by Anthony Woollard
from Modern Believing Vol 58:2 - April 2017

Abstract:

Other articles in this edition reflect the academic contributions to Modern Church’s 2016 conference on Shakespeare and Christian faith. But the conference was no more dryly academic than the Bard himself. Worship was at its heart, and at the heart of worship (and itself bearing a powerful theological message) was the Poetry Mass.

Biography:

Anthony Woollard, who acted as Secretary to the 2016 Moderbn Church Conference, is a retired civil servant and lay theologian who acts as a trustee of Modern Church and editor of its popular newsletterSigns of the Times.


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

by Graham Ward
from Modern Believing Vol 58:2 - April 2017

Abstract:

The Dream is Shakespeare’s deep reflection on the power of the imagination, its somatic and affective presence in sleep and dreaming, its generative power in poetry and performance, its psychological associations with love, desire, belief formation and belief transformation.

Keywords:

MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT’S DREAM, SLEEP, DREAMING, IMAGINATION


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

from Modern Believing Vol 58:2 • previous edition • next edition

Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics, 2nd edn.
J. Haynes, ed.
Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016. Pp. xxiv, 395. Hb.
£150. ISBN 978-1-138-82699-1.

Review by Esther Reed, University of Exeter


Religion and Legal Pluralism
R. Sandberg, ed.
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xviii, 282. Hb.
£70. ISBN 978-1-4094-5584-4.

Review by Julian Rivers, University of Bristol


Religion, Politics and Nation-Building in Post-Communist Countries.
G. J. Simons and D. Westerlund, eds.
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xiv, 220. Hb.
£65. ISBN 978-1-4724-4969-6.

Review by Edwin Bacon, University of London


Theologies of Liberation in Palestine-Israel: Indigenous, Contextual, and Postcolonial Perspectives.
N. Masalha and L. Isherwood, eds.,
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014. Pp. xviii, 228. Pb.
£22.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9361-3.

Review by Samuel McBratney, Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham


The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers.
J. H. Forest
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016. Pp. xiv, 223. Pb.
£17.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-197-3.

Review by Fiona Gardner, Bath


A Sociology of Prayer.
G. Giordan and L. Woodhead, eds.
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xiv, 239. Pb.
£19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-5585-1.

Review by John Saxbee, Haverfordwest


Drinking from the Wells of New Creation: The Holy Spirit and the Imagination in Reconciliation.
K. L. Dearborn,
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. x, 159. Pb.
£17.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17499-9.

Review by Lorraine Cavanagh, Abergavenny


Notes from a Wayward Son: A Miscellany, ed. A. D. Kinsey.
A. G. Walker,
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015. Pp. xviii, 322. Pb.
ISBN 978-1-62564-161-8.

Review by James Woodward, Sarum College, Salisbury


The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation.
R. Rohr,
London: SPCK, 2016. Pp. 220. Pb.
£9.99. ISBN 978-0-28-107815-8.

Review by Gordon Mursell, Kirkcudbright


Reimagining the Sacred: Richard Kearney Debates God.
R. M. Kearney and J. M. Zimmermann, eds.,
New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Pp. x, 286. Pb.
£20. ISBN 978-0-231-16103-9.

Review by John Reader, Ironstone Benefice, William Temple Foundation and University of Worcester


Graced Life: The Writings of John Hughes.
M. J. Bullimore, ed.
London: SCM Press, 2016. Pp. xl, 198. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-334-05447-4.

Review by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral


An Uncertain Certainty: Snapshots in a Journey from ‘Either-Or’ to ‘Both-And’ in Christian Ministry.
G. Buxton,
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 235. Pb.
£18. ISBN 978-0-7188-9395-8.

Martin Camroux, Colchester


Simply Good News: Why the Gospel Is News and What Makes It Good.
N. T. Wright,
London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. x, 189. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-281-07303-0.

Review by Joshua Farris, Houston Baptist University, TX


Why Christian Faith Still Makes Sense: A Response to Contemporary Challenges.
C. S. Evans,
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015. Pp. x, 145. Pb.
£12.99. ISBN 978-0-8010-9660-0.

