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Transforming the Powers: Peace, Justice, and the Domination System [Paperback]

By Ray C. Gingerich (Author)
Our Price $ 22.20  
Item Number 51296  
Buy New $22.20

Item Specifications...

Pages   238
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.32" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   0.74 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 18, 2006
ISBN  0800638174  
EAN  9780800638177  

Availability  123 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 21, 2018 03:48.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
Orders shipping to an address other than a confirmed Credit Card / Paypal Billing address may incur and additional processing delay.

Item Description...
Applies suggestive analysis to economics, politics, and government, war and peace, personal ethics and ecological and social justice.

Publishers Description
Walter Wink's widely acclaimed trilogy from Fortress Press - Naming the Powers 0-8006-1786-X (1984), Unmasking the Powers 0-8006-1902-1 (1993), and Engaging the Powers 0-8006-2646-X (1992) - has sold over 80,000 copies. The Powers are good; the Powers are fallen; the Powers must be redeemed, says Wink; and the illustrious theologians and ethicists in this volume apply this suggestive analysis to economics, politics and government, war and peace, personal ethics and ecological and social justice.Contributors include: Ray Gingerich, Eastern Mennonite University Ted Grimsrud, Eastern Mennonite University Nancey Murphy, Fuller Theological Seminary Daniel Liechty, Illinois State University Walter Wink, Auburn Theological Seminary Willard M. Swartley, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary Glen Stassen, Fuller Theological Seminary

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1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality   [3234  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An Invitation to Dialogue  Jan 12, 2007
I give this collection five stars not because it is consistently outstanding but because I value it as a window into a type of theology that addresses social processes rather than only individual sin and salvation, and therefore as a unique opening for dialogue between theology and social science. In fact one or two of the contributors do not even seem to be doing theology. To appreciate the value of their work, however, it is important to recognize that they are, as I will explain later.

The authors represent a range of perspectives, not always consistent with each other, so they are anything but dogmatic or narrow-minded in their theology. However they all do bounce off of the ideas of Walter Wink and his trilogy about "The Powers", a term taken from the Christian Bible, which, according to Wink, refers to social forces, but in language that fits the worldview common throughout ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Much of the Bible can then be seen as social thought in that language and with greater insight in some respects than is achieved in modern social science. Wink authors two of the eleven articles in the book.

Articles by Ted Grimsrud and Ray Gingerich especially take into account contemporary social thought. The article by Daniel Liechty finds corroboration for the concept of Powers in recent researches in psychology but proposes dialogue with the social sciences in general. Quite impressive are Glenn Stassen's practical suggestions for peace making, including international examples. Nancy Murphy addresses the social sciences critically from the standpoint of a postmodern epistemology and theology. The collection as a whole is biased toward the pacifist and peacemaking heritage of the radical, Anabaptist, wing of the Protestant Reformation.

I sympathize with this critique of modern science but feel it takes a wrong turn by emphasizing the social and moral dynamic of commitment above the cognitive dynamic of exploratory analysis in science and by tending to fuse them, thus losing some of the benefit of multiple, differentiated motivations (powers?) in the knowledge enterprise. It only reverses the enlightenment error of fusing reason and morality by putting morality on top, when what is needed is to analytically distinguish the aims of the moral and the cognitive in order to give each its own head. Consequently there is insufficient sociological as well as epistemological analysis.

The result is to pass lightly over the tremendous increase of creative powers due to specialization and individualism in large-scale society while focusing on its destructive powers, and to overlook the importance of differentiation, including differentiation between cognitive and moral knowledge, in advancing that creativity. Accordingly the concept of Powers remains more vague and undefined than it needs to be for a proposal of transformation, or would be if contemporary analyses of social structure were considered. For example the one-sided emphasis on violence and structures of domination tends to overlook the sources of power in economic competition for consumer demand and in the competition among images of self-worth (powers?) for personal emulation and commitment. Wouldn't proposals for transformation have to take the mind-set of enthusiastic shoppers and devout patriots just as seriously as domination by corporations and governments?

I believe the current ferment of theory in anthropology and sociology could be of help in broadening the concept of Powers and putting it on firmer scientific ground without compromising the faith commitment of these authors. On the social science side, anthropologists especially might well find a gold mine in Wink's discovery of social thought in 1st C Christian writings. I can see a lively future for Liechty's proposed dialogue.

F. Mervin Baker

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