News, VOLUME 12

Ten Theology Books to Watch For [August 2019]

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

[ Last Month’s Best New Theology Books ]

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christian Humanism

Jens Zimmermann

Oxford UP

Jens Zimmermann locates Bonhoeffer within the Christian humanist tradition extending back to patristic theology. He begins by explaining Bonhoeffer’s own use of the term humanism (and Christian humanism), and considering how his criticism of liberal Protestant theology prevents him from articulating his own theology rhetorically as a Christian humanism. He then provides an in-depth portrayal of Bonhoeffer’s theological anthropology and establishes that Bonhoeffer’s
Christology and attendant anthropology closely resemble patristic teaching. The volume also considers Bonhoeffer’s mature anthropology, focusing in particular on the Christian self. It introduces the hermeneutic quality of Bonhoeffer’s theology as a further important feature of his Christian humanism. In contrast to secular and religious fundamentalisms, Bonhoeffer offers a hermeneutic understanding of truth as participation in the Christ event that makes interpretation central to human knowing. Having established the hermeneutical structure of his theology, and his personalist configuration of reality, Zimmermann outlines Bonhoeffer’s ethics as ‘Christformation’. Building on the hermeneutic theology and participatory ethics of the previous chapters, he then shows how a major part of Bonhoeffer’s life and theology, namely his dedication to the Bible as God’s word, is also consistent with his Christian humanism.






 
 

The Mosaic of Atonement: An Integrated Approach to Christ’s Work

Joshua McNall

Zondervan Academic

The Mosaic of Atonement offers a fresh and integrated approach to historic models of atonement.

While modern treatments of the doctrine have tended toward either a defensive hierarchy, in which one model is singled out as most important, or a disconnected plurality, in which multiple images are affirmed but with no order of arrangement, this book argues for a reintegration of four famous “pieces” of atonement doctrine through the governing image of Christ-shaped mosaic.

Unlike a photograph in which tiny pixels present a seamless blending of color and shape, a mosaic allows each piece to retain its recognizable particularity, while also integrating them in the service of a single larger image. If one stands close, one can identify individual squares of glass or tile that compose the greater picture. And if one steps back, there is the larger picture to be admired. Yet in the great mosaics of age-old Christian churches, the goal is not for viewers to construct the image, as in a puzzle, but to appreciate it.

So too with this mosaic of atonement doctrine. While no one model is set above or against the others, the book notes particular ways in which the “pieces”–the feet, heart, head, and hands–mutually support one another to form a more holistic vision of Christ’s work. “This is my body,” Jesus said to his followers, and by reintegrating these oft-dismembered aspects of atonement, we will note fresh ways in which it was given for us.

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