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Desire, Gift, and Recognition
Christology and Postmodern Philosophy
PAPERBACK; Published: 3/9/2009
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6371-3
Price: $ 40.00
391 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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A major work in the philosophy of religion, this book interprets the Jesus story in terms of postmodern philosophy -- particularly using Jacques Derrida's categories of "desire," "gift," and "recognition." Author Jan-Olav Henriksen also attempts to reformulate Christology without resorting to such metaphysical concepts as substance, transcendence, etc. While not denying traditional doctrines, Henriksen explicates the meaning of Jesus' life and death in ways that engage contemporary philosophy and challenge contemporary (academic) Christians to rethink the basics of their faith; and he outlines the possibility of a "post-metaphysical Christology."

Henriksen's book is a clearly reasoned guide not only to the argument that Christology still has something to say to contemporary believers but also to ways in which theologians must learn to reconnect to everyday human experience.
Niels Henrik Gregersen, Copenhagen University
"What does a postmodern Christology look like? Philosopher-theologian Jan-Olav Henriksen here articulates a compelling proposal. Using a sort of wide-scope optics, Henriksen sees humanity, God, and Christ as internally related, while maintaining distinctions. Jesus is fully human by being shaped by his desires for a Kingdom of Otherness that surpasses all goals. Yet divine grace becomes manifest exactly in the midst of such experiences, where we are both recognized as others and yet been given in excess. This divine economy cannot stop. . . "
F. LeRon Shults, University of Agder
"This book by Jan-Olav Henriksen fills a significant lacuna in contemporary discourse. It focuses concretely on the explicit relation between postmodern philosophical insights and core theological intuitions about the identity and work of Jesus Christ. The reader is invited to attend to and be opened up by the 'excess' of the 'surplus of creation,' the 'impossible' gift of recognition, and the transformation of desire revealed in the whole life of Christ. Henriksen engages and critically appropriates several of the most interesting postmodern philosophers, including Derrida, Levinas, and Marion, and squarely faces the central challenges in articulating Christology today, developing a new interpretation of the cross and resurrection of Jesus from different angles. All of this makes his book disturbing — in the best and most delightful sense of that word!"