to help indicate a solution to the problems of fragmentation of hyper-individualism. This does seem to be typical of some trends within Evangelicalism: to see postmodernity as a way of bringing out elements in the faith that have been long forgotten. The essay on the Eucharist being a postmodern "possibility" for Evangelicals is an expression of this trend.

Yet, "possibility" leaves quite a bit to be desired. Do Evangelicals see themselves needing to reinvent their faith to follow the changing of the culture? Or, do they see themselves as having a really solid rock upon which they can engage the culture? The idea of a eucharistic celebration within an Evangelical church is certainly interesting, but in the end it would be a complete overhaul of the faith. Is this overhaul being advocated because it is a turn towards deeper Truth or because it "makes sense" in a postmodern context? The latter option, from a theological perspective, is disturbing if it is the reason for such a suggestion.

This book has some great essays about the Greek Fathers and ecumenism. However, its engagement with postmodernism is weak at best, and on a rather shaky ground at that. If you come to this book thinking that it is going to be about postmodernism, you will be disappointed (assuming you know a thing or two about postmodernism). But, if you want some insights into the Greek Fathers and ecumenism, this is a fine place to start. Indeed, it is almost a gem.

The most interesting book I've read this year  Nov 13, 2002
Ancient & Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century is a collection of writers from various traditions within Christianity who are using Thomas Oden's theological method to rediscover aspects within the history of orthodoxy that have been neglected or over-played.

Postmodernity, in Oden's meaning, is simply that historical formation that will follow the era of modernity which Oden defines as the time span from 1789 to 1989, between the French Revolution and the collapse of communism. Modernity is now a worldview that is now disintegrating and will soon collapse, in Oden's view. Thus Oden states that whatever emerges after modernity can rightly be called postmodernity.

Contextualized in history, countless Christians have thought and reflected upon how the body of Christ may best understand the world in which we live so as to make disciples of Jesus Christ and continue to increasingly expand the kingdom of God upon the face of this planet. It is thought wise to reflect upon what our Christian predecessors had to say if for the only reason that one may see further standing atop the shoulders of another.

Today, amid the backdrop of a secularized cultural climate, there is strength gathering for two different camps within methodological circles. One is made up by so-called traditionalists, the other by "non-traditionalists." Both seek the will of our Lord in heaven. Although the lines often become fluid between the two camps making generalizations difficult, the traditionalists could be described as encompassing those life-long churchmen who adhere to perspectives contained within contemporary Christian traditions, while the non-traditionalists, as encompassing those who are in the process of reassessing those same traditions through the lenses of what Thomas Oden labels Classical Christianity-a movement now referred to as paleo-orthodoxy.

From proponents of both camps there exists a measure of skepticism upon members of the other. One camp rightly sees the danger of reassessing historical presumptions lest the historical tenants of the Christian faith become confused at best, or worse, lost altogether. The other camp, views the danger in not reassessing historical presumptions and allowing differences to continue to divide the body of Christ. One camp believes that it has guarded well the faith once received by the saints of old; the other camp is asking what is that faith? Amid the history of the human condition, the groundwork being lain right now could become a blessing or a curse upon the future of Christianity if this generation is to pass upon the next the faith once received.

This book represents the some of the fruits of the efforts by the "non-traditionalists" (the paleo-orthodox postmodern Christians) who have looked back into history to uncover what the ancient church has to say to us today. Throughout this effort there will be something in this book that everybody will dislike. Yet there will be much in this book that will challenge the reader as well as much the reader will love to hear.


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