The Character of God

The Character of God : Recovering the Lost Literary Power of American Protestantism

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It is a truism that modern theology is mostly dull and irrelevant to religious life. In this book, Thomas Jenkins maintains that theology became boring because the depiction of God as a character in theology became boring. To a large extent, theologians have fashioned the character of God according to their own notions of character, and especially from notions derived from contemporary literature. In the early 19th century, American theologians depicted God in terms of the serene benevolence of neoclassicism, and the effusive sympathy of sentimentalism. These styles persisted in theology long after they lost favour in the larger culture, where the romantic character had come to be seen as most admirable and interesting. Jenkins considers why it proved difficult for theologians to adopt a romantic characterization of God, and how this hurt more

Product details

  • Hardback | 282 pages
  • 161.5 x 234.7 x 23.1mm | 630.5g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195112024
  • 9780195112023

Review quote

Jenkins expounds his exemplary theologians with proper seriousness in a masterly exposition backed by an immense range of reference and scholarly detail. What emerges without intrusive emphasis is the way governing ideas control our take on the text, and the way they can achieve life after death in theologies claiming contemporary relevance. There is a brilliant choice of texts to illustrate the pressure of a selective hermeneutic: the "I AM THAT I AM" of Exodus 3: 14, the encounters of Jesus with his mother, the cries of agony in the garden and of dereliction on the cross. * David Martin, TLS *show more