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Imagining God: Theology and the Religious Imagination [Paperback]

By Mr. Garrett Green (Author)
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Item Number 143424  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   196
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.69 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 12, 1998
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802844847  
EAN  9780802844842  

Availability  142 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 10:25.
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Item Description...
This is a new kind of theological book-one that respects and affirms how important the secular study of religion is to Christian theology. In Imagining God Garrett Green presents an original interpretation of the nature of imagination that resolves the longstanding dichotomy between religious and scientific truth by conceiving imagination as the "point of contact" between divine revelation and human experience. Through a critical examination of the historical relationship between theology and religious imagination, Green outlines a constructive theology that views imagination as a means of making contemporary sense of God and Scripture without violating traditional Christian doctrine.

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More About Mr. Garrett Green

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 'He undoubtedly is one of the giants in the history of theology.' -Christianity Today

Karl Barth was described by Pope Pius XII as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas, the Swiss Pastor and Theologian, and?Barth continues to be a major influence on students, scholars and preachers. Barth's theology found its expression mainly through his closely reasoned fourteen part magnum opus, Die Kirchliche Dogmatik. Having taken over 30 years to write, the Church Dogmatics is regarded as one of the most important theological works of all time, and represents the pinnacle of Barth's achievements as a theologian.

Garrett Green has an academic affiliation as follows - Connecticut College.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Provocative, thoughtful, yet wanting  Sep 14, 2005
It is an interesting fault of the book that Green ignores the radical conceptions of the imagination in Romanticism, besides a brief look at Coleridge, dismissing them in toto because of the extreme idealism inherent in them. Given, Green categorizes the Romantic imagination as fanciful, which he separates from his paradigmatic imagination, but his theory of the imagination is evidently one-sided in its breadth because of this refusal to engage the rich Romantic heritage (and conceptions of the fantastic or fanciful imagination in general). Green is perhaps at his best in the discussion concerning the nature of metaphor in chapter 7 (127-134) where he deepens and extends contemporary discussions of the nature of metaphor and its relation to theology primarily by pointing out metaphor's analogical nature and its unique relation to the imagination.

Green's is a good book, sane and thorough, much better than most literature concerning theology and the imagination. However, Green's work is a little dated, in that he concedes too much to the deconstruction of modernity by postmodernism (this is perhaps why he turns to the imagination in the first place). Green tries to eschew the relativism that often accompanies postfoundationalist theory and develop a realist view of revelation by extending the insights of the Yale school of narrative theology, particularly the separation of the question of historicity from meaning and veracity in order to maintain the clear sense of scriptural texts as literal narratives. The second naïveté of the narrative theology of Frei and Lindbeck (and Green) is in the end unsatisfactory for in bracketing the question of the historicity of biblical texts, one also brackets out the traditional Christian uses of the texts for one must argue that the historical veracity of at least certain biblical narratives is essential to the nature of Christianity as historically understood. Though, Green's work is interesting and his suggestions are worth noting, it is in the end unsatisfactory as he continues to extend the modern dichotomy of meaning and historicity (value and fact) inaugurated in the Enlightenment. The answer to the question of the Anknupfungspunkt may indeed be the imagination, but it seems that one must seriously analyze the imagination in its ontological, historical and its concrete-personal aspects, which Green does not, and in fact can not do in this book.
a generous offering, a needed conversation  Mar 15, 2005
Garrett Green has written an exceptional and readable reflection on the role of imagination in faith. This generous and rich intellectual offering is a needed corrective to the challenging impasse between what George Lindbeck calls a cognitive propositionalist and a experiential expressive understanding of religion and doctrine. The previous reviewers have done a good job describing the contents of the book so I will not belabor you with the same. But what I will add is that this book invites some fascinating reflections on what it means to say "I believe." Further, while the book is certainly directed to the academic who is conversant with the issues surrounding theology and religion it has some amazingly practical implications. If I were to take issue with anything it would be Green's attempt to get around what I would call the realist/irrealist debate about truth claims in his final chapter on the faithful imagination. That said, one must grant that this is not a book on epistemology. All in all Garrett Green is to be applauded on this generous intellectual offering and I hope that many more will enjoy the intellectual feast that this work serves up.
Calling this 'imaginary' theology is a cheap shot  May 8, 2004
To call this eloquent and provocative book an 'apostasy' is misleading in the extreme. Green's book tackles precisely the dichotomy between imagination and reality that such a statement assumes. Green argues that imagination is a necessary, even vital, aspect of human knowing, like it or not. I agree. We should not ache longingly for the days in which imagination (and Christianity) was villified and scientific positivism was championed. Green's apologetic, in my view, is a step up from the stuff of Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict!

Green's main argument, summarized sparely in the other review, is that imagination forms the divine-human 'point of contact,' which was the meat of the Karl Barth-Emil Brunner debates of the late 1920s-1930s. This is not some sort of fantastic imagination, like a theology of Alice in Wonderland. Rather, Green qualifies the theological imagination as 'faithful,' 'realistic,' and 'paradigmatic.' Green's exposition of imagination makes use of Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science to qualify the imagination as 'paradigmatic,' that it makes use of holistic patterns which cannot be dispensed at will. In the vein of Brunner, Green suggests that the paradigmatic imagination may be considered the formal point of contact between God and humanity. In a tip of the hat to Barth, however, Green does not contend that the imagination gives any theological content. For that, he points to Jesus Christ as the 'paradigmatic' image of God -- very much in the manner of his doctoral mentor, the late Hans Frei.

The point of using imagination as a central category is not to say that Christianity is imaginary (although people this side of the eschaton will continue to think it so). On the contrary. The point is to talk about revelation in such a way that makes it intelligible and comparable with other imaginative enterprises (such as science, history, and fiction). This recovery of imagination proves remarkably helpful for thinking about Christianity itself, whether we're talking about the image of God, the problem idolatry, or the biblical treatment of the 'heart.' A good sermon, in my view, provokes me to imagine things differently, as well as pushing me back into the text. This book has a similar effect.

Imagining God, as well as Green's more recent (and expensive) book, should only be considered apostasy to those who have a vested interest in maintaining a stolid fundamentalist/biblicism or an equally unimaginative liberalism. There are many provocative points along the way, but this book can be read and re-read for its numerous little insights. All thing said, this is one of the best little theological books that most people never read. Five stars may be a little much, but at least it evens out that other review.

Imaginary theology, real apostasy from the Christian faith  Apr 13, 2004
By conceiving the point of contact between divine revelation & human experience in terms of "imagination," the author contends, we can acknowledge the priority of grace in the divine-human relationship while at the same time allowing its dynamics to be described in analytical & comparative terms as an entirely human religious phenomenon. As for the Bible, he argues that its "inspiration" consists simply of its imaginative force, the literary power it has to re-form the human imagination; its "unity" is the ability of the canon, despite inconsistencies & contradictions, to render a coherent gestalt; its "authority" is its actual functioning as a normative paradigm for the faithful imagination. To the theologian, he asserts, belongs the exciting task of continually reinterpreting that normative imaginative paradigm to meet the ever-changing needs of the believing community. The message of the cross, he says, is merely that it images a God who rejects the use of force, choosing rather to work by capturing the imagination of us fallen humans. If you have read this summary without feeling sick to your stomach, this book may be right for you. Otherwise, I would recommend it only for academic study.

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