How should we reflect theologically about culture? Tim Gorringe presents a threefold, and interrelated, reflection organised around culture, power and mission. First, Gorringe interrogates culture through contemporary cultural studies but also through the contribution of the great eighteenth century theologian, J.G. Herder. He concludes by considering the question of cultural imperialism. Secondly, Gorringe asks where power is located in culture, and how the church relates to that, arguing that the central theses of liberation theology are far from dead. The third part turns to questions of mission, asking whether this is morally feasible in a culturally pluralist world and considering the implications of Samuel Huntington's notorious thesis of the 'clash of civilizations'. Gorringe argues that mission is in fact a vital part of a respectful multicultural society.
Table of Contents
Contents: Part I Culture: The long revolution; Religion, faith and culture; The quality of culture; Cultural imperialism. Part II Power: Opium of the people?; Hegemony and the task of the Church; Liberation theology and cultural politics. Part III Mission: Imperialism at prayer?; Translation and inculturation; Universal humanity and the clash of civilizations; The Gospel in a multicultural society. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
Timothy Gorringe taught in India, Oxford and St Andrews before taking up his current position as Professor of Theological Studies at Exeter University. Most recent publications: Karl Barth: Against Hegemony (OUP 1999); The Education of Desire (SCM 2001); A Theology Of the Built Environment (CUP 2002).
Prize: Shortlisted for the Michael Ramsay Prize, 2005 'Timothy Gorringe has established himself as one of the eminent theologians of our time working on the boundaries of faith and culture. His depth of understanding transverses disciplines and contexts. The result is a potent mix of theology informed by tradition and a reading of texts and situations that is remarkable in its breadth and insight. Gorringe's latest offering `Furthering Humanity' reinforces his record.' John de Gruchy, Robert Selby Taylor Professor of Christian Studies, University of Cape Town 'H.R. Niebuhr's typology in Christ and Culture proved to be the key text for studies in religion and culture during the second half of the 20th century; and Gorringe's approach deserves to do much the same for the 21st.' The Church Times '... substantial and scholarly...' TLS 'Here is a thoroughly engaging, wide-ranging, critically argued, and sometimes sublime book that places theology and culture under scrutiny with a view to identifying whether and to what extent they can be dialogue partners... For anyone struggling to understand mission, culture, the institutional church, and the incarnation, this book is one to read, discuss and ponder. I recommend it highly for anyone interested in the interface of theology and social science; its content is substantial, and its messages are urgent.' International Bulletin of Missionary Research 'Gorringe's discussion of recent cultural theory is second to none: he is thoroughly informed, interesting, and perceptive... This is a book filled with generosity of spirit and genuine insight; Gorringe's command of the literature ranges across disciples and his analysis is invariably informative and thought-provoking.' Reviews in Religion and Theology '... this is a crucial book. It is the most thorough theological treatment of culture to appear in many years... one could only be rewarded by reading this book... I can't imagine it being bettered for a long time to come.' The Gospel and Our Culture Network Newsletter '...Timothy Gorringe's scintillating new book... Gorringe [...] deploys an impressively wide range of interdisciplinary reading in an accessible way.' Theology 'Timothy Gorringe's Furthering Humanity is important because it brings a systematic and rigorous approach to this whole field... Furthering Humanity is an impressive merging of a number of theological and sociological streams of Enlightenment Modern thinking.' Crucible