Review: Liberal Theology

Liberal Theology: A Radical Vision

Author: Peter C. Hodgson

Hardcover: 144 pages

Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8006-3898-6

Augsburg Fortress


The Good: In chapter 1, Hodgson distinguishes what he calls radical liberalism from postliberal theology and radical orthodoxy. From there, he makes the clam that liberal theology is often defined too narrowly and then proceeds to to define liberal theology by six marks.  For Hodgson, liberal theology is “a free and open theology, a critically constructive theology, an experiential theology, a visionary theology, a culturally transformative theology, and a mediating theology.”  (13-22)

In chapter 3, Hodgson looks at the connection between liberal theology and liberation theology, ecological theology, and comparative theology.  Here, I thought Hodgson did a thorough job at summarizing the different theologies.  He condenses them down to a few pages, but still remains faithful to the overarching message of the theology.

The Bad: In Chapter 2 of the book, Hodgson presupposes basic familiarity with the theology of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.  Without a working knowledge of Hegel’s theology, this chapter is a very tedious read.

The Ugly: None.

I am faced with a conundrum with this book.  Hodgson did a great job with chapters 1 and 3…however, he lost me in Part 2, mainly because I don’t know the first thing about Hegel.  Because of that, Part 2 (which was reinterpreting Hegel’s theology) was very tedious for me.  That said, I cannot fault Hodgson for my unfamiliarity with Hegel.  As such, I am having a hard time evaluating the book as a whole because I don’t know how I feel regarding Hegel’s theology.  I might have to revisit this book after I read up on Hegel.

I received this book free from Fortress Press. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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