Review by Robert Reiss, Camberwell, London


The Roots of Religion: Exploring the Cognitive Science of Religion.
R. H. Trigg and J. L. Barrett, eds.,
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014. Pp. x, 232. Hb.
£60. ISBN 978-1-4724-2731-1.

Review by Michael Fuller, University of Edinburgh


The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully.
P. L. Sartori,
Oxford: Watkins Publishing, 2014. Pp. xx, 236. Pb.
£10.99. ISBN 978-1-78028-565-8.

Review by Michael Marsh, University of Oxford


A Different Way: A Human Approach to the Divine.
R. Payne,
Alresford: Christian Alternative Books, 2015. Pp. viii, 374. Pb.
£17.99. ISBN 978-1-78279-878-1.

Review by Jonathan Clatworthy, Liverpool


What Makes Churches Grow? Vision and Practice in Effective Mission.
R. W. Jackson,
London: Church House Publishing, 2015. Pp. xvi, 299. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-7151-4474-9.

Review by David Voas, University College, London


Towards a Theology of Church Growth.
D. J. Goodhew, ed.,
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xii, 248. Pb.
£19.99. ISBN 978-1-4724-1400-7.

Review by John Fitzmaurice, Diocese of Worcester


Northern Gospel, Northern Church: Reflections on Identity and Mission.
G. T. Wakefield and N. J. Rooms, eds.,
Durham: Sacristy Press, 2016. Pp. xii, 226. Pb.
ISBN 978-1-910519-19-6.

Review by Ian Bradley, University of St Andrews


Multi-Congregation Ministry: Theology and Practice in a Changing Church.
M. L. Grundy,
London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2015. Pp. x, 165. Pb.
ISBN 978-1-84825-791-7.

Review by Mandy Robbins, Glyndŵr University


Embracing the Passion: Christian Youth Work and Politics.
N. Pimlott,
London: SCM Press, 2015. Pp. x, 208. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-334-05311-8.

Review by Sarah Dunlop, Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham


Listening for God’s Call: Discipleship and Ministry.
S. H. Jones,
London: SCM Press, 2014. Pp. viii, 116. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-334-04412-3.

Review by Magdalen Smith, Diocese of Chester


Publishers know that Modern Believing's team of book reviewers, led by the Reviews Editor, Rev. Dr. Michael Brierley, do an outstanding job in providing constructive, critical, fair and discerning reviews.


 W. C. Anderson, Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xvi, 165. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7399-6.


S. M. Barr, The Believing Scientist: Essays on Science and Religion. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. vi, 226. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7370-5.


J. Bernier, The Quest for the Historical Jesus after the Demise of Authenticity: Towards a Critical Realist Philosophy of History in Jesus Studies. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. x, 180. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-0-567-66286-6.


M. F. Bird, An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xii, 310. Pb. £18.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6769-8.


L. Boeve, Theology at the Crossroads of University, Church and Society: Dialogue, Difference and Catholic Identity. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. viii, 239. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-0-567-67220-9.


D. L. Boisvert and C. D. Daniel-Hughes, eds., The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion, Sexuality, and Gender. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. Pp. xii, 271. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4742-3778-9.


A. Brown and L. Woodhead, That Was the Church, That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People. London and New York: Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016. Pp. viii, 255. Hb. ISBN 978-1-4729-2164-2.


K. S. Bruce and J. H. Harrison, eds., Wrestling with the Word: Preaching Tricky Texts. London: SPCK, 2016. Pp. xxii, 159. Pb. £12.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07648-2.


W. Brueggemann, God, Neighbor, Empire: The Excess of Divine Fidelity and the Command of Common Good. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2016. Pp. xiv, 165. Hb. ISBN 978-1-4813-0542-6.


M. J. Buckley, What Do You Seek? The Questions of Jesus as Challenge and Promise. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xii, 146. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7395-8.


N. D. Cartwright and J. S. K. Ward, eds., Rethinking Order: After the Laws of Nature. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Pp. xiv, 240. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-1-4742-4406-0.


M. D. Chapman, Theology at War and Peace: English Theology and Germany in the First World War. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. viii, 174. Hb. £95. ISBN 978-1-4724-7803-0.


