In this study, Paul S. Chung charts the history of social scientific study of religion from the axial age to the present day, and thereby lays a foundation for a new model of constructive theology in the comparative study of religion, culture and society. Analysing the thought of Max Weber, Alfred Schutz, Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, Edmund Husserl, Max Horkheimer and others, Chung deals effectively with material interests, power relations and the history of race, gender and sexuality. The result is a synthesis that is at once innovative, critical, and applicable to current methodology in theology and the social sciences.
Foreword by Ulrich Duchrow
1. Sociological Enquiry and World Religion
2. Hermeneutics of Life-world, Religion, and Constructive Theology
3. Sociological Hermeneutics, Power Relations, and Immanent Critique
4. Phenomenology and Social Construction of Reality
5. Social Construction of Religion, Schleiermacher, and Constructive Theology
6. Sociological Enquiry into Hinduism and Comparative Theology
Endorsements and Reviews
The range and depth of Chung’s analysis is an original contribution to the construction of comparative theology. The hermeneutical lens that informs his work draws upon interdisciplinary perspectives from sociology, critical theory, phenomenology, and religious studies to disclose creative new facets of theological investigation. Incorporating insights from Luther, Troeltsch, and Barth, among others, this project boldly joins rigorous ethical commitment to the imperative of interreligious engagement.
Craig L. Nessan, Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A.
Comparing multiple theological explanations of reality requires crossing over and coming back enriched. Paul Chung takes us on this journey and brings us home again, richer.
Ted Peters, author of God – The World’s Future: Systematic Theology for a Postmodern Era
This interdisciplinary theological inquiry into ‘constructive theology of comparative religions’, more widely known as comparative theology, takes interfaith engagement in a whole new level. Skillfully combining resources from a plethora of disciplines, Chung works out a comparative theological resource capable of tackling complex pluralities of the third millennium. Breathtaking in its scope, this work, part of a two-volume project, has the promise of becoming a current classic on all things interfaith issues.
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Professor of Systematic Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Docent of Ecumenics, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki