Perhaps the best entry point into The Scandal of Having Something to Say is the word postliberal in the subtitle, which requires that we consider the term liberal, to which this perspective is “post.” The term liberal most comprehensively relates to Enlightenment rationality, which posits an autonomous self which can arrive at a one-dimensional certitude.
In The Sea and the Mirror, W.H. Auden audaciously wrote new poems in the voices of each character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, all set after the action of the play concludes. The result is a work both wonderfully reverent and plainly modern—you might even call it modern in its reverence.
I would have hoped that anyone presuming to put out a book called A New New Testament would borrow Auden’s approach and give us a genuine literary and theological invention.
Having written a weekly column in the Guardian and published a series of books on philosophy for the general reader, A. C. Grayling is a rarity: a well-known philosopher. Well known at least in Britain. Recently he has become a controversial figure because of his role in the founding of the New College of the Humanities in London, a private institution with costly tuition.
I enjoyed Michelle Boorstein's piece of reporting on M. Div. students who aren't headed for parish ministry. She details how some seminarians seek to be ministers of a sort as part of their calling to other vocations; she also touches on the challenges of post-Christendom pastoring and the need for more flexible and affordable paths through seminary.
Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, who wrote psycho-historical accounts of both Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi, became interested late in life in how Jesus changed the trajectory of history. Following the lead of New Testament scholar Norman Perrin, Erickson published an essay, “The Galilean Sayings,” which examined the sayings of Jesus. He reached two conclusions from his study: that humanity is one universal species, and that by responding to the teachings of Jesus one could discover an inner, numinous core that connects one to something larger than the self. Of Jewish background, Erikson occasionally attended church with his Episcopalian spouse but never claimed to be a believer (Theology Today, April).