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God as Problem and Possibility: A Critical Study of Gordon Kaufman's Thought toward a Spacious Theology
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Studies in Faith and Ideologies.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study investigates the American theologian Gordon D. Kaufman’s (born 1925) work, and focuses on the concept of God reflected in his theological method and construction. The examination of Kaufman’s thought implies an inquiry of methodological issues in contemporary academic theology and leads into discussion of central Christian ideas. The principal task underlying the entire study is to analyze the presuppositions, implications, and limits of Kaufman’s theology. His thought is located in a complex field where the methods and objectives of theology are contested issues in tension between what theology has been in the past and the role of it at present as a critical and constructive pursuit in a western context imbued with a Protestant background (chapters 1-2).

Kaufman’s work is divided in two periods, the early and the later Kaufman, exhibiting both common features and significant differences. He is generally described as a liberal and pragmatic theologian guided by the legacy of Immanuel Kant and American pragmatism, but also informed by recent cultural tendencies and current scientific directions. The carefully traced influences (chapters 3–5) converge to make Kaufman suggest theology as primarily an imaginative construction with a holistic ambition to provide a comprehensive conception of the world and to serve human flourishing (chapters 6–7). Kaufman’s proposal of a categorial scheme-constituted by the concepts of God, the human, the world, and Christ-is scrutinized and provides substantial material in relation to which this author discusses alternative ideas, with special regard to the later Kaufman’s understanding of God in impersonal terms (chapters 8–9).

The interpretation of Kaufman’s thought is carried out in a critical mode, and a framework is suggested as an analytical instrument as well as the basis for a constructive proposal toward a spacious theology, which is indicated as a contribution to contemporary theology throughout the study and culminating in the final chapter (10).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2003. , 329 p.
Uppsala Studies in Faiths and Ideologies, ISSN 1102-7878 ; 13
Keyword [en]
Religion, the concept of God, constructive theology, Gordon Kaufman, theological method
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3624ISBN: 91-554-5719-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-3624DiVA: diva2:163473
Public defence
2003-10-31, Lärosal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2003-10-08 Created: 2003-10-08 Last updated: 2016-02-25Bibliographically approved

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