Politics of Redemption: Concluding Index

Many thanks to Jeremy, Andy, Brandy, and J. Kameron Carter for their summaries and critiques. Oh, and of course, thanks to Adam for comporting himself with a level of grace under fire that we never knew he had in him. We appreciate everybody who read and participated in the discussion and welcome your comments even after the event has come to a close. That’s the beauty of blogs, after all. Stay tuned for our next event . . .

An index to the posts is provided here:

Politics of Redemption book event: My response

First of all, I’d like to thank Jeremy, Andy, Jay, and Brandy for their generous participation in this event, both in terms of devoting their time and in terms of the care with which they constructed their posts. The blogosphere is often characterized by misunderstanding and misreading — but all the authors read my work carefully and interpreted it in line with my intentions and goals, before moving on to their equally well-considered criticisms. It is very gratifying to feel as though I have been understood.

I’ve tried to respond to the individual posts in comments (with the partial exception of Brandy, who raised objections so over-arching that this post seemed like a more appropriate forums). With this post, I’d like to take up Brandy’s question about my rejection of transcendence, as well as a related question that came up in all the posts except Jeremy’s: the question of whether my interpretation of Bonhoeffer is adequate.

First, Bonhoeffer. Continue reading Politics of Redemption book event: My response”

The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 8-9)

The penultimate chapter in The Politics of Redemption, “Community and Related Questions,” begins by reminding the reader of the social-relational logic that pervades patristic theories of atonement and the trajectory that theories of atonement take  from a social-relational logic to a more individualistic one. Kotsko has already begun to demonstrate “the continuing relevance of recaptiulatory theories in modernity” but goes a step further in this chapter, beginning to sketch a contemporary atonement theory. Before that move occurs (which is the topic of the final chapter), Kotsko turns to Karl Barth and Dorothee Soelle to gesture to the centrality of community and relationality for a theory of atonement. Continue reading The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 8-9)”

The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 6-7)

After an unexpected hiatus the book event on Adam’s Politics of Redemption is back on. Below is the contribution from J. Kameron Carter who is the Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School.

In writing The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation, Adam Kotsko has written an important book, a book in which he labors to retrieve but more importantly deepen the social imagination already internal to Christianity’s account of salvation, most especially, its account of the atonement or the redeeming death of Christ. His quest is for a “social-relational” understanding of what has been opened up in the representational identity of Jesus and thus what has been accomplished in the work of Christ. This social-relational understanding of Christ and in light of Christ the created order is precisely what St. Paul was working to articulate in Romans 5 with his language of the first and the second Adams. Christian discourses of salvation and atonement as found in major thinkers of the Christian tradition from the patristic and medieval eras to the present have taken Romans 5 and its language of Adam as a kind of locus classicus for thinking about the saving work of Christ. Continue reading The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 6-7)”

Politics of Redemption Giveaway Winner

Thank you to all those who entered the Politics of Redemption giveaway, particularly for your dilligent research in answering what Anthony declared to be the most difficult giveaway question ever. The passage where Augustine discusses dog-headed creatures’ (and other monsters’) relationship to the human race is City of God XVIII.6, where he concludes that if they exist and if they are rational animals (i.e., fitting the definition of human), then they must be human beings who have descended from Adam (through Noah, given that the flood killed off all other lines).

The names of all those with correct answers were written on little slips of paper that were mixed up and put into a hat. The Girlfriend then drew the winner, Erin Hamilton, who will be receiving her prize in however long media mail takes to get from Chicago to California. Congratulations to Erin, and thanks again to all contestants for their interest in the book.

The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 3-5)

The three chapters I’ll be dealing with plot out a series of alternative conceptions of atonement, i.e. not those most influential in the later theological tradition. Firstly, Adam gives some overview of some modern treatments – the theologies of Boersma, Weaver, and Aulén. Secondly, he turns to Irenaeus, whom he admits sets out a view that is far from mainstream (76), in spite of the orthodoxy of its author. Thirdly, he describes the development in Gregory of Nyssa. I will be giving summaries and comments on these chapters one by one, in case readers are still catching up with the pace of the reading!Chapter 3 is all about modern accounts that draw on some of the same sources treated in this book. As the first two authors are both reliant on the third, I will limit my comments largely to this latter, namely Aulén, the Swedish professor who wrote the standard work for atonement theory. Aulén worked at Lund, and his work is usually associated with that of Anders Nygren (who wrote Eros and Agape). Both were hardnosed Lutheran scolars of patristic theology, and both applied their work to contemporary systematic questions, which is unusual for Nordic Lutheranism. Continue reading The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 3-5)”

Politics of Redemption: A book giveaway

I have an extra author copy of Politics of Redemption laying around, so I thought it might be a good idea to celebrate the book event by giving it away. As with so many things in academia, this giveaway will combine merit and random chance. I will require contestants to answer a theological trivia question, and I will have a random drawing from among all the correct answers that arrive in my inbox by the time I wake up Wednesday morning. (To avoid any appearance of favoritism, The Girlfriend will draw the winner.)

The question: Where does Augustine discuss the relationship between the human race and dog-headed creatures (such as those seen in Egyptian hierogliphics) and other monsters, and what does he conclude (assuming they exist)?

Please send all entries to akotsko at gmail dot com.

The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 1-2)

Kotsko opens up his work by stating that theology requires some ontological reflection. His thesis is that the major theologians, who have made important contributions to atonement theory, have all implicitly shared a social-relational ontology. Kotsko discloses to his reader that he has chosen the doctrine of atonement because of the degree of criticism traditional doctrines of atonement have received from liberation theologians. He is sympathetic with their critiques and hopes that this work will be useful in offering “unexpected resources for transformation” (3). For Christ’s saving work to impact all of humanity, there must be an interrelatedness of all mankind, otherwise it would be impossible for “an agent at a particular nodal point to have cascading effects” (5).

Next, Kotsko offers a very clear reading of Bonhoeffer’s obscure writings on the possibility of a religionless Christianity in Letters and Papers from Prison. Continue reading The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Chapters 1-2)”

The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation Book Event: Preparatory Remarks

Today we begin our first book event to feature a regular contributor to AUFS – in fact the most regular contributor! – that is, of course, Adam Kotsko’s The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (Amazon: US, UK; Book Depository) published recently with T&T Clark. We are going to try to take our time with the book since in the past we’ve had pacing issues during the book events. So the schedule below is more provisional and posts will come out when they are ready. We’re very excited that in addition to two regulars, Andy Thomas and Jeremy Ridenour, we will see contributions from Brandy Daniels and J. Kameron Carter. Each contributor will cover two chapters in whichever way they choose and open up the comments for further discussion. Adam will offer a response at the end of the event and, I expect, throughout the two weeks.

Provisional schedule:  
Jeremy Ridenour, Chapters 1-2: April 18-19
Andy Thomas, Chapters 3-5: April 20-22
J. Kameron Carter, Chapters 6-7: April 25-27
Brandy Daniels, Chapters 8-9: April 28-29

Liberation Theology, Satan, and Reconciliation

A couple of months ago I read Douglas’ The Black Christ. This works reviews the history of slave religion and the development of black liberation theology. In the last chapter, Douglas sketches her proposal for a womanist Christology. Something I found interesting in her work was her review of three major black liberation theologians: Albert Cleage, James Cone, and J. D. Roberts.

All three men have different views of theology and reconciliation. However, I only want to discuss the divide that separates Cone from Roberts. Continue reading “Liberation Theology, Satan, and Reconciliation”