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On the Scope And Truth of Theology: Theology as Symbolic Engagement [Paperback]

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Item description for On the Scope And Truth of Theology: Theology as Symbolic Engagement by Robert Cummings Neville...

This is the first volume of Robert Cumming Neville's magnum opus, "Theology as Symbolic Engagement." Neville is the premier American systematic theologian of our time. His work is profoundly influenced by Paul Tillich, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and the American pragmatists John Dewey and Charles Sanders Pierce. From Tillich he takes the notion of religion, art, and morality as symbol, and the notion that religion is the substance of culture and culture the form of religion. Thus, theology is symbolic engagement with cultural forms, and Neville explores the ways that such engagement occurs among various religious traditions.One of the most important tasks in theology is to devise ways of testing, correcting, or affirming claims that we had been unable to question before. This book will argue that "system" in theology is not merely correlating assertions, but rather building perspectives from which we can render the various parts of theology vulnerable for assessment.In fact, one of the unique features of this book is its engagement with other religions. Such dialogue has been a feature of Neville's work from the beginning. "Theology as Symbolic Engagement "breaks the boundaries of systematic theology and moves away from the static character that characterizes such enterprises from Barth onward. Instead, Neville's book showcases the dynamic character of all theology.The hallmark of this entire project is its effort to show theology to be hypothetical and to make it vulnerable to correction.>

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Item Specifications...

Studio: T. & T. Clark Publishers
Pages   236
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 15, 2006
Publisher   T. & T. Clark Publishers
ISBN  0567027325  
ISBN13  9780567027320  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert Cummings Neville

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! ROBERT CUMMINGS NEVILLE is Dean of Marsh Chapel andProfessor of Religion, Philosophy and Theology at Boston University.

Robert Cummings Neville currently resides in the state of Massachusetts. Robert Cummings Neville was born in 1974 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology and Dean, School of Th.

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Product Categories

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

Reviews - What do customers think about On the Scope And Truth of Theology: Theology as Symbolic Engagement?

theology without ecclesiology  Oct 30, 2009
I studied for a semester under Neville at Boston University. He is a good man and certainly well-read and thoughtful. The course was more a random book study than a true teaching course, so I got to know little about where he stood on anything. So this book interested me greatly because I learned from him in a less-than-twenty dollar book what he was not energized to share with students in a two-thousand dollar course! For that reason, perhaps I should give his book a five star rating!

I wondered after reading the book and its reviews, however, how "America's premier systematic theologian" (as a reviewer puts it) has a fairly recent book that is 1,200,000+ on the this site best-seller list! Why so little interest in the work of one supposedly so eminent?

After thinking about this, I conclude that his writing is obscure and meant not for a popular readership but intended to impress and address a small circle of elites from the mainline protestant intelligensia. The book is irrelevant to those who work in the church as pastors. As a pastor, I couldn't find anything applicable for real-life ministry. It was pure speculative theology for "the open-minded" who may or may not be religiously affiliated. For me, 90% of the book is in the "blah-blah" category.

His critique of Stanley Hauerwaus was good, however. I enjoyed my own reflection on the difference between his position on theology as ever-open -- reflecting on symbols -- rather than Hauerwaus's attention to Christian identity and the witness of scripture to that identity. I reconsidered my own position on the priority of the exclusively Christian experience of the holy. Neville does a great job of provoking the reader to consider whether the Christian faith is rooted primarily in doctrine and the Bible or in on-going interaction with all religious and philosophical traditions.

All in all, this is not a book for a wide readership. Nor is it very necessary for what happens outside academia. It struck me as the perspective of one comfortably on tenure, with a hefty retirement pension about to kick in. For such a person, ecclesiology is hogwash. I was troubled with how Neville overlooks what the Dutch sociologist Anton Zidjerveld calls "the institutional imperative". A way of life, such as what Neville recommends, needs a vehicle such as a handed-down institution in order to have any effect on real-life people, Zidjerveld would say. Neville's proposal in this book offers no institutional imperative or real-life possibilty, and so it struck me as deceived as he claims Hauerwaus's position to be. In the end, Neville is no more "truthful" than Hauerwaus, from my point of view.
Brilliant engagement of truth and theology  Feb 4, 2009
Dr. Neville casts a wide net for theology - challenging what many would understand as its traditional subject matter. His 'Theology as symbolic engagement" - owing some of its roots to American Pragmatism - provides a brilliant system with which to engage the notion of theological truth - or any notion of truth for that matter. This is one of those books that opens the reader to a new way of understanding our engagement with the divine. While the concepts can be complex, I find the author discusses them with a clarity that makes the book accessible and enjoyable.

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