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It is nearly impossible to do theology without some understanding of the concept of person. What one believes about the person influences virtually every significant Christian doctrine. In Person, Grace and God, Phillip Rolnick details and clarifies this key theological concept in the face of challenges from biology, post-modernity and anthropology. He begins by tracing the history and linguistic background of the concept, and then engages evolutionary biology in a heated dialogue on the place of love. He next turns to postmodernity, beginning with the challenges to the concept of the person by Nietszche, Lyotard, Derrida, Rorty and Taylor, fairly answering each in turn. Finally, Rolnick develops his own constructive proposals, first presenting grace as an integral element in the immanent Trinity, then considering "The Human Person" in the framework of relations to God. Addressing both philosophical and scientific conceptions of the person, Person, Grace, and God makes a compelling case for the importance of the person, grounded in creation and the trinity.
This volume offers a robust theological investigation of the concept of the person. Philip Rolnick calls us to think about personhood not just psychologically -- understanding it as a set of traits or behaviors or as a level of social adroitness -- but theologically. He believes that "person" represents our highest understanding of our lives with regard to each other, the world, and God. Some understanding of "person" underlies virtually every significant Christian doctrine and points to what is most at stake in it. A philosophically astute, historically informed, scientifically minded theologian, Rolnick here highlights the centrality of "person" for Christian thought by tracing its development from pre-Christian anticipations through the early church councils to Augustine, Boethius, Richard of St. Victor, and Aquinas. Examining contemporary challenges to the concept of the person from evolutionary biology and postmodern thought, Rolnick demonstrates the impressive accomplishment of neo-Darwinian research and then shows ways to interpret the biological data that are consonant with Jesus' love commands. Rolnick's Person, Grace, and God is a wide-ranging, deeply informed study of a topic of no small importance in a world in which science, postmodern thought, and Christian theology continuously engage each other.
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