News, Theology

Ten Theology Books to Watch For – May 2023

Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in May 2023 :

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

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The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism: How the Evangelical Battle over the End Times Shaped a Nation

Daniel Hummel


A fascinating history of dispensationalism and its influence on popular culture, politics, and religion 

In The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism, Daniel G. Hummel illuminates how dispensationalism, despite often being dismissed as a fringe end-times theory, shaped Anglo-American evangelicalism and the larger American cultural imagination.

Hummel locates dispensationalism’s origin in the writings of the nineteenth-century Protestant John Nelson Darby, who established many of the hallmarks of the movement, such as premillennialism and belief in the rapture. Though it consistently faced criticism, dispensationalism held populist, and briefly scholarly, appeal—visible in everything from turn-of-the-century revivalism to apocalyptic bestsellers of the 1970s to current internet conspiracy theories.

Measured and irenic, Hummel objectively evaluates evangelicalism’s most resilient and contentious popular theology. As the first comprehensive intellectual-cultural history of its kind, The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism is a must-read for students and scholars of American religion.

Bargain Theology Books

Ecclesial Boundaries and National Identity in the Orthodox Church

Tamara Grdzelidze

(U of Notre Dame Press)

Grdzelidze’s study evaluates the present state of ecclesiology in the Orthodox Church, focusing on the history of autocephaly and its relationship with the rise of religious nationalism.

To date, the Orthodox Church has not sufficiently addressed the pressing problem of religious nationalism. Tamara Grdzelidze’s Ecclesial Boundaries and National Identity in the Orthodox Church fills this lacuna, offering a solution to the ecclesiological problems posed by the rise of group-related sentiment in Orthodox communities.

Grdzelidze’s monograph begins with an examination of the history of autocephaly and synodality in the Orthodox Church. As she explains, the political autonomy of local churches in the Eastern Roman Empire, which was later transformed into autocephaly, instinctively carried the kernel of group-related sentiments, whether national or ethnic. Over time, such sentiments have given rise to religious nationalism, which has further resulted in the inability of autocephalous churches to disengage from their national political involvements. Consequently, Orthodox Churches are unable to conduct a conversation on the hermeneutics of authority.

After sketching this historical background, Grdzelidze offers a solution to this ecclesiological problem, proposing a eucharistic hermeneutics by which the concepts of autocephaly and synodality might be preserved from misappropriation by religious nationalists. This proposal is centered on the principle that the Church represents the Body of Christ and thus embraces the whole people of God and the whole of God’s creation through the sacramental life. Ultimately, this eucharistic mode of visioning the Church furnishes a solution to the crisis of borders and boundaries in the Orthodox Church.

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