book review, D. Stephen Long, language theory, metaphysics, Truth

My Review of Long’s Speaking of God: Theology, Language, and Truth

Hey all. My review of D. Stephen Long’s Speaking of God: Theology, Language, and Truth is up at The Other Journal. Yes. I just reviewed the book of one of my professors. Apparently I have an academic death wish? Truth be told, I found it very helpful. Below is my first and concluding paragraphs:

Modern philosophers and historians were convinced of the death of metaphysics; they buried questions of existence and being deep in the grave. But according to D. Stephen Long, author of Speaking of God, even their proofs for this death borrowed from clear metaphysical assumptions, and so Long is neither surprised by the resurgence of metaphysics nor unprepared to explore its many relationships with other disciplines, particularly language, philosophy, theology, and politics. In Speaking of God, Long has fashioned a refreshing examination of these subject matters, specifically addressing reason and faith, philosophy and theology, power and truth, and metaphysics and politics. He pursues questions of reason and faith, and then, in the face of a hermeneutics of pure negation and a flat metaphysics, he argues for a richer, deeper Christian life, a flourishing life nourished by the search for truth.

In conclusion, Speaking of God is an incredibly helpful read; it is a book of which I am skeptically appreciative. And although it may dissatisfy us with several of its undeveloped implications, it is convincing in its primary aim, which is to make readers of theology take metaphysics more seriously. This is especially an important work for readers interested in metaphysics, language, theology, and politics. And one thing is certain, the seemingly myriad critiques of contemporary postliberalism must now go through this work. But, however, the book goes beyond the boundaries of an apologetic for postliberalism. Indeed, if Long is right about the return to metaphysics and about the close link between metaphysics and politics, this book will be vital for much of contemporary theology, and as such it merits a wide reading.

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4 thoughts on “My Review of Long’s Speaking of God: Theology, Language, and Truth

  1. John says:

    If you study the history of the Great Tradition of humankind altogether you will find that the only people who ever had anything Real to say about The Divine Reality were the Realized Saints, Yogis, Mystics and Sages.

    Plus these Illuminated beings have always been the only sources of True Culture, and thus of Civilization altogether.

    All of the great practicing schools of religion and Spirituality within the entire Great Tradition of humankind were founded by such beings, and never ever by mere talking school theologians or philosophers.

    They were able to do so because they had all, to one degree or another, transcended the illusions held in place by the language created consensus “reality” of the time and place in which they lived—the collective babel/babble.

    They thus quite literally did see and feel everything differently—their doors of perception were cleansed.

    And by the way very few, if any of these extraordinary beings were theologians.

    Nor were the various people who wrote the Sacred Scriptures of the Great Tradition—including the Bible.

    Jesus for instance was NOT a theologian.

    Plus all the great enduring cultures had at their source, some extraordinary Realized being who thus inspired an extraordinary collective response by many beings over many centuries.

    Buddhism and Hinduism were continually renewed by such Illuminated Beings who quite often appeared on the margins.

    So was Christianity to some degree, although its Illuminated Saints were generally not welcome by the ecclesiastical establishment (they were often persecuted and even executed as “heretics”)

    But all of that changed rapidly disappeared at the time of the Renaissance and the subsequent rise of the culture created in the image of scientism and left-brained Protestantism (the “religion” based upon the left-brained spirit-killing word).

    And of course the real reason that Western Christianity is in such deep trouble is that there have not been any Radiantly Alive Illuminated Saints for over 500 year.

    All we have left is the nit-picking, double-minded, left-brained theologians with their spirit-killing towers of babel/babble.

    You dont really think that Jesus, or any other Radiant Saint would be welcome, or even recognized at the Vatican, or the many other seats of ecclesiastical power in the world today.

    Just as Saint Jesus of Galilee was completely unacceptable to the then ecclesiastical establishment. He was a threat to their worldly power and privileges. They were thus quite happy for Jesus to be executed.

    • John, you’ve really got to learn how to say what you just said in far less space. Waxing eloquent isn’t as important or as difficult as writing what you just said in a shorter space.

      Also, if I get the gist of your complaint, you’re saying that theologians today wouldn’t recognize Jesus if he were here today. If I understand it right, then I would reject such a notion and say, Jesus was in fact a profound theologian. Why do I say this? Because clearly I have a different understanding for what it is to be a theologian. Your straw person caricature does not describe an authentic theologian who is faithful to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but that of someone co-opted by governmental and monetary structures. You’re deeply blind if you do not see martyred theologians today.

  2. Ben says:

    Wow, John, this comment of yours was a remarkably rote rendition of a completely unoriginal and banal grand narrative. It’s like I just spent the last few minutes perusing the spiritual therapy or self-help sections at a Barnes & Noble, or read an abbreviated version of a Dan Brown novel.

    It’s amazing how often these hackneyed narratives get repeated as if they offer some kind of new, radically fresh insight from the margins. The nice thing about these pop kitsch histories is that while they may not be very illuminating, radical or believable they are definitely marketable and ready made for mass consumption. Oh if only the church throughout its ages had the kind of institutional backing that this dominant potboiler historiography of the so-called “Great Tradition” now has in the culture of modern hyper-capitalism.

    Also, it sounds like Jesus himself has now benefited from some kind of ecclesiastical institution and its canonization process in order to gain the title “Saint Jesus”. Who voted on that?

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