When Knopf advertised Updike’s novel as “a Bildungsroman describing the education, romantic and otherwise, of Owen Mackenzie,” critics knew that the ending would be the crux of the literary proposal. Not that the “getting there” would be irrelevant. But the literary and moral value of the story would depend on where the journey ended.
Religion may be killing us. The good news is that in our post-9/11 world there is a widespread concern about religion and violence. A December 2003 Minnesota poll, for example, showed that 77 percent of respondents attributed a fair amount of the cause of the world’s wars and conflicts to religion.
Eleven-year-old Naomi Soledad León Outlaw and her younger brother Owen have lived for seven years in a California trailer park with their maternal great-grandmother. Until now Naomi’s most serious problem has been schoolyard teasing about her last name.
Over the past several years Stephen Webb, professor of religion and philosophy at Indiana’s Wabash College, has directed his highly tuned theological senses to a variety of subjects outside the typical confines of academic theology.
Rarely is theology important in proportion to its difficulty. Hart’s book is. It is nothing short of a full-blown engagement with leading 20th century theological lights in philosophy and their argument that all rhetoric is necessarily violent.