Wednesday, March 7, 2007

best contemporary theology meme

the goal here is to list what you consider to be the three most important books of theology in the last twenty-five years.

i was tagged for this back in january (see patrik hagman's
god in a shrinking universe) when i was on hiatus. i wouldn't even bother to do it now except when i sat down really quick and tried to think of the three i realized i was hard pressed to come up with a third.
the 1st was easy,

1. john milbank, theology and social theory: beyond secular reason (1990/ revised-2006)

the second was also easy, though when i went to check the date on it i realized it only barely qualifies...

2. jean-luc marion, god without being (1982!) [when i read this book i literally said to one of my colleagues..."that's the book i wanted to write; my academic career is over."]


and then i got stuck, suddenly realizing that while there were books that were good and contributed to the conversation of the last couple decades, there are only so many genuinely important authors at any one time. so, on the way to my third answer i will go down the list of honorable mentions (vaguely in the order i considered them)...

catherine pickstock, after writing: on the liturgical consummation of philosophy (1997)

jacques derrida, the gift of death (1992)

pannenberg's systematics, but i think the truly great work remains jesus: god and man which falls outside the time frame given...

ju:ngel's god as mystery of the world and god's being is in becoming both fall outside the time frame given...

levinas's lectures on god, death and time were published in 1983, but were actually delivered in 1970s, and let's face it, if i was going to include a non-christian author, derrida would have it hands down...

it would be remiss not to consider zizioulos's being as communion which is certainly one of better books of the last 25 years and by far the most important work by an orthodox theologian in recent memory...

at which point i seriously considered going with marion's in excess or being given but did not want to double up on an author if i did not have to...

so i feel like i cheated, even though technically i did not. i reached back a generation [the 3 greats of the twentieth century would have been easy in comparison to this topic b/c while there were a number of very important writers i think there were really only 3 true giants: barth, rahner and balthasar], and chose a von balthasar book. balthasar finished his monumental study of beauty, goodness and truth with his 3 volumes on truth published between 1985 and 1987, before his death in 1988....

3. hans urs von balthasar, theo-logic vol.2: the truth of god (1985)


whether marion or milbank will rise to the importance for the 21st century that barth, rahner or balthasar had for the 20th remains to be seen.

LoA.

p.s. anyone should feel free to feel tagged. i am particularly interested in what muslim readers might have to say on the topic. what were the great works of islamic thought in the last 1/4 century?

1 comment:

koonj said...

(crickets chirping)

I'm KIDDING. I'll ponder your question inshaallah.