Book Review: Exclusion and Embrace

Not [yet] a formalized review but some remarks:

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996, 192 pp., no price given pbk.)

Eventually I have reviewed Exclusion and Embrace in its totality. As I pressing toward the end, it’s a pain (for i have invested so much) to see how Volf, after failing dealing with Deleuze adequately (ch.7), got inscreasingly dogmatic (which I never thought he would be or would want to be): throwing cheap comments on [feminist] non-realist eschatology, leaving his « realist premillennialism » unfoundded, and a practical outline of Christian political theology wanted- let alone the lack of clarification about postliberal boundary awareness (characteristic of East and North European theologians) and the inconsistency in his perspective on ‘memory and forgetfulness’ vis-a-vis Gregory Jones’.

  1. ‎ In ch.4, he thinks Karl Barth‘s Trinitarian theology will perpetuate male dominance. His solution is that gender equality must be based on the difference of sexed bodies, which is good. but I’m not convinced that he has read Karl Barth too well, for the way he describes immanent Trinity and economic Trinity can raise many classical problems against which Barth has already warned us.
  2. In ch.5, he disagrees with the post-liberal Proposal that McIntyre offers in dealing with the oppression and violence that follows any promotion of any ‘brand-name justice’. McIntyre insists that Christians dwell in and enrich their own Christian traditions while engaging in [second order] inter-tradition dialogue on justice with others. Volf rejects this view and contends that no tradition is an inherent protective shield. Relegating postliberal solutions to sectarianism, Voif thinks it is enough that a Christian insists basic Christian responsibilities in a pluralistic world shaped by many traditions, just like the earliest Christians have thrived in the dye vat of pagan Roman world without the protection of a theological system/tradition. But I think it’s false, not least because N.T. Wright has already pointed out that the early Christians were not without systematic backup (Judaism), but also because succeeding McIntyre, Hauerwas has rightfully argues for the possibility and necessity of the « catholic » tradition for Christians to carry on their mission, without which the so-called « basic Christian responsibilities » can hardly hold on its own.

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