News, Theology

Ten Theology Books to Watch For – September 2022

Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in September 2022 :

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

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Theology Books September 2022

Nothing Gained Is Eternal: A Theology of Tradition

Anne Carpenter

(Fortress Press)

In the decades since the declaration of the “end of history,” the West has been reminded time and again that history is not yet done with us. Time marches on, but the past keeps pace. The twin questions at the heart of the last two hundred years of philosophy and theology–What is history? What is tradition?–are more pressing now than when they were first posed. While most answers to these questions are methodological and descriptive, Nothing Gained Is Eternal presents an answer both theological and theoretical, an answer rooted in action, memory, and freedom.

Drawing on the thought of some of the brightest lights of the twentieth century, such as Bernard Lonergan, Charles Péguy, Maurice Blondel, and Hans Urs von Balthasar, Anne M. Carpenter argues for a new theory of tradition. It is a theory firmly moored to the ambiguities, contradictions, and varied fruits of the past. Carpenter shows ressourcement to be a way not only of retrieving the past but of making moral judgments about both a former age and our own. The resulting account of tradition pushes back against sentimental and triumphalist interpretations of Christian patrimony.

Yet, this work also identifies the ways in which theology’s turn to history is incomplete and confronts its own theory of tradition with decolonial criticism. Carpenter challenges readers to wrestle with whether tradition can persist when its colonialist practices are brought to light. And in asking this question, she offers hope for transforming the life of tradition in its wake.


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Theology Books September 2022

A Media Ecology of Theology: Communicating Faith throughout the Christian Tradition

Paul A. Soukup, S.J.

(Baylor UP)

In the Christian tradition, the faithful do theology―defined in Anselm’s phrase as “faith seeking understanding”―in different media. The contemporary emphasis on written or academic theology obscures the long history in which people sought to understand and express their faith by way of various outlets and formats. Because historical Christianity has embraced every communication medium, the media ecology approach to communication study offers a powerful tool to examine that history and the affordances of the media for theological expression. Just so, the history of theology offers a variety of test cases to illustrate media ecology at work.

In A Media Ecology of Theology Paul Soukup invites us to explore the interaction between communication media, broadly defined, and the Christian theological heritage. Soukup follows a media ecology methodology, moving from a description of a communication medium to an examination of its affordances to a discussion of how those affordances shape the faith-seeking-understanding practiced in each. He shows that, in some cases, different media support different theological conclusions, and different theological stances shape media. The case studies range from the first to the twenty-first centuries, with a limitation imposed by selection, language, and culture.

As an introductory work, A Media Ecology of Theology addresses communication scholars and students, theological scholars and students (primarily those interested in the history of theology or in practical theology), and those with an interest in various media (art, architecture, etc.). With an interdisciplinary focus and a willingness to argue for a wider theological ecosystem―one in which the medium influences both content and selection of ideas―Soukup creates new vistas for understanding the life of faith, and how societies and communities express their most cherished ideas.

*** Which of these theology books of September 2022 do you want to read first?

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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