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Reinventing Liberal Christianity
HARDCOVER; Published: 10/16/2013
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6840-4
340 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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Why the tradition of liberal Christianity fell apart and how to revive it

In this provocative book Theo Hobson addresses the current crisis of liberal Christianity. In past years liberal Christianity challenged centuries of authoritarian tradition and had great political influence. It played a major role in the founding of the United States and gave rise to the secular liberalism that we take for granted. But liberal Christianity today is widely dismissed as a watering-down of the faith, and more conservative forms of Christianity are increasingly dominant. Can the liberal Christian tradition recover its influence?

Hobson puts forth a bold theory about why liberal Christianity collapsed and how it can be reinvented. He argues that a simple revival is not possible, because liberal Christianity consists of two traditions — a good tradition that must be salvaged and a bad tradition that must be repudiated. Reinventing Liberal Christianity untangles these two traditions with a fascinating survey of Christian thought from the Reformation to the present and, further, aims to transform liberal Christianity through the rediscovery of faith and ritual.

Read more about the book in a blog post by Hobson on EerdWord.
REVIEWS
Booklist (STARRED review)
"This book is so engrossing and so illuminating that it is a must-read for everyone concerned with the future of Christianity and the liberal state."
Martyn Percy
-- University of Oxford
"Theo Hobson is as well-qualified as anyone to set about the task of reinventing liberal Christianity. In this remarkable, wise, and incisive book he sets about that task with outstanding skill, presenting us with an accessible and arresting argument that is as compelling as it is convincing."
George Pattison
-- Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
"This is an ambitious work that deals with central issues in contemporary public life and does so by delving into past and present theological debates. . . . It covers a wide range of sources, theological and secular, spanning the modern period, and Hobson's style, as ever, combines clarity, boldness, and a certain dispatch with a good grasp of the material."
David Martin
-- London School of Economics
"Hobson presents a lively, timely, theologically informed, and historically grounded argument for the compatibility of a sacramental Christianity with the traditions of the liberal state."
Linda Woodhead
-- Lancaster University
"For Christians who appreciate living in a liberal state and despair at 'postliberal' theology's easy dismissal of it, this book is a delight. It argues for a robust version of liberal Christianity that affirms the communal and cultic aspects of Christianity, but does not neglect the individual and the institutions that protect his or her freedom."
Mark D. Chapman
-- University of Oxford
"A provocative and brilliantly written attempt to rejuvenate liberal Christianity against its many despisers. Equally well-read in the history of liberal politics and in theology, Hobson presents a nuanced account of a series of complex developments in church and state. In his wide-ranging analysis he articulates a humane form of liberalism that roots liberal politics and its greatest achievement, the secular state, in critical theology. Unlike many liberals, however, Hobson does not maintain a vague rationalism or deism but emphasizes the importance of religious and cultic practice. This is an uncompromising book about the indispensable relationships between liberalism and religion, and it poses a deeply needed challenge to theologians of all stripes."
Times Literary Supplement
"Theo Hobson is among the most articulate theological exponents of liberalism, and that puts him at the forefront of a decidedly rearguard action. . . . Hobson represents a strand of thought currently on the back foot: the black sheep or the prodigal son. Christians would do well to listen to him. That would be the good liberal thing to do."
Commonweal
"Theo Hobson believes that liberal theology disintegrated decades ago and needs to be reinvented. . . . Hobson is a bold, engaging, and assertive writer, and much of what he says is dead-on. He has a lucidly aggressive style, which he honed by writing religious journalism, and he renders brassy judgments with a declarative flair, supported by an ample scholarly knowledge base. . . . I share Hobson's regret that the churches have missed every opportunity thus far — notably nineteenth-century Romanticism, twentieth-century existentialism, and twenty-first century postmodern disarray — to make themselves less boring. Hobson provides a sparkling antidote to boring theology."
Church Times
"Hobson's book is a passionate, urgent appeal for the renewal of liberal Christianity. . . . It deserves a large and serious readership."
Theological Book Review
"This roller-coaster of a book is really a manifesto. Hobson wants to argue for the rediscovery and reappropriation of Liberal Protestantism's affirmation of the liberal state, a tradition that has largely been obscured and forgotten, and even vilified, in our time by, on one side, the secularizers and, on the other, the religious right. . . . The result is an extremely useful, informed critical outline of Protestant theology as it faced the pressures from the Enlightenment, to the post-modernism of today. . . . A bold and timely intervention."
Anglican & Episcopal History
"Very interesting and deserves a close reading."

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