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Ten Theology Books to Watch For – March 2021

Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in March 2021 :

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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Theology Books March 2021

The Gravity of Joy: A Story of Being Lost and Found

Angela Williams Gorrell


“My vocation was supposed to be joy, and I was speaking at funerals.”

Shortly after being hired by Yale University to study joy, Angela Gorrell got word that a close family member had died by suicide. Less than a month later, she lost her father to a fatal opioid addiction and her nephew, only twenty-two years old, to sudden cardiac arrest. The theoretical joy she was researching at Yale suddenly felt shallow and distant—completely unattainable in the fog of grief she now found herself in.

But joy was closer at hand than it seemed. As she began volunteering at a women’s maximum-security prison, she met people who suffered extensively yet still showed a tremendous capacity for joy. Talking with these women, many of whom had struggled with addiction and suicidal thoughts themselves, she realized: “Joy doesn’t obliterate grief. . . . Instead, joy has a mysterious capacity to be felt alongside sorrow and even—sometimes most especially—in the midst of suffering.”

This is the story of Angela’s discovery of an authentic, grounded Christian joy. But even more, it is an invitation for others to seize upon this more resilient joy as a counteragent to the twenty-first-century epidemics of despair, addiction, and suicide—a call to action for communities that yearn to find joy and are willing to “walk together through the shadows” to find it.

Bargain Theology Books
Theology Books March 2021

God, Suffering, and the Value of Free Will

Laura W. Ekstrom

Oxford UP

For many of us, the question of whether or not God exists is one of the most perplexing and profound questions of our lives, and numerous philosophers and theologians have debated it for centuries. Laura Ekstrom here takes a new look at the issue of God’s existence by examining it against the reality of human suffering, bringing to the fore contentious presuppositions concerning agency and value at the core of the matter. When we survey the world, we observe an enormous amount of pain, including virtually unspeakable kinds of maltreatment and agony, many instances of which seem patently unfair, unearned, and pointless. This book argues that, in light of these observations, it is reasonable to conclude that God does not exist.

The book unravels the extent and power of arguments from evil. Ekstrom provides a close investigation of a largely overlooked claim at the heart of major free-will-based responses to such arguments, namely that free will is worth it: sufficiently valuable to serve as the good that provides a God-justifying reason for permitting evil in the world. Through fresh examinations of traditional theodicies, Ekstrom develops an alternative line called divine intimacy theodicy, and makes an extended case for rejecting skeptical theism. The book takes up an argument from evil concerning a traditional doctrine of hell, which reveals a number of compelling issues concerning fault, agency, and blameworthiness. In response to recent work contending that the problem of evil is toothless because God is indifferent to human beings, Ekstrom defends the essential perfect moral goodness of God. She further tackles the question of whether or not it is possible to live a religious life as an agnostic or as an atheist.

Through rigorous reflection, with deep respect for religious thought and experience, and with sensitivity to the range and kinds of suffering so many endure, Ekstrom firmly advances discussion of the problem of evil and paves the way for further scholarship in the philosophy of religion.

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