Best Theology Books of 2018!

December 13, 2018

 

Here are twelve of the best theology books of 2018:

 
One of the distinctive parts of our mission here at the ERB is recommending substantial theology books that deserve to be read not only among academics, but also in churches, as we seek to discern what faithfulness to the way of Jesus looks like in our particular places amidst all the challenges of the twenty-first century.

So, in addition to our Advent calendar of 2018’s Best Books
(which will feature a few of the following books),
we offer this deeper look at the year’s best theology books. 
 

***What other books would you add to this list?

 

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Divinations: Theopolitics in an Age of Terror 

Daniel Bell

Cascade Books

*** Reviewed in our Lent 2018 magazine issue
(Are you a subscriber?)

As modernity gives way to postmodernity, we are witnessing the emergence of a post-political age. Concepts and realities that anchored modern politics–like nation-states, community, freedom, and law–find themselves under duress from a pluriform terror. Simultaneously, we are witnessing a turn to religion by continental philosophers who seek resources for re-visioning a politics of resistance to this terror. This work engages postmodern philosophers such as Agamben, Badiou, Derrida, Deleuze, Hardt, Negri, and Zizek, seeking to divine both the promise and peril of this pagan plundering of Christianity on the way to articulating a Christian theopolitical vision that holds out the hope of resisting the terror that looms over us.

“Writing with remarkable clarity, Bell develops a critical account of democracy by engaging Derrida, Deleuze, Zizek, Badiou, and Agamben. This is no small accomplishment. At least as important is Bell’s constructive theological proposal for helping Christians regain hope for the future.”
–Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University



The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology 

Lilian Calles Barger

Oxford UP

On November 16, 2017, Pope Francis tweeted, “Poverty is not an accident. It has causes that must be recognized and removed for the good of so many of our brothers and sisters.” With this statement and others like it, the first Latin American pope was associated, in the minds of many, with a stream of theology that swept the Western hemisphere in the 1960s and 70s, the movement known as liberation theology.
Born of chaotic cultural crises in Latin America and the United States, liberation theology was a trans-American intellectual movement that sought to speak for those parts of society marginalized by modern politics and religion by virtue of race, class, or sex. Led by such revolutionaries as the Peruvian Catholic priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, the African American theologian James Cone, or the feminists Mary Daly and Rosemary Radford Ruether, the liberation theology movement sought to bridge the gulf between the religious values of justice and equality and political pragmatism. It combined theology with strands of radical politics, social theory, and the history and experience of subordinated groups to challenge the ideas that underwrite the hierarchical structures of an unjust society.

Praised by some as a radical return to early Christian ethics and decried by others as a Marxist takeover, liberation theology has a wide-raging, cross-sectional history that has previously gone undocumented. In The World Come of Age, Lilian Calles Barger offers for the first time a systematic retelling of the history of liberation theology, demonstrating how a group of theologians set the stage for a torrent of new religious activism that challenged the religious and political status quo.

 

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