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Seek the Peace of the City

Synopsis: Seek the Peace of the City provides a robust engagement with the theological foundations and practices of Christian social and political criticism. Richard Bourne identifies a theological realism found in the work of John Howard Yoder. This realism bases social and political criticism in the purposes of a nonviolent, patient, and reconciling God. Bourne develops this account and shows how it is consonant with aspects of the work of a range of contemporary theologians including Stanley Hauerwas, John Milbank, Karl Barth, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In developing this theological realism, the book furnishes an account of Christian criticism capable of addressing key debates in contemporary theology and political theory. Bourne begins by arguing for the public status of theological political claims. He demonstrates that only a vigorous theological realism, grounded in the universal lordship of Christ, is capable of providing a foundation for local, particular, and ad hoc practices of critique. The book concludes by developing an account of the impact such a theological realism and practice of critique might have on contemporary political theory--with explorations of the doxological nature of social change, the changing shape of the state, governmentality and political sovereignty, and the status and role of religious communities in civil society. Endorsement: "Imaginatively drawing on a wide range of theological literature, social, and political theory, Bourne, in a manner unlike anyone else, helps us see how the work of John Howard Yoder provides a constructive politics for Christians in our day. Only someone completely at home in Yoder's work could have written such a lucid and helpful book. Bourne, hopefully, has made John Howard Yoder indispensable for work in political theology." --Stanley Hauerwas Duke University "Richard Bourne won't let you get away with detachment. This bold book pushes the question of the gospel's particularity beyond every cowardly formalism and safe universal. Even the postmodern anxieties only reveal a fear of commitment. Bourne's alternative for the church is like the thinkers he most admires: radical in its critique and peaceable in its politics." --Craig Hovey Ashland University Author Biography: Richard Bourne is Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at the University of Cumbria. He previously held teaching positions at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, and the Open Theological College.
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