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Drake 1 Participation, Terrain and The Ethics of Realization A Critical Encounter with Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma1 Introduction

With the delay and decline of developments in postliberal theology there came Radical Orthodoxy. Radical Orthodoxys (RO) primary claim is that theology is queen of the sciences.2 The impressive diagnostic rigor of ROs project unveils the nihilism and ontological violence in contemporary modes of liberal tolerance, universal rationality, and postmodern theory. Through its genealogical method, RO offers a curious alternative to the ills of the late modern world with a deep rapport with medieval theology and Greek philosophy. This alternative vision conveyed most notably by John Milbank maintains that the Christian church and its commensurate story are true and thus win. Through this method, RO proponents read the outer pagan field in virtue of its inner orthodox field. Though RO is not new, it has produced a faithful audience, which Marcus Pounds Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma uniquely displays. It is precise to situate Pounds book within the background of RO for his argument demonstrates a genuine commitment to the alternative vision to secularity that RO sustains.3 Pounds important book concerns the transitional corpus of Lacan, employing Sren Kierkegaard la Thomas Aquinas as his primary interlocutors. Pound, moreover, contributes to ROs modus operandi through a Kierkegaardian reading of Lacan that is ultimately informed by Aquinas. At a serious cost though both Lacan and the whole of psychoanalysis (indeed secularity as a whole) are a mere parody of Christianity.4

Marcus Pound, Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma. Long Lane, London: SCM Press, 2007. 188 pp. John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason 2nd Edition. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006. p. 382. 3When I posit RO throughout the rest of the paper, Pound should be read as included in this classification. 4 Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma, 116.
1 2

Drake 2 This paper will serve three purposes. First I will reveal how Pound unveils the theological problems both interior and exterior to the Christian church. This will prove particularly important because his diagnosis reveals the knotty nature of ideological identification.5 The second section of the paper concerns Pounds theological commitments as he reads Lacan. If I am successful in repeating Pound, the reader will become familiar with ROs theological commitments - most notably, the doctrine of participation. The second section should be understood as the setting in which I turn to the third and final section of the paper. I will finally suggest that the RO backdrop conceals a curious epistemological establishmentarianism through which Pound writes his book. I concomitantly show via Daniel Barbers On Diaspora how such a method is worth questioning because theological discourse emerged and is thus contingent on subsequent modes of discourse that create difficulties for claiming its preeminence trans-institutionally and thus trans-historically (traditionally).6 Identifying Ideology Pound begins by diagnosing two problems, one in and the other outside of the ecclesial context. The problem within the ecclesial context concerns the binary lack of communication and imagination regarding both the mystery of transubstantiation during the Eucharistic ceremony, but also as a mystical, constitutive and therapeutic power, constituting ecclesia. Indeed, Pound is in awe of how Christians who generally accept that God created the universe, fail to believe that God would wind up, de facto, as the distributed bread and wine.7 Moreover, what Pound identifies in the ecclesial context is the dearth of proper theological imagination and transference resulting in pagan assumptions regarding Christian orthodoxy. Surprisingly, the problem exterior to the ecclesial context is equivalent

As will be shown, the nature of Pounds ideological critique but displays his inability to identify the ideological kernel within his own fashioning of both the church and secularity. This will be developed more thoroughly in the last section. 6 Daniel Barber, On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion and Secularity. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011. p. 155. 7 Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma, xi.

Drake 3 to the problem interior to it. In other words, secular formations of psychoanalysis (from Freud to Lacan and post-Lacanian schools) are, de facto, bastardized forms of theology.8 Thus, the lack in imaginative/intellectual power or what we may call failed realization results in the same ideological mistake the church occasions. The rudimentary opposition, moreover, between Radical Orthodoxys analogical participatory metaphysics and the linguistic model underscoring Lacanian psychoanalysis is the motivation for this work. Synopsis of Text After orienting the reader towards the Lacanian orders (Imaginary, Symbolic and Real) in Chapter one, Pound moves toward one of Lacans four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis in Chapter two, repetition. By reading Lacan via Kierkegaard, Pound is able to establish his distinction between Kierkegaards concept of repetition and Lacans own. For Pound Kierkegaards concept of repetition marks the process where the child receives all of the sin (via the Symbolic order) from her parents into her own life, yet in a dissimilar form. Meanwhile for Lacan repetition is the truncation of transcendence, because the child will remain searching for the immanently lost object (sin) her parents forever search for. Pound concludes that where Lacans concept of repetition dismisses agency for the child, Kierkegaard makes repetition a creative opening to transcendence, one that permits agency.9 Transcendence, in this regard, marks the interruptive, traumatizing power of God in Christ that does not disempower creatures but actualizes their potential by transubstantiating their old received form of life (the parents passed on sin) into a newly received (formed) one (a liberty to desire). At a tragic cost God is the lost object in Lacans (transitional) formulation of the void and it is Kierkegaards pseudonymous works that reinvite God back into the discourse.10

