Theology as Repetition revisits and argues for a revival of John Macquarrie’s philosophical theology. Macquarrie was a key twentieth-century theological voice and was considered a foremost interpreter and translator of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy. He then somehow fell from view. Macquarrie developed a new style of theology, grounded in a dialectical phenomenology that is a relevant voice in responding to recent trends in theology. The development of this book is partly chronological and partly thematic, and does not want to be either deductive or inductive in argument, but rather reflects Macquarrie’s phenomenologically styled new theology. The first part situates Macquarrie in relation to thinkers from the radical theology of the 1960s through to the postmodernists of the late twentieth century, while the second part explores the intersection of key themes in Macquarrie’s theology with the thinking of Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and representative postsecular and postmodern figures, including Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Marion.
Part One: Situating Macquarrie’s Theology
1. Pilgrimage in Theology
2. Establishing Dialectical Theism
3. Theology in a New Style
4. Dialectical Theism and Postmodernism
Part Two: Onto-Theology: Dialectical Theism and Postmodernism
5. The Problem with (the Violence of) Natural Theology (I)
6. The Problem with (the Violence of) Natural Theology (II)
7. Reason, Experience, and Revelation
8. Truth, Language, and Scripture
Endorsements and Reviews
Originating in a series of conversations, this book exemplifies the method of ‘doing theology’ that is at the heart of this seminal international scholar’s philosophy. Using it as a means of bridging the gap between the Christian faith tradition and postmodern secularism, a basis is provided for addressing the crises that address us today. Macquarrie provides foundations by retrieving the tradition, but leaves us with pertinent questions to pursue.
Vincent Strudwick, University of Oxford
In this important work, Foster revives Macquarrie’s theology for the twenty-first century. He shows Macquarrie to be a master in engaging with postmodern trends in theology, bringing to them an intelligence that obviates the more relativist and nihilist outcomes of some postmodern thought. While guiding the reader through complex comparisons and contrasts with key thinkers, Foster convinces us that Macquarrie could be put to good use in developing a Christian theology that engages with the plurality of faiths, and that provides a strong antidote to fundamentalist religion with its over-reliance on rational and empirical support.
Harriet Harris, University of Edinburgh