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Ten Theology Books to Watch For – September 2021

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

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

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Theology Books September 2021

Hell Hath No Fury: Gender, Disability, and the Invention of Damned Bodies in Early Christian Literature

Meghan Henning

(Yale UP)

The first major book to examine ancient Christian literature on hell through the lenses of gender and disability studies

Throughout the Christian tradition, descriptions of hell’s fiery torments have shaped contemporary notions of the afterlife, divine justice, and physical suffering. But rarely do we consider the roots of such conceptions, which originate in a group of understudied ancient texts: the early Christian apocalypses.

In this pioneering study, Meghan Henning illuminates how the bodies that populate hell in early Christian literature—largely those of women, enslaved persons, and individuals with disabilities—are punished after death in spaces that mirror real carceral spaces, effectually criminalizing those bodies on earth. Contextualizing the apocalypses alongside ancient medical texts, inscriptions, philosophy, and patristic writings, this book demonstrates the ways that Christian depictions of hell intensified and preserved ancient notions of gender and bodily normativity that continue to inform Christian identity.

 
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Theology Books September 2021

God, Evil, and the Limits of Theology

Karen Kilby

(T&T Clark)

Karen Kilby explores the doctrine of the Trinity and issues of evil, suffering and sin. She offers a critique of the lack of respect for mystery found in the most popular Trinitarian thinking of our time. Kilby gives an apophatic reading of Aquinas on the Trinity and offers a distinct next step in the sequence on the Trinity – the appeal of social doctrines of the Trinity lies principally in their ecclesial and political relevance. She engages with Miroslav Volf’s famous ‘The Trinity is our social program‘ essay and addresses the question of what an alternative politics of an apophatic theology of the Trinity might look like.

The essays explore the question of theodicy and argue that evil poses a question to Christians and Christian’s theology which can neither be answered nor dismissed. Kilby argues that Christians must live with this mystery, this lack of resolution, rather than trying to diminish the gravity of evil, or allowing evil to dictate their conception of God’s goodness or power. By offering a critical reading of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Julian of Norwich she explores the question of whether Christianity can avoid giving a positive valuation to suffering, and concludes the two represent two different strands within the Christian tradition in relation to thought on suffering.

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