P. M. Clifford, A Brief History of End Time: Prophecy and Apocalypse, Then and Now, 2nd edn. Durham: Sacristy Press, 2016. Pp. viii, 228. Pb. ISBN 978-1-910519-37-0.


T. M. Crisp, S. L. Porter and G. A. Ten Elshof, eds., Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. viii, 286. Pb. £25.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7450-4.


E. F. Davis, Preaching the Luminous Word: Biblical Sermons and Homiletical Essays. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xxiv, 332. Pb. £22.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7423-8.


A. Denaux, N. Sagovsky and C. H. Sherlock, eds., Looking Towards a Church Fully Reconciled: The Final Report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission 1983-2005 (ARCIC II). London: SPCK, 2016. Pp. x, 350. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07779-3.


F. E. Dicken and J. A. Snyder, eds., Characters and Characterization in Luke-Acts. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. x, 254. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-0-567-66391-7.


A. Fiala, Secular Cosmopolitanism, Hospitality, and Religious Pluralism. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. Pp. xii, 210. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-1-138-68448-5.


F. L. Flannery and R. A. Werline, eds., The Bible in Political Debate: What Does It Really Say? London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. xiv, 196. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-0-567-66657-4.


J. H. Forest, The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016. Pp. xiv, 223. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-197-3.


R. G. Fruehwirth, The Drawing of This Love. London: Canterbury Press, 2016. Pp. xvi, 159. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-836-5.


M. W. Goheen, ed., Reading the Bible Missionally. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xiv, 343. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7225-8.


B. C. Gray, Jesus in the Theology of Rowan Williams. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. vi, 189. Hb. £95. ISBN 978-0-567-67017-5.


D. J. Grumett, Material Eucharist. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. xii, 322. Hb. £75. ISBN 978-0-19-876707-7.


C. M. Gschwandtner, Marion and Theology. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. x, 159. Pb. £21.99. ISBN 978-0-567-66021-3.


P. M. Hedges, Towards Better Disagreement: Religion and Atheism in Dialogue. London and Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017. Pp. 200. Pb. £9.99. ISBN 978-1-78592-057-8.


L. A. Hickman, ed., Chance or Providence: Religious Perspectives on Divine Action. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015. Pp. vi, 160. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4438-8078-7.


L. Joelsson, Paul and Death: A Question of Psychological Coping. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. viii, 211. Hb. £95. ISBN 978-1-138-23961-6.


G. A. Kaplan, René Girard, Unlikely Apologist: Mimetic Theory and Fundamental Theology. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2016. Pp. xii, 268. Hb. $50. ISBN 978-0-268-10085-8.


J. R. Kiess, Hannah Arendt and Theology. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. xii, 248. Pb. £21.99. ISBN 978-0-567-22227-5.


S. C. H. and K. J. Kim, Christianity as a World Religion: An Introduction, 2nd edn. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Pp. xvi, 344. Pb. £21.99. ISBN 978-1-4725-6934-9.


M. J. Kirwan and S. Treflé Hidden, eds., Mimesis and Atonement: René Girard and the Doctrine of Salvation. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. Pp. xvi, 185. Hb. £88. ISBN 978-1-5013-2542-7.


M. S. Laird and S. Treflé Hidden, eds., The Practice of the Presence of God: Theology as a Way of Life. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. xiv, 136. Pb. £30. ISBN 978-1-4724-7832-0.


A. E. McGrath, Enriching Our Vision of Reality: Theology and the Natural Sciences in Dialogue. London: SPCK, 2016. Pp. xii, 215. Pb. £10.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07544-7.


G. C. Meilaender, Not by Nature but by Grace: Forming Families through Adoption. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2016. Pp. viii, 128. Hb. $25. ISBN 978-0-268-10068-1.


C. V. Meister and J. B. Stump, eds., Christian Thought: A Historical Introduction, 2nd edn. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. Pp. xiv, 567. Pb. £29.99. ISBN 978-1-138-91061-4.


