Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God

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9780826417701: Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God
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'Since the middle of the twentieth century,' writes Elizabeth Johnson, 'there has been a renaissance of new insights into God in the Christian tradition. On different continents, under pressure from historical events and social conditions, people of faith have glimpsed the living God in fresh ways. It is not that a wholly different God is discovered from the One believed in by previous generations. Christian faith does not believe in a new God but, finding itself in new situations, seeks the presence of God there. Aspects long-forgotten are brought into new relationships with current events, and the depths of divine compassion are appreciated in ways not previously imagined.' This book sets out the fruit of these discoveries. The first chapter describes Johnson's point of departure and the rules of engagement, with each succeeding chapter distilling a discrete idea of God. Featured are transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, ending with the particular Christian idea of the one God as Trinity.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., is distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University. She has received numerous awards, including the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for She Who Is (1993), the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion for Friends of God and Prophets (1999), and the Book Award of the College Theology Society for Truly Our Sister (2004). She was also the recipient of the John Courtney Murray Award of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Jerome Award of the Catholic Library Association, and the Monika K. Hellwig Award of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Review:

"In this wonderful, lucid, and challenging book, Elizabeth Johnson not only maps the frontiers of theology but critiques, synthesizes, and appropriates a range of insights to help us fruitfully and humbly expand our grasp of the Loving Mystery who is God." - M. Shawn Copeland, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College, and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America

"As Elizabeth Johnson notes, Karl Rahner had an abiding concern that much of Christian theology presented God 'unworthy of belief.' Here Johnson has given us a God truly worthy of our belief, fidelity, and love. Every word breathes with the author's own deep love of God, the church, and the world. Combining her usual theological sophistication with the practical wisdom that comes from a life-long commitment to the life of faith, this is theology as it should be." - Roberto S. Goizueta, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College, and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America

"It is a great act of generosity...that such an accomplished scholar would pause in her career-long project to share with us her considerable gifts as a teacher, as she does in her new book...Quest for the Living God is an invitation to its readers to explore some of our best contemporary reflections on the experience of God and topics surrounding the doctrine of God. Written in clear and accessible prose, the book avoids the technical language that peppers scholarly works intended for a professional audience, and takes pains to guide a theologically inexperienced reader through all the issues that inform a particular interpretive concern...It is rare that one finds a book that will appeal to all sorts of audiences, but Quest for the Living God is one. Professional theologians, undergraduate students and literate people of faith will enjoy all that this engaging work has to offer." -John E. Thiel, America, January 21-28, 2008 (John E. Thiel)

"In her new book, Quest for the Living God, she offers a compelling case for several important movements in modern Christian thought. She begins with Karl Rahner's seminal investigations in the 1930s before moving on to various contemporary Christian theologies-and, finally, to the complex connections being forged between Christianity and other world religions...with her usual clarity and precision...It is just such orthodoxy, unhistorical and disembodied, that fails to reach the living God these theologians seek to recover. Elizabeth Johnson's careful analysis reminds us how much we miss when dead birds fall from the pulpit." - Dennis O'Brien, Commonweal, April 11, 2008 (Dennis O'Brien)

"This is another splendid book by Elizabeth A. Johnson...Written primarily for intelligent lay folk, the engaging style of this review of the last 50 years of Christian theology contains Johnson's own insights couched in smooth, economic and yet elegant language with an occasional zinger that sums up a movement or an insight. Johnson's table of contents is a reliable outline of her book; a real help for teachers or study groups who use The Quest for the Living God as I propose to do in an upper level undergraduate research seminar this fall...Johnson lays out the richness of inter-religious dialogues and the urgency of attending to all God's offspring, including the planet and its beautiful burden of living creatures of the sea, the skies, the earth. Theologians give them voices, point to the living Spirit of God creating an evolving world so heedlessly and recklessly squandered by its human users and abusers. The last chapter is a wonder...Johnson's epilogue invites readers to continue the quest for the transcendent and immanent God who invites our conversations and exceeds all we can say." - Jill Raitt, Fontbonne University, Catholic Books Review (http://catholicbooksreview.org) (Jill Raitt)

"With her characteristic generosity, Johnson surveys a range of new theological currents in the doctrine of God, showing the context in which each idea arose, the theological reasoning behind it, and its implications for spiritual and practical life. Included are chapters on transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, followed by a chapter of trinitarian reflections. Suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter." - Amy Plantinga Pauw, Christian Century, May 6, 2008 (Amy Plantinga Pauw)

"Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God extends her generous intellectual hospitality to an intriguing array of contemporary Christian doctrines of God, welcoming voices from all over the theological map and providing a common table around which they may hear one another out and be heard with respect. In this spirit, she concludes by leaving the door open rather than closing it with a rash of final pronouncements." - Jenn Cavanaugh, Parabola, Summer 2008 (Jenn Cavanaugh)

"Johnson succeeds in emphasizing the mystery of God and the insatiability of the human quest for encountering that mystery. She illustrates this most effectively by highlighting the diversity of perspectives that fail to exhaust the mystery of God. Perhaps even more impressive than its comprehensiveness is the book's accessibility. Johnson takes the most complex theological themes, such as divine agency and the nature of the Trinity, and makes them intelligible for an introductory level audience. I look forward to using this text in an undergraduate context, trusting that students will receive a substantive and inspiring introduction to the theologies of God." - Erin Brigham, Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2008 (Erin Brigham Anglican Theological Review)

"Johnson speaks of the quest for the living God using the Scripture text 'Like a dry and arid land so does my soul long for you, My God.' St. Augustine experiences this in his quest for God as he stated in his confessions: 'You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.' This is the experience one might have from this book." — Benedictines (Janelle Maes, OSB)

"This is one of the most important and provocative books on theology to have appeared in the U.S. since Vatican II... I challenge every thinking Christian to read chapter one-they will be so energized that they will rush to go through the whole book." —Joseph Cunneen, The American Catholic (Joseph Cunneen American Catholic Studies)

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