Promise, along with gift, is among the predominant metaphors in the Western Christian tradition for describing God’s gracious actions. Being Promised argues that promise is itself a kind of double gift -- one when the promise is given, one when it is fulfilled -- and analyzes the power, time, and place of God’s promise.
Gregory Walter offers a theologically rich analysis of promise, anthropological and phenomenological reflection on gift exchange, and a critical appreciation of other theological appropriations of gift to support his argument. Walter clarifies the phenomenon of promise as gift and shows its theological, hermeneutical, and ethical significance. No other book theologically examines promise and gift exchange like this one does.
Gregory A. Walter is associate professor of religion at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.
Patrick R. Keifert is professor of systematic theology atLuther Seminary and the author of Talking about OurFaith and Welcoming the Stranger: A Public Theologyof Worship and Evangelism.
Robert W. Jenson -- Institute for Theological Inquiry "The title Being Promised works both ways: How does promising work? And what sort of being does promise open? Gregory Walter takes us through the intertwining postmodern problems of promise and gift with a penetrating eye and with patient teasing and tweaking. An amazing achievement."
Lois Malcolm -- Luther Seminary "Gregory Walter's Being Promised is brilliant. Drawing on analyses of gift exchange from cultural anthropology and phenomenology, it provides a theological account of promise as gift that moves beyond speech-act theory. Centered on God's promise in the crucified Jesus, it not only uncovers the phenomenon of promise as gift, but also considers its power, being, and time, how it interacts with the plurality of life's circumstances, and the place of this promise in the body of Christ and in the neighbor. After reading this book, you will never again speak glibly about hospitality or forgiveness."
Risto Saarinen -- University of Helsinki "The dimension of promise has not been adequately mapped in contemporary theological discussions on gift. Gregory Walter accomplishes a detailed topology of this phenomenon, relating biblical promises to the overarching issues of hospitality and recognition. Being Promised demonstrates vividly the relevance of doctrinal theology for current anthropological debates."
Lutheran Quarterly "Walter's work deserves to be used in both graduate and advanced college seminars in theology. The argument and material are too important not to be engaged in continuing education events for pastoral leaders and laity."
Cresset "Walter's book is extremely helpful in showing the potential of theological approaches that do not utilize the Christian tradition as a kind of triumphalist evasion of difficult questions surrounding our failures to love the neighbor as ourselves. Rather, we must take these questions seriously enough to let faith be as difficult as it needs to be in order to bear witness to the elusive but transformative promise that sustains us in the struggle."
Theologische Literaturzeitung "A valuable addition to the growing literature on the phenomenon of gift in contemporary theology."
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