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The Church in a Postliberal Age (Radical Traditions) [Paperback]

By George A. Lindbeck (Author) & James J. Buckley (Editor)
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Item description for The Church in a Postliberal Age (Radical Traditions) by George A. Lindbeck & James J. Buckley...

George Lindbeck is one of the most influential and important of post-war American theologians. His books and essays generate debate not only among his fellow Lutherans but also among other Christains as well as Jews and students of religions in the academy more generally. The goal of this anthology is to collect key samples of his enterprise, especially for readers who may no none or few of his books and articles. By characterising Lindbeck's Christian theology as at once evangelical, catholic and postliberal, we are able to understand what describing this theology as a radical tradition might mean as well as locate some of his critics. This volume provides a superb introduction to all those interested in Lindbeck's thought as well as to the significant debates surrouding postliberalism.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Church in a Postliberal Age (Radical Traditions) by George A. Lindbeck & James J. Buckley has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Commonweal - 03/14/2003 page 21

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Pages   318
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.4" Width: 6.28" Height: 0.86"
Weight:   1.02 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 20, 2003
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802839959  
ISBN13  9780802839954  

Availability  98 units.
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More About George A. Lindbeck & James J. Buckley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Lindbeck is Pitkin Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology at Yale University.

George A. Lindbeck has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Radical Traditions (Paperback)

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

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Church in a Postliberal Age (Radical Traditions)?

Interesting book but falls short of being Scriptural many times  Jun 11, 2006
Here is a resourceful book that deals with various issues from a postliberal perspective. One can even say that the book is a primer on postliberal theology. The author, who is George Lindbeck, is one of the founders (along with Hans Frei) of the Yale/postliberal school of thought. The book is divided into three main parts that deals with Lindbeck's perspective of a particular issue from an evangelical, Catholic, and postliberal perspective. Some of the essays were quite interesting (and dare I say good) but some were just outright bad.

Some of the interesting and good essays include: chap. 4 - "Article IV and the Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogue" (though I agreed with Lindbeck's take that we cannot make sola fide too much of a dogmatic article I disagreed with his strained attempt at a consensus); chap. 4 - "Unbelievers and the 'Sola Christi'" (Lindbeck does a good job showing how pluralist positions [Hick] and inclusivist positions [Rahner] fall short because non-Christian religions do not speak the same language as Christians and are not similarly socially constructed - though I seriously disagreed with his post-mortem evangelical position); chap. 10 - "The Church" (I really liked Lindbeck's position that the Church should be the model of OT Israel); and chap. 13 - "Scripture, Consensus and Community" (I enjoyed reading this essay not because I agreed with Lindbeck but because he outlines in an engaging way the general trend of hermeneutics from the premodern period to the present day).

Some of the bad essays include: chap. 7 - "Ecumenism and the Future of Belief" (here, Lindbeck shows that he is more of a left-wing social activist than a Lutheran-Christian theologian); chap. 8 - "Hesychastic Prayer and the Christianizing of Platonism" (here is one quote from Lindbeck: "The value of a practice depends on the use made of it, on whether it contributes to authentically Christian life, not on whether it is commanded by the Bible or existed in biblical times" (p. 118). Enough said); chap. 9 - "Infallibility" (arguing that Papalism and evangelical authority are basically the same? I don't think so); chap. 11 - "Toward a Postliberal Theology" (arguing for something called a "cultural-linguistic" approach to religion? I am still convinced that evangelical propositionalism is the best approach); chap. 14 - "The Gospel's Uniqueness" (Lindbeck argues that in interreligious dialogue between Christians and non-Christians the former should drop the soteriological mandate and deal with people of other religions with a non-soteric framework in mind. Of course, for Lindbeck, the key is not about "saving souls" but about community building and working with them to promote a "better world." I found this to be the most problematic essay).

Overall, I would recommend this book for those interested in postliberal theology. However, if you're trying to find a book that will help in your ministry and promote Scriptural truth among your audience then this book is definitely not it. Though some essays were interesting to read (from a purely academic standpoint), some of the essays (from a purely ministerial standpoint) were just outright unhelpful. These essays will show that Lindbeck is more concerned about creating a socialistic utopian world than about saving lost souls from the fire or helping Christians grow in their practical knowledge of God. This book shows that postliberalism cannot be considered a legitimate evangelical movement. It is a movement that is more concerned with promoting socialistic justice and taking away individual rights for the sake of the collectivity (a form of Christian totalitarianism) than about spreading the Gospel and calling all non-believers to repentance.
so so  Aug 15, 2004
This book, - which is actually an edited collection of essays written over 3 decades, - is split into three sections. These being the Church as Evangelical, Catholic and Postliberal. The three terms do encapture the way in which Lindbeck's theology is both particularist and inclusivist.

