New in August

In the Face of Death: Thielicke – Theologian, Preacher, Boundary Rider

By Fabian F. Grassl

Out on 27/08/2020

“Dr Grassl here unveils in a masterful way those life experiences of Thielicke that had a profound impact on his thinking, preaching, and pastoral care. Dr Grassl not only provides insights into Thielicke’s biography – frequently on the basis of previously unexplored archival material – but he also helps the reader to understand more clearly the principal themes in Thielicke’s complex theology. This is now the best introduction in English to this important theologian’s life and work.”

Matthew L. Becker, Professor of Theology, Valparaiso University

“My Theological work was always only a superstructure placed upon the experiences and sufferings of my life.”

Helmut Thielicke

Thielicke’s story is one of extraordinary circumstance. As a young man living through Germany’s darkest hour, he was time and again put on the brink of death by sickness, Nazi oppression, and war, and these experiences left an indelible mark on his worldview. Fabian F. Grassl’s thoroughly researched study takes a fresh and original look at Thielicke’s turbulent life through the lens of suffering and death, casting new light on one of the outstanding theologians, ethicists, and preachers of the twentieth century.

The reader is invited to explore a world of thought decidedly shaped by the ‘eschatological existence’ of an intriguing personality; a flawed human being like the rest of us, yet endowed with a fascinating theological prowess, taking his stand amongst Germany’s major historical upheavals of the last centenary.

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Viktor Frankl and the Book of Job: A Scearch for Meaning

by Marshall H. Lewis

Out on 27/08/2020

“Applying Frankl’s logotherapy to the Book of Job, Lewis sees Job as one forced to make sense of what appears to be an absurd situation. A fresh reading of both Frankl and Job, Lewis, following Frankl, argues that while any experience can be made meaningful, in the end we are sometimes better off accepting a world in which suffering has no meaning, at least at present. A bold and ambitious reading that respects the text of Job as much as it does the texts of Frankl, the book uses Frankl to construct a new hermeneutic of reading.”

C. Fred Alford, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland

As a Holocaust survivor, neurologist and psychiatrist Dr Viktor E. Frankl had a personal stake in the effectiveness of his approach to psychology: he lived the suffering about which he wrote. With this new reading of the Book of Job, Lewis further develops Frankl’s concept of Logotherapy as a literary hermeneutic, presenting readers with the opportunity to discover unique meanings and clarify their attitudes toward pain, guilt, and death.

Key issues emerge from the discussion of three different movements, which address Frankl’s concept of the feeling of meaninglessness and his rejection of reductionism and nihilism, the dual nature of meaning, and his ideas of ultimate meaning and self-transcendence. Discovering meaning through participation with the text enables us to see that Job’s final response can become a site for transcending suffering.

Out on 27/08/2020

Laughter and the Grace of God: Restoring Laughter to its Central Role in Christian Faith and Theology

by Brian Edgar

Out on 27/08/2020

Brian Edgar challenges us on the peril of ignoring humor in all its forms, as the beginning and end of reflection on theology and spirituality. He turns scorn, ridicule, and mockery on their heads, into a revelation of divine joy. The book is insightful and controversial, but deeply satisfying; we will, despite ourselves, experience the joy of being able to laugh all the way to heaven.

Justin T. Tan, Vice-Principal, Melbourne School of Theology

We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh, and this is true of our relationship with God. Thomas Aquinas spoke of the sin of having too little laughter as well as the danger of having too much, while Martin Luther said, ‘If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.’ Having a sense of humour is essential for maturity in faith and holiness, but sadly, the role that laughter plays in life and spirituality have often been neglected.

Laughter and the Grace of God restores laughter to its central place in Christian spirituality and theology by examining its role in Scripture and highlighting its presence in unexpected places, including the story of Abraham and the formation of the covenant, and the tragedy of Job. Laughter can be found in the incarnation, the resurrection, and even the crucifixion – Jesus is himself the great laugh-maker – and it is nothing less than a participation in the life and love of God.

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Personal Reality: The Emergentist Concept of Science, Evolution, and Culture Volume II

by Daniel Paksi

“Addressed to current controversy concerning the origin and explanation of biological life and human culture, Hungarian philosopher Daniel Paksi aims to establish a coherent, scientifically grounded concept of evolutionary emergence as a more viable alternative to both reductionist materialism(s) and ontological dualism(s), providing a sounder conceptual foundation for cultural meaning. Paksi’s argument draws on philosopher-scientist Michael Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge and Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time, and Deity. Developed in dialogue with previous efforts toward this goal, Paksi articulates a hopeful intellectual vision for humankind in the twenty-first century.”

Dale Cannon, Western Oregon University

Western civilization was built on the concept of God. Today modern science, based on the critical method and so-called objective facts, denies even the existence of our soul. There is only matter: atoms, molecules, and DNA sequences. There is no freedom; there are no well-grounded beliefs. The decline of Western civilisation is not the simple consequence of decadence, hedonism, and malevolence. Modern critical science has liberated us from the old dogmas but failed to establish our freedoms, values, and beliefs.

However, human knowledge is not objective but personal. We are the children of evolution. Everybody sees the world from his own personal point of view anchored into his or her body. We use our evolutionary skills and cultural heritage to recognise and acknowledge the personal facts of our reality, freedom, and most important natural beliefs, respect and speaking the truth. In reality, even science itself is based on our personal knowledge. Only our false conceptual dichotomies paralyse our thinking.

God or matter? There is a third choice: the emergence of life and human persons. This is the only way to defend our freedoms and the Christian moral dynamism of free Western societies.

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