A Long Out of Print Series Returns

A number of books have been published on the life and thought of Rudolf Bultmann in recent years.  David Congdon’s comes immediately to mind.  Emil Brunner has also been treated to an evaluation by Alister McGrath.  Both these volumes are very good but pride of place for exceptional, authentically exceptional, analyses of Bultmann and Brunner’s actual theology goes to the sadly long out of print volumes in Fortress Press’s ‘Makers of the Modern Theological Mind’.

Hendrickson is bringing these volumes back and I would say, to any person wanting to authentically understand Bultmann or Brunner or Barth or even Bonhoeffer that this series is not to be ignored.

The series seeks to address the question:

Who are the thinkers that have shaped Christian theology in our time?

This series tries to answer that question by providing a reliable guide to the ideas of the men who have significantly charted the theological seas of our century. Each major theologian is examined carefully and critically–his life, his theological method, his most germinal ideas, his weaknesses as a thinker, his place in the theological spectrum, and his chief contribution to the climate of theology today. Welcome to the series.

The great distinguishing characteristic of these books is that they are manageable reading, avoid ignoring the forest for the minutia of the trees, and focus on the matters which matter whilst avoiding those which don’t.  The series lives up to its purpose: it really does indeed dissect the thought of those who made modern Christian theology what it still is today (in spite of the many silly temporal fad theologies which crop up from time to time and justifiably fade away in short order) and then it renders that theology to its essentials.

The further advantage of these volumes is that they are superb introductions to the thinking of these thinkers.  The problem with too many young theologians today is that they imagine that if they’ve read one book by Barth, for instance, that they are ‘Barthians’ or ‘anti-Barthian’ or ‘Bultmannian’ or ‘anti-Bultmannian’ or ‘Bonheofferian’ or ‘Christian’ or whatever the case may be.  Such a notion is a demonstration both of mindless hubris and lack of good sense.

One knows nothing about any thinker’s thought after reading just one book or one article by that thinker.  The authors of the volumes in this series read Barth (in his entirety) and Bultmann (in his entirety) and Brunner (in his entirety).  To put it bluntly, they actually know these theologians rather than simply pretending to know them (as far too many today pretend).

If you need to read Bultmann, Barth, Brunner, etc., start here.  Let these volumes serve as a ‘preface’ to your own THOROUGH reading of whichever theologian or theological movement you wish to understand.  If you aren’t willing to do the reading, quit theology and become an insurance salesman or a talking head for a tv show about the bible.  The latter know virtually nothing about theology either, so you’ll fit right in.