The Knowledge of Things Hoped For
The Sense of Theological Discourse
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
254 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.51 in
- Published: June 2020
What sort of meaning for today's world emerges in theological discourse? "We sit in the pew," the author writes, "and ask, 'But what does the preacher mean?' We climb the pulpit with despair of the words we must utter--a despair present for a generation at least, but now become explicit." The suspicion that talk about God makes less and less sense is set both by the dominance of the sciences as models of certainty, and by our increasing acceptance of historical relativism. The order of Dr. Jenson's book follows the order of his search for verifiability; his conclusions acknowledge the reality of promise, the "centrality of hope for Christian faith and discourse" that is the common motif of many different contemporary theological programs. To overcome a deficiency of previous discussions, Dr. Jenson starts with an investigation of how classical theology, through key proponents, has understood itself. An account of Origen centers on "the language of images," one of Thomas on the notion of "analogy." Seeking both continuity with and freedom from these traditional interpretations, the author then enters the contemporary discussion. Over the challenge of verifiability he engages the English and American "analysts," over the challenge of historicism he engages the European ''hermeneuticists," in quest of a more viable and comprehensive answer than either has been able to offer.
“Robert William Jenson’s book is the first and only major work that analyzes the logic of the language of hope. . . . We could say this is the needed epistemology for an eschatological view of the world's meaning, of my personal existence and of world history. Jenson moves into the sphere of the Continental 'theology of the future’ with the Anglo-Saxon tools of logical and linguistic analysis [and] . . . takes the best of both worlds into an imaginative synthesis of his own. Those interested in the logical and linguistic credentials of the new theology . . . will welcome this book."
Carl E. Braaten,
Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago
"At a time when theology has been fragmented into many schools, Professor Jenson crosses frontiers, and around the central problem of God-language he considers the views of analysts, existentialists, representatives of the new hermeneutics and the theology of hope, and such giants of the past as Origen and Aquinas. The result is to throw much new light both on the central problem and on the state of theology today.”
Union Theological Seminary, New York