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BIBLICAL CRITICAL THEORY: How the Bible's Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture HB

  • ISBN 9780310128724
  • Pub Date 01/01/2023
A bold vision for Christians who want to engage the world in a way that is biblically faithful and culturally sensitive. In Biblical Critical Theory, Christopher Watkin shows how the Bible and its unfolding story help us make sense of modern...
A bold vision for Christians who want to engage the world in a way that is biblically faithful and culturally sensitive.

In 'Biblical Critical Theory', Christopher Watkin shows how the Bible and its unfolding story help us make sense of modern life and culture.

Critical theories exist to critique what we think we know about reality and the social, political, and cultural structures in which we live. In doing so, they make visible the values and beliefs of a culture in order to scrutinize and change them.

'Biblical Critical Theory' exposes and evaluates the often-hidden assumptions and concepts that shape late-modern society, examining them through the lens of the biblical story running from Genesis to Revelation, and asking urgent questions like:

How does the Bible's storyline help us understand our society, our culture, and ourselves?
How do specific doctrines help us engage thoughtfully in the philosophical, political, and social questions of our day?
How can we analyze and critique culture and its alternative critical theories through Scripture?

Informed by the biblical-theological structure of Saint Augustine's magisterial work The City of God (and with extensive diagrams and practical tools), 'Biblical Critical Theory' shows how the patterns of the Bible's storyline can provide incisive, fresh, and nuanced ways of intervening in today's debates on everything from science, the arts, and politics to dignity, multiculturalism, and equality. You'll learn the moves to make and the tools to use in analyzing and engaging with all sorts of cultural artifacts and events in a way that is both biblically faithful and culturally relevant.

It is not enough for Christians to explain the Bible to the culture or cultures in which we live. We must also explain the culture in which we live within the framework and categories of the Bible, revealing how the whole of the Bible sheds light on the whole of life.

If Christians want to speak with a fresh, engaging, and dynamic voice in the marketplace of ideas today, we need to mine the unique treasures of the distinctive biblical storyline.

As reviewed by Stephen McQuoid, General Director of GLO, in March 2023: 'This is an interesting book not least because it is neither a book on theology, nor philosophy not culture, but rather combines all three disciplines. What the author is trying to do is what Augustine also attempted in his great City of God book, that is, look critically at culture and then use the Bible’s grand story to critique it and provide a Christian response. For Augustine it was the culture of 5th century Rome, for Watkin it is the contemporary western world that bears the imprint of philosophical thinking going all the way back to the enlightenment and beyond.

Watkin’s approach is to begin with the biblical story line in each of his 28 chapters and articulate what is being said and then use this as a critique of culture. A very useful tool he uses is what he calls Diagonalization. He repeatedly takes two false dichotomies in culture and demonstrates that the Christian storyline can make sense of and indeed harmonise them. While reading a book of this size (644 pages) and scope takes effort, he holds interest by combining biblical insights with philosophical thinking and examples from popular contemporary culture and also makes use of diagrams to illustrate his point. The questions at the end of each chapter also help the reader to further reflect and make this a useful textbook. The biblical storyline he unpacks contains such events and issues as creation, humanity, sin, the covenants, wisdom, incarnation, the cross resurrection and eschatology as Watkin weaves his way through the major areas of scripture. He includes many fresh ideas while at the same time demonstrating that the world’s wisdom as articulated by philosophers and cultural influencers leaves us ultimately unsatisfied. It is in this void that the Christian story provides an answer. The scope of this book is so massive that it will repeatedly raise ideas that the reader will need to explore in more detail later, but that is no bad thing. What it does well is to give a big picture of Christin theology and demonstrate that it provides a relevant response to issues that are a challenge to culture at large. The value of grasping that big picture makes the time needed to work through this book a good investment.'

Product details
Publisher: Zondervan Academic (5 Jan. 2023)
Language: English
Hardcover: 624 pages