8 9

Ibid., 3. Ibid., 71 10 Ibid., 72

Drake 4 Chapters three and four cease to speak of Lacan representing a turn in psychoanalytic linguistic models, but accentuate the thesis that Kierkegaard preempted Lacan in more significant ways than he anticipated. Language is the medium for Pounds experiment to transpose Lacanese into a particular form of Kierkegaardian tongue. The structure of the semiotic world lies outside of the subject, thus constituting a split within it. Language and desire are tied up into an immediate bond, both antagonistically exegeting the other. What is more, the mediacy of language (ideality) and the immediacy of life (actuality) stand in contradistinction to each other.11 Such constitutes the introduction into the symbolized world (the Symbolic order) thereby initiating the split in the desiring subject. Pound relates this to Kierkegaards contention that he had been used by language.12 Pound then elicits la Kierkegaard how language and subjectivity are at variance with one another, for language produces us at the expense of excluding us.13 Through an investigation of several of Kierkegaards pseudonymous letters, Pound is allowed to relate Kierkegaards but then I cannot, after all, say: I with Lacans injunction that [language is characterized by the] necessary incessant sliding of the signified under the signifier.14 The key difference between the two is an immanent closure to freedom rooted in the nature of unsatiated desire (Lacan) and a transcendence constituting freedom rooted in the freedom-toward satiated desire (Kierkegaard). Moreover Pound reads Lacans formulation of the objet petit a as the impossibility of agency, unless it is repositioned through Kierkegaards religious stage. Pound proceeds through reading Lacan on account of setting him within the in between of Kierkegaards theory of stages: the aesthetic, ethical, and religious

11 12

Ibid., 77-88. Ibid., 86. 13 Ibid., 87. 14 Ibid., 36.

Drake 5 (101-17). Through the religious stage Kierkegaard positions Abraham as the exception to the universal.15 What becomes of Abraham is paradoxical in nature,
he does not act from the standpoint of his passions (imaginary) neither does he act from the standpoint of a utilitarian ethic (symbolic) rather he is the exception that grounds the universal (the real): he is the exception to the rule, yet constitutive of the rule; he is the father of faith, and yet by sacrificing Isaac he is called to renounce his paternity (Parentheses mine).16

Pound observes that Kierkegaards religious stage has an affinity with Lacans order of the real insofar as the real marks the infinite point where Christs crucifixion as fully-God-fully-man manifests the fantastic excess of Gods agape through both the symbolic and real orders in this act.17 Thus Christ assumes the status of the sublime object, short-circuiting the real and the symbolic, and in bringing the real into the symbolic he traumatizes us, breaking through the wall of language.18 Bringing the real into the symbolic means that for Pound this split is in Christ, himself. Christ therefore carries out the function of the true analyst, traumatizingly so, upon us. Because Lacan does not envisage anxiety as the excess (rather than lack) of freedom through which we are constituted by Christs life, death and resurrection, Pound situates him among the in between (borders) of the aesthetic, ethical and religious stages. Lacan becomes Kierkegaards humorist precisely because he oscillates between the stages unable to discover a telos through the religious stage.19 Consequently, Lacans entire corpus represents the lack in proper life and theological articulation insofar as Kierkegaard is not his pre-emptor. In seeking to crystallize the participatory excess of Gods givenness through our being engrafted into Christs whole life - both at the linguistic (symbolic) and mystically suspended (the real) levels - Pound weds Kierkegaard and Thomas Aquinas with determinative purpose.

15 16

Ibid., 102. Ibid., 103. 17 Ibid., 113-17. 18 Ibid., 114. 19 Ibid., 116-7.

Drake 6 Pound introduces Aquinas through his remark, the form of the effect (e.g. heat) will be found to a degree in the cause (e.g. fire).20 In seeking to link the forms of effects with causality, and where both univocal and equivocal idioms cannot satisfy, he employs Aquinas analogical participation. Univocal and equivocal encyclopedias fail to speak appropriately of relationship to God whereas analogy implies a similarity within a greater difference, it allows for a likeness that in no way infringes upon Gods transcendence, yet nor does it plunge one into silence.21 Communication with God marks the failure of words concerning that relation, but Pounds employment of Aquinas analogia entis attempts to propose the alternative:
God creates a realm of freedom, a realm of created independence; second, God creates this realm out of love. Put together, it is possible to say that we participate in God inasmuch as we practice maieutic causality, motivated by love to create the conditions of freedom that allow the subject to subsequently direct oneself and others towards God. In this way, analytic causality becomes analogical to Gods causality.22

Because there is never access to the thing in itself, life is understood in terms of analogical participation, suspension, or ecclesial mediation (more on this to follow). Thus esse itself is analogical, embedded in interspatial dynamics between God and man, where speaking of such is an act of analogical participation in God. Fellow RO proponents such as John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock, in their work Truth in Aquinas, also stress how Gods act of creating is an act of the intellect and thus, realization.23 This is not insignificant. It is in this section (Chapter five) that Pounds orthodoxy and Lacans heterodoxy are most clearly evidenced for Pound remarks a thing realizes itself in its telos.24 Moreover, a subject participates in Gods life if - through its lifetime - it realizes its life as analogically participating in Gods mind (intellect). What is more, Pound locates this technique of realization exclusively in the body politics of the Eucharist community. As arche-analyst God

20 21

Ibid., 137. Ibid., 137. 22 Ibid., 138. 23 John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock, Truth in Aquinas. Long Lane, London: Routledge Press, 2001. 132 pp. 24 Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma., 139.

Drake 7 mediates salvation through the creative and constitutive power that the church immanently narrates. The overwhelming critique of