Here are some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:
* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology
In Christ and the Common Life Luke Bretherton provides an introduction to historical and contemporary theological reflection on politics and opens up a compelling vision for a Christian commitment to democracy.
In dialogue with Scripture and various traditions, Bretherton examines the dynamic relationship between who we are in relation to God and who we are as moral and political animals. He addresses fundamental political questions about poverty and injustice, forming a common life with strangers, and handling power constructively. And through his analysis of debates concerning, among other things, race, class, economics, the environment, and interfaith relations, he develops an innovative political theology of democracy as a way through which Christians can speak and act faithfully within our current context.
Read as a whole, or as stand-alone chapters, the book guides readers through the political landscape and identifies the primary vocabulary, ideas, and schools of thought that shape Christian reflection on politics in the West. Ideal for the classroom, Christ and the Common Life equips students to understand politics and its positive and negative role in fostering neighbor love.
Calvin and the Resignification of the World: Creation, Incarnation, and the Problem of Political Theology in the 1559 ‘Institutes’
Michelle Chaplin Sanchez
Cambridge University Press
Calvin’s 1559 Institutes is one of the most important works of theology that emerged at a pivotal time in Europe’s history. As a movement, Calvinism has often been linked to the emerging features of modernity, especially to capitalism, rationalism, disenchantment, and the formation of the modern sovereign state. In this book, Michelle Sanchez argues that a closer reading of the 1559 Institutes recalls some of the tensions that marked Calvinism’s emergence among refugees, and ultimately opens new ways to understand the more complex ethical and political legacy of Calvinism. In conversation with theorists of practice and signification, she advocates for reading the Institutes as a pedagogical text that places the reader in the world as the domain in which to actively pursue the ‘knowledge of God and ourselves’ through participatory uses of divine revelation. Through this lens, she reconceives Calvin’s understanding of sovereignty and how it works in relation to the embodied reader. Sanchez also critically examines Calvin’s teaching on providence and the incarnation in conversation with theorists of political theology and modernity who emphasize the importance of those very doctrines.