If I was being cynical I would say that this was just a cash-cow aiming at emptying students wallets. This is probably a bit harsh however because the book does collate some articles thatb would otherwise be hard to find. I came to this book hoping that this would enflesh some of the work Lindbeck developed out of his involvement in Vatican II in his "The Nature of Doctrine". While this book did have its moments this long held hope for a more thorough examination of Postliberal theology is still left unfulfilled after its initial outline 20 years ago. One theme hinted at in many of the essays but never given significant treatment is the need for the church to develop a post-Constantinian mindset which Lindbeck. Lindbeck seems to suggest that this is necessary (the series editor Stanley Hauerwas seems to have had an effect on him here) but is reluctant for the reduction in social influence. This would seem to be an avenue Lindbeck needs to examine in future.

It is not all bad however, indeed some of the articles a very good read. Notably Lindbecks early (in the book) essay on the Lutheran and Catholic understanding of Justification was magnificent. However, unless you are specifically interested in Lindbeck I would suggest you buy the other books in this series (although I don't suppose any series focussing on postliberal thought could ever be complete without a contribution be Lindbeck) or Lindbecks original "The Nature of Doctrine" as better purchases.
Radical and traditional  Jan 19, 2004
This book is part of a series, overseen by Stanley Hauerwas and Peter Ochs, entitled 'Radical Traditions: Theology in a Postcritical Key'. This series is not exclusively Christian theology, but rather also incorporates Jewish and Islamic thinkers as well. Responding to tradition, modernity, philosophy and scripture in ways that recover forgotten and suppressed ideologies and methodologies, looking to combine God, text and community together in an integral way.

This particular volume is a collection of essays by George Lindbeck, collected, edited and introduced by James Buckley. Lindbeck has a been an important and influential theologian of the late twentieth century; an evangelical Lutheran by upbringing, he nonetheless sees himself as firmly within the catholic tradition (indeed, he was a delegate observer to Vatican II), using ecumenism as a vehicle toward a greater Christian unity. As a postliberal, Lindbeck takes advantage of modern critical theory, particularly in the field of cultural-linguistic theory, to go beyond the preliberal dogmatic truths and liberal theoretical constructs to a postliberal descriptive and sometimes fuzzy but organic conception of Christian theology.

Buckley contends that the three elements in Lindbeck -- evangelical, catholic, postliberal -- tie together to form a radical tradition that might fit what Lindbeck once described as a Wittgensteinian Thomistic Lutheran, combining the work of two very strong, traditional theologians (Aquinas and Luther) with a modern philosopher of language and forms of life. Despite the fact that Buckley breaks the articles into three main sections according to these categories, he insists that none can be read or understood outside of the context of the other two categories. It begins to sound a bit like trinitarian thought, three in one and one in three!

Buckley compares Lindbeck's radical tradition with Millbank's radical orthodoxy, with Kaufman and Tracy on issues of liberalism/postliberalism, and discusses the radical traditions in terms of praxis in addition to theory. As a preface to each of the fourteen articles by Lindbeck, Buckley provides background and context material; much of this is fairly weighty reading, and requires familiarity with some level of theology, philosophy, and social theory.

The fourteen Lindbeck articles themselves come from various publications, either periodicals/journals, chapters of books compiled by others, or parts of Lindbeck's own volumes. They cover many of the 'classic' categories of systematic theology -- there are chapters on scripture, authority, ecclesiology, etc., but this is not a systematic theology by any means. The first article in particular helps set the stage, with autobiographical information from Lindbeck, tracing his progression through different schools of thought, his reaction through his life and academic career to developments within Protestantism, Catholicism, other religions, and the demise of cultural Christianity.

Lindbeck's critiques and insights seem well-founded in many respects. He identifies the difficulties with conventional conservative/liberal thinking, applying the characteristics of one more frequently to the other (one example he gives is of the Tridentine Catholics and followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, who as conservatives are in many ways more schismatic than the progressives who are more 'traditionally' labelled schismatic; this same situation seems to be playing out in the American Episcopal church).

Overall, this is a fascinating collection of essays, a good introduction to Lindbeck's breadth of thought, and an interesting look at a developing trend in modern theology. I look forward to further volumes in the Radical Traditions series.


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