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This is the first of six volumes in "The Matrix of Christian Theology." Rather than being an exhaustive exposition of the traditional categories in a systematic theology, "The Matrix of Christian Theology" seeks to articulate the central contours of the Christian belief mosaic that engages the challenges of today's context. The Social God and the Relational Self is the volume on the doctrine of humanity, which views humans in terms of their relation to God. Grenz examines the cultural foundations behind the ways Christians have read the biblical concept of the imago dei in order to identify a reading of the biblical concept that can have interpretive power in the postmodern context. Future volumes will be on God, Christology, the Holy Spirit, ecclesiology, and eschatology.
In this volume, Stanley Grenz creatively extends the insights of contemporary Trinitarian thought to theological anthropology. "The Social God and the Relational Self" is an example of theological construction as an ongoing conversation involving biblical texts, the theological heritage of the Christian tradition, and the contemporary historical/social context.
Grenz develops a communal understanding of the "imago dei" in the face of the demise of the centered self. He delineates the biblical/theological foundation for a new social conception of the divine image and reformulates an understanding of the self in a postmodern context, a context characterized by the loss of the self coupled with the quest for relationality in community. Grenz concludes by identifying the basis of the Trinitarian theological foundation for Christian anthropology and opens the door for the examination of other anthropological questions to be considered in light of the postmodern condition.
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