Reading a book by Terry Eagleton is like watching fireworks. The reader can become so delighted with the rhetorical pyrotechnics that the force of the argument is lost. But for all the literary razzle-dazzle, Eagleton is a serious and determined critic of the capitalist status quo.
Two years ago, after Dale Allison published a short book on historical Jesus studies that seemed to question the legitimacy of the enterprise, Scot McKnight, a prominent Jesus scholar, declared that the book had convinced him to abandon the discipline altogether.
A manifesto hardly seems like the right genre for David F. Ford. The
Irish Anglican theologian has made a career partly with the splendid
encyclopedia The Modern Theologians, a book regularly blessed by graduate students facing their exams.
When the late Brenning Manning was ordained a priest, his spiritual director, Larry Hine, offered Manning this blessing (quoted in Fail by J. R. Briggs, IVP): May all of your expectations be frustrated, / May all of your plans be thwarted, / May all of your desires be withered into nothingness, / That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and can sing and dance in the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.