The thought of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) haunts the world of theology. Constantly misunderstood, and often maliciously misrepresented, Hegel nevertheless will not go away. Perhaps no other thinker in Christian tradition has more radically sought to think through the requirements of perfect open-mindedness, identified as the very essence of the truly sacred. This book is not simply an interpretation of Hegel. Rather, it belongs to an attempt, so far as possible, to re-do for today something comparable to what Hegel did for his day. Divine revelation is on-going: never before has any generation been as well positioned as we are now, potentially to comprehend the deepest truth of the gospel. So Hegel argued, of his own day. And so this book also argues, of today. It is an attempt to indicate, in Trinitarian form, the most fundamentally significant ways in which that is the case. Thus, it opens towards a systematic understanding of the history of Christian truth, essentially as an ever-expanding medium for the authentic divine spirit of openness.
Andrew Shanks's career has alternated between the academic and the ecclesiastical world. He has published nine previous works of philosophical theology, most recently including Hegel and Religious Faith: Divided Brain, Atoning Spirit (2011). He is currently Canon Emeritus at Manchester Cathedral having retired.
’In his new book, Andrew Shanks offers a fresh perspective for his interpretation of "truth-as-openness" and its application to current controversies in the Church of England. This perspective is based on Hegel's distinction between two modes of divine revelation, that of "violence", in which the divine will imposes itself directly and forcefully on human activity, and that of "the cunning of reason", whereby God's will is mediated through the historical process as a whole, which is in itself ambiguous and requires constant discernment on the part of the interpreter. Shanks makes fruitful and creative use of this distinction in a book that deserves a wide readership in the Anglican community and beyond.’ Peter C. Hodgson, Vanderbilt University, USA ’This bravura performance confirms Shanks’s status as one of the most adventurous and challenging theologians at work today.’ Church Times