J. A. Mercer and B. J. Miller-McLemore, eds., Conundrums in Practical Theology. Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, 2016. Pp. x, 320. Pb. ISBN 978-90-04-32423-7.


J. Miller, ed., Speaking of Faith: The Winchester Dialogues. London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2016. Pp. x, 229. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-920-1.


A. Milne, The DNA of Pioneer Ministry. London: SCM Press, 2016. Pp. xvi, 246. Pb. ISBN 978-0-334-05409-2.


M. C. Moschella, Caring for Joy: Narrative, Theology, and Practice. Leiden and Boston, MA: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2016. Pp. xvi, 303. Pb. ISBN 978-90-04-32499-2.


D. T. Ngong, ed., A New History of African Christian Thought: From Cape to Cairo. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. Pp. xii, 225. Pb. £26.99. ISBN 978-0-415-85756-7.


D. O’Murchu, Religious Life in the 21st Century: The Prospect of Refounding. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016. Pp. x, 251. Pb. £18.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-207-9.


S. Paas, Church Planting in the Secular West: Learning from the European Experience. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xii, 304. Pb. £22.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7348-4.


A. Paddison, ed., Theologians on Scripture. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. x, 236. Hb. £95. ISBN 978-0-567-18240-1.


M. Pasquier, Religion in America: The Basics. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. Pp. viii, 159. Pb. £15.99. ISBN 978-1-138-80557-6.


J. C. Peckham, Canonical Theology: The Biblical Canon, Sola Scriptura, and Theological Method. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xiv, 295. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7330-9.


M. F. Perham, The Way of Christ-likeness: Being Transformed by the Liturgies of Lent, Holy Week and Easter. London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2016. Pp. x, 155. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-901-0.


L. Powell-Jones and F. L. Shults, eds., Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Religion. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Pp. viii, 194. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-1-4742-6689-5.


A. Pyman, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh: A Life. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2016. Pp. xiv, 276. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9449-8.


A. J. Raboteau, American Prophets: Seven Religious Radicals and Their Struggle for Social and Political Justice. Princeton, NJ, and Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2016. Pp. xx, 224. Hb. £22.95. ISBN 978-0-691-16430-4.


E. Radner, Time and the Word: Figural Reading of the Christian Scriptures. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. viii, 326. Hb. £32.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7220-3.


J. S. Ramirez, Julian of Norwich: A Very Brief History. London: SPCK, 2016. Pp. xiv, 97. Hb. £12.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07737-3.


S. Reay, The Half-Shilling Curate: A Personal Account of War and Faith 1914-1918. Solihull: Helion and Co., 2016. Pp. 194. Hb. £25. ISBN 978-1-911096-46-7.


A. Reid, ed., Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century: Contemporary Issues and Perspectives. London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2016. Pp. xxvi, 367. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-0-567-66809-7.


R. Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation. London: SPCK, 2016. Pp. 220. Pb. £9.99. ISBN 978-0-28-107815-8.


P. Schmidt-Leukel and A. Nehring, eds., Interreligious Comparisons in Religious Studies and Theology: Comparison Revisited. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Pp. x, 228. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-1-4742-8513-1.


J. W. Seachris and S. C. Goetz, eds., God and Meaning: New Essays. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Pp. x, 265. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-1-62892-761-0.


N. Spurway, ed., Laws of Nature, Laws of God? Proceedings of the Science and Religion Forum Conference, 2014. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015. Pp. xiv, 230. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4438-7657-5.


N. Spurway and L. A. Hickman, eds., Forty Years of Science and Religion: Looking Back, Looking Forward. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. Pp. xvi, 225. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4438-9461-6.


J. Swinton, Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2016. Pp. x, 245. Hb. ISBN 978-1-4813-0408-5.


B. B. Taylor, The Seeds of Heaven: Preaching the Gospel of Matthew, 2nd edn. London: Canterbury Press, 2016. Pp. xii, 113. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-854-9.


M. A. Taylor and H. E. Weir, eds., Women in the Story of Jesus: The Gospels through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. Pp. xii, 276. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7303-3.


A. L. van Ommen, Suffering in Worship: Anglican Liturgy in Relation to Stories of Suffering People. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. x, 169. Hb. £95. ISBN 978-1-4724-7540-4.


