Monday, May 21, 2012

Christian Thinkers in Conversation

God’s Advocates: Christian Thinkers in Conversation.  By Rupert Shortt. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005. xii +284pp. $20.00 (paper). ISBN: 0-8028-3084-6.

This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:

Shaffett, J. E. Christian Librarian 51:51 no. 1 2008

Rupert Shortt studied theology at the Universities of Oxford and London. He is the religion editor of the London Times Literary Supplement. He is also the author of Rowan Williams: An Introduction and Pope Benedict XVI: Commander of the Faith.

The description on the back cover states that “Shortt’s lively interviews introduce readers to eighteen respected thinkers who have contributed to the recent renaissance in theology.” These thinkers are: Tim Beattie, David Burrell, J. Kameron Carter, Sarah Coatley, Stanley Hauerwas, Christopher Insole, Jean- Luc Marion, David Martin, John Milbank, Joan Lockwood O’ Donovan, Oliver O’ Donovan, Simon Oliver, Alvin Plantinga, Christopher Schwobel, Janet Martin Soskice, Miroslav Volf, Samuel Wells, and Rowan Williams. The interviews addressed some of the following themes: objections to Christian belief, philosophy of religion, systematic theology, the Trinity, Radical Orthodoxy, Aquinas and Muslim-Christian dialogue, faith-based approaches to ethics and politics and new developments in feminist and black theologies.

The interviews displayed a wide spectrum of Christian thought. The interviews were “stimulating and informative.” The autobiographical comments were especially, interesting. For example, Miroslav Volf grew up in communist Yugoslavia and pursued a theological education” against the odds. (214).

This book is an excellent introduction to some of the leading Christian thinkers of our day. The participants displayed a strong confidence in the Christian Tradition and its ability to answer tough questions of our day. The format of the book makes it accessible to a wide audience.

 Shortt does a good job in directing the conversations. He, in some sense, takes the role of Socrates in questioning the participants. The interaction between Shortt and the Christian thinkers enhances the themes explored. This book is intended for both academic and non-academic audiences.

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