Postliberal Theology and the Church Catholic

Conversations with George Lindbeck, David Burrell, and Stanley Hauerwas

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"A powerful and much-needed defense of Christian 'postliberalism' as central to the unity of the church catholic. . . . The book is amazing."--Peter Ochs, University of Virginia

How does postliberalism relate to Roman Catholic theology? More specifically, how reliant is postliberalism on what happened at Vatican II? This volume centers on conversations with three of the most important North American theologians in the last half of the twentieth century--George Lindbeck, David Burrell, and Stanley Hauerwas--to examine the Roman Catholic roots of postliberal theology. After two opening chapters by John Wright, the book includes three chapters based on interviews with each theologian, followed by a dialogue between them and a conclusion by Wright. This work not only offers insight into the contingent histories of three seminal theologians but also places postliberal theology within the broader stream of the great tradition of the church. It will appeal to theologians, scholars, and graduate students, as well as readers of Lindbeck, Burrell, and Hauerwas.
1. Introduction: Back to the Future
2. The Silent Shifting of Tectonic Plates
3. "I Pray That They Might Be One as We Are One": An Interview with George Lindbeck
4. "In the Beginning, God Created the Heavens and the Earth": An Interview with David Burrell
5. "Blessed Are the Peacemakers, for They Shall See God": An Interview with Stanley Hauerwas
6. Israel, Judgment, and the Future of the Church Catholic: A Dialogue among Friends
7. Conclusion: The Appeal of the Witnesses


"A powerful and much-needed defense of Christian 'postliberalism' as central to the unity of the church catholic. . . . Wright shows how the words of Lindbeck, Hauerwas, and Burrell serve as best witness for the defense, and his own words brilliantly join theirs to the ressourcement of Congar and de Lubac. . . . Wright's book marks a new day (and new names) for 'postliberal' theology, now Protestant and Catholic, and more urgent than ever. The book is amazing."

Peter Ochs, Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia

The Author

  1. John Wright

    John Wright

    John Wright (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is professor of theology and Christian Scriptures at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. He is also senior pastor of The Church of the Nazarene in San Diego and author of Telling God's Story:...

    Continue reading about John Wright


"This illuminating and well-written volume investigates postliberal theology, with an emphasis on the ecumenical concerns of the movement's leading figures. . . . The heart of the text consists of three interviews and a roundtable with Lindbeck, Burrell, and Hauerwas. These interviews focus on each figure's biography and intellectual development, offering illuminating and helpful insights into their social, academic, and religious contexts. . . . The volume's main argument that the 'church catholic' has been one of the central concerns of postliberal theology is well argued and consistently sustained throughout the text. This volume is a serviceable introduction to postliberal theology."

Stephen Okey,

Religious Studies Review

"[Wright] finds the postliberal turn in theology worthy of sustained attention. [He] effectively show[s] that it takes us to the heart of the substance of Christian faith. . . . [He] makes a strong case for the continued viability of postliberalism. . . . Wright's slender volume packs a remarkable wallop for its size. . . . Wright's account has the virtue of painting on a large canvas, helping us think about postliberalism in light of much broader developments in modern Christian thought. It's important work that needs to be done. . . . The real value of the book lies in the interviews, which are really extended monologues by each of the three principals. . . . A vindication of substantive, scripturally serious Christian theology."

Joseph L. Mangina,

Living Church

"Wright offers a lucid interpretation of the sources and significance of post-liberal theology, and his interlocutors are engagingly frank and open in the interviews."

William Countryman,

Church Times

"There is much to appreciate in the format of this book skillfully edited by John Wright. It places three eminent contemporary American theologians in conversation around a focus topic, namely, the relationship between postliberal theology and the Catholic Church. Such a format allows for a range of complex issues to emerge in a way that encourages the reader to go further and as such provides excellent scaffolding for future learning. . . . This volume is a very welcome addition to the ongoing discussion about postliberal theology and Catholicism."

Richard Rymarz,

Catholic Books Review