A. Village, Encountering the Bible. London: SCM Press, 2016. Pp. vi, 122. Pb. ISBN 978-0-334-05397-2.


T. R. Weber, War, Peace and Reconciliation: A Theological Enquiry. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2016. Pp. x, 171. Pb. £15. ISBN 978-0-7188-9437-5.


R. D. Williams, On Augustine. London and New York: Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016. Pp. xii, 218. Hb. £25. ISBN 978-1-4729-2527-5.


Editorial by Steven Shakespeare
from Modern Believing Vol 58:1 - January 2017

After two special issues last year, this edition of Modern Believing returns to a more diverse array of topics: from the religious undertones of popular music culture to the lessons to be learnt from the centuries old legacy of firebrand Quaker, George Fox.

What I believe is shared by the present set of essays is a sense that liberal theology lives in and through opening itself to the voices, cultures and experiences beyond its borders. In the process, those very borders – products often of our insecurity and narrowness of vision – become porous. Liberal theology should not be afraid to allow itself to be repositioned by genuine encounter with the other.

Such encounters are not merely exercises in self-criticism. They are constructive moments of theological creativity. Gerald Downing exemplifies this, as he traces the Pauline significance of concepts of reconciliation and atonement. The richness of Paul’s emphasis on the new creation is often missed by accounts of atonement, which turn it into some kind of supernatural transaction, carried out above our heads.

Downing’s critique of the paucity of some theological reflection, and his discovery of correlations with the work of secular lawyers, suggests the need for theology to find renewal outside its customary sources. A turn to the world can be a turn to a truly incarnational theology.

This dialogue with wider culture is explored through Clive Marsh and Vaughan Roberts’s engagement with the religious and spiritual dimensions of popular music. Their interdisciplinary approach helps to move us beyond superficial dismissals or appropriations. Alive to the ambivalence of popular music, and its expression through a whole range of embodied practices, they set out an agenda for further research which promises to expand our understanding of contemporary spirituality.

In contrast, Hugh Rock turns to the past for inspiration, in the form of the great Quaker pioneer, George Fox. The vitality and openness of Quaker tradition is not in doubt, but Rock demonstrates the inspiration it derives from three key themes in Fox’s presentation of Christianity: the raising of deed, or a life lived well, over doctrine; the priority of God’s light over written scripture (‘The Word was before writings were’); and an incipient humanism, in which the lines between the supernatural and the human are blurred. For Rock, this is of more than historical interest. It offers a constructive, living vision of faith. And this is sorely needed in a liberal tradition which can err on the side of the negative and cerebral.

That constructive spirit is also exemplified in Simon Taylor’s essay, in which he presents a biblical argument for equal marriage. This is an area liberals can neglect, falling back on secular models of equality. Nothing wrong with that, you might say; but it fails to engage with the debate in the Church where opponents to same sex relationships stake out their ground on the Bible. Taylor offers us, not another reading of those texts which seem to refer to same sex relationships, but something more holistic: a biblical vision of marriage as the image of God’s relationship with creation.

As he points out, marriage is really not all that important for Jesus and other major biblical figures. Returning to what the Bible actually says also challenges more conservative obsessions with heterosexuality, which are often projections on to the text. Seen in that light, a positive scriptural case can be made for recognising the giftedness of same sex unions.

All these essays have dialogue at their heart. And dialogue shapes the form and content of Keith Ward’s contribution. With typical incisiveness, he offers a critique of Perry Schmidt-Leukel’s argument (from Modern Believing 57.1) that there are four possible views of truth when considering the existence of a diversity of religious traditions. Ward argues that we should not focus solely on the propositional truth claims made by religious adherents. Religion is much more of a fuzzy term, a rule of life more than a set of ‘beliefs’. Such an approach, he argues, opens out a more nuanced, but also more true to life appreciation of different ways of relating to the truth in a religiously plural world.

It is heartening to see the journal continuing to attract articles which combine rigorous thought with dialogical and constructive imagination. If liberal theology is to mean more than defending a pre-existing territory, such generosity of vision will be needed.