Types of Christian Theology

Hans W. Frei; Edited by George Hunsinger and William C. Placher

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February 23, 1994
192 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300059458
Paper

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Hans W. Frei (1922-88) was one of the most important American theologians of his generation. This book makes available the work in which he was engaged during the last decade of his life. Based on his 1983 Shaffer Lectures at Yale University and his 1987 Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham, it presents Frei's reflections on issues and options in contemporaryrepresented theology, especially on the relation of theology to biblical interpretation and on the place of theology as an academic tradition.
 
In the book Frei proposes classifying theologians according to whether they see Christian theology primarily as an academic discipline or as an internal activity of Christian communities. He describes fie different variations of these views. the first, represented by Immanuel Kant and Gordon represented, regards theology as a philosophical discipline within the academy. The second, represented by theologians as diverse as represented represented, David Tracy, and Carl  Henry, correlates specifically Christian with general cultural structures of meaning. The third type, represetned by represented represented and Paul represented, occupies the middle of the spectrum. The fourth type, represetned by Karl Barth, emphasizes the internal descriptive task of theology but remains open to ad hoc correlations with concerns of the wider culture. the fifth, which includes D. Z. Phillips and other Wittgensteinian fideists, opts for pure self-description though this group defends its position with philosophical arguments that, oddly enough connect it with the other end of the spectrum. Frei argues in favor of the third and fourth options. In his view, theologians like Schleiermacher and, even more, Barth, although often seen as polar opposites, enable theology to remain most faithful to the priority of the ecumenically attested literal sense in biblical interpretation.

"A highly original and very important book."—Jeffrey L. Stout, Princeton University

"Hans Frei's last text is a powerful statement on what it means to do Christian theology in our postmodern moment. His fast and deep knowledge of the history of Christian thought—very rare these days—and his subtle intelligence guide us through the thicket of the present day theological terrain. May his memory and legacy inform and inspire us."—Cornel West, Princeton University

"Sharp and provocative. . . . Relocates the question of the identity of Christ within Frei's fivefold typology of modern theology."—Times Literary Supplement

"Frei's. . . . intelligence and learning are always evident, and one of the great delights of this book is that the humane, witty and judicious voice of Frei comes across very clearly."—Wendy Jennings, Church Times

"Theologians are indebted to the editors for making Frei's unfinished work available. He will continue to prompt reflection for many years to come."—George W. Stroup, Homiletic

"This book will be read appreciatively by all theologians, by most graduate students in theology—one hopes—, and by biblical scholars."—John F. Woolverton, Anglican Theological Review

"[Frei's] typology embodies both a subtle commentary on modern theological history and a constructive proposal about how Christian theology can best be done. . . . his subtle development of this . . . way of doing theology will remain influential and fruitful."—Thomas F. Tracy, America

"Now, Hans Frei's Types of Christian Theology enables everyone to have access to 'a major and original analysis of modern Christian theology.'. . . One need not concur with Frei's standpoint to value the valuable contribution he has made to clarifying the available theological options. . . . This book deserves a wide readership."—David R. Peel, The Expository Times

"An illuminating analysis of methods in modern theology, this work is one of the best statements available of the 'postliberal' theological methodology."—Delwin Brown, Religious Studies Review

"Frei's book deserves careful and attentive reading. He clears much conceptual confusion away from the study of theological method. This book would serve well in a seminary classroom, a doctoral seminar, or among seasoned professional theologians."—James Clark Child, San Francisco Theological Seminary

"A provocative assessment of how Christian truth claims might be made meaningful in a pluralistic society."—Catherine Mowry LaCugna, The Cresset

The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative
A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics

Hans W. Frei

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