Society Shaped by Theology: Sociological Theology Volume 3, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Society Shaped by Theology

Sociological Theology Volume 3, 1st Edition

By Robin Gill


264 pages

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Over the last thirty years a number of theologians have been using aspects of sociology alongside the more traditional resources of philosophy. In turn, sociologists with an interest in theology have also contributed to an interaction between theology and sociology. The time is right to revisit the dialogue between theologians and sociologists. In his new trilogy on Sociological Theology, Robin Gill makes a renewed contribution to the mapping of three abiding ways of relating theology and sociology, with the three volumes covering: Theology in a Social Context; Theology Shaped by Society; Society Shaped by Theology. Society Shaped by Theology explores the possibility that theological concepts may sometimes still be influential in the modern world. It follows in the tradition of Max Weber, arguing that theological virtues and debates can at times be transposed, wittingly or unwittingly, into society at large. Robin Gill examines the unusual instance of the public debate about Honest to God in the 1960s, but then turns to the current debate about faith and social capital, adding fresh and unexpected evidence. Finally Gill argues that bioethics in the public domain, especially on global issues such as AIDS, can be enriched and deepened by a judicious use of theological virtues.


’Robin Gill is the best kind of academic theologian. He has taken the conventional soft� science of sociology of religion� and turned it upside down, showing how, over and over again, the same evidence of apparent decline can lead into what is, in effect, a new branch of theology. This is a stimulating, intriguing, and exciting book for anyone interested in modern theology, social theory, or, more simply, where we find ourselves today. It is also a very good read - accessible, free of jargon, and always intelligently expressed. I recommend it strongly.’ Stephen Prickett, University of Kent, UK ''Robin Gill’s Theology Shaped by Society and Society Shaped by Theology complete his trilogy on sociological theology, which began with Theology in a Social Context… Gill’s examination of the issues involved in relating theology and sociology has lasting relevance. These three volumes bear witness to a pioneering intellectual endeavour.' Church Times ’Gill has made a distinguished contribution to bioethics, and in his penultimate chapter he discusses how Christian concepts like covenant and stewardship, solidarity and the common good, have fed into bioethical debate.’ Theology 'Together [the three volumes] constitute Gill's systematic account of his "theological social system", his "sociological theology". They collate a lifetime's work of substantial breadth and depth, a testimony to the care and persistence of its academic and clerical author. Gill's three volumes hang together as a considerable academic contribution.' Themelios 'This is a thoughtful and stimulating interdisciplinary study. Beyond its nuanced conclusions, it will be of particular interest to those interested in exploring the ways in which theology and sociology might be brought into constructive conversation with one another.' Religious Studies Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Social Significance: The social significance of theology; The social significance of the Honest to God debate; Prophecy and the transposition of virtues; Prophecy and exclusivism; Prophecy as praxis. Part II Social Capital: Theology and social capital; Altruism among churchgoers. Part III Theological Virtues Transposed: Virtues in the synoptic healing stories; Theological virtues in the public forum; Afterword; Works cited; Index.

About the Author

Robin Gill is Professor of Applied Theology, University of Kent at Canterbury. He has written extensively in the fields of Applied Theology, Christian Ethics, health care, and the church, producing a large number of leading books and papers. His previous appointments include: Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology, University of Kent; William Leech Professorial Fellow in Applied Theology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne; Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean, Department of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology, University of Edinburgh; Lecturer, Anglican Theological College, Papua New Guinea. He is also a Council Member, Nuffield Council on Bioethics; Member of British Medical Association's Medical Ethics Committee; and has chaired many other committees and societies.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Ecclesiology

The field of ecclesiology has grown remarkably in the last decade, and most especially in relation to the study of the contemporary church. Recently, theological attention has turned once more to the nature of the church, its practices and proclivities, and to interpretative readings and understandings of its role, function and ethos in contemporary society.

This series draws from a range of disciplines and established scholars to further the study of contemporary ecclesiology and publish an important cluster of landmark titles in this field. The series editors represent a range of Christian traditions and disciplines, and this reflects the breadth and depth of books developing in the Series. This series presents a clear focus on the contemporary situation of churches worldwide, offering an invaluable resource for students, researchers, ministers and other interested readers around the world working or interested in the diverse areas of contemporary ecclesiology and the important changing shape of the church worldwide.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Theology