Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah, God—there are many names for the same God, and each arises from different cultural contexts and backgrounds. But how can you apply a name to the unnamable? How do we speak about a God that transcends cultural context without applying our own cultural and linguistic biases to the same God we speak of? To answer these questions, we need to pay close attention to what we mean by culture, and how we use this very complex term both in our everyday language and especially in the language of faith. Culture is an exceedingly complex term that nearly everyone uses, but no one is sure what it means. This work examines various uses of the term culture in theology today.
In the Logos edition, all Scripture passages in Theology and Culture are tagged and appear on mouseover, and all Scripture passages link to your favorite Bible translation in your library. With Logos’ advanced features, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference—finding, for example, every mention of “modernity” or “culture.”5
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Modernity, Steve Long tells us with his patented acerbity, is a broken record that never stops repeating its supposed novelty. If broken records require sharp, swift smacks to be knocked out of their tiresome grooves, Long’s palm-sized book delivers a salutary slap that gets us back on track—and out of confused modern conceptualities that pit theology against culture. An excellent, masterly introduction to its topic.
—Rodney Clapp, editorial director, Brazos Press
Too many ‘guides’ pretend to a kind of theological neutrality that leads us nowhere. Steve Long’s wonderful little book is a noted exception: here is a guide to the theological terrain that doesn’t apologize for working with a compass. Providing a helpful survey of various schools of thought, the book also constitutes an argument for a particular theological understanding of culture. Long not only charts the territory, he also shows students how to plot a path through it. I’ve already been commending it to my students.
—James K. A. Smith, associate professor of philosophy, Calvin College
Long’s book is filled with deep insight and strategic provocation, both of which ought to push the theology and culture conversation beyond its unexamined truisms and self-satisfied dogmas. This is a book for people who take their theology without cream or sugar.
—Brent Laytham, associate professor of theology and ethics, North Park Theological Seminary
This work, as the title suggests, offers a bird’s eye view of the state of play between theology and culture. It provides a valuable summary of the contribution of Richard Niebuhr to the subject, but also suggests there is a need to revise Niebuhr’s classifications in the wake of the rising influence of the theology of Henri de Lubac common to both the Radical Orthodoxy and Communio Catholic scholars. From de Lubac’s perspective, Christ transforms cultures, rather than standing aloof outside them. The dynamics of this transformation is now a pressing theological concern which flows over confessional boundaries.
—Tracey Rowland, dean and permanent fellow, John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family (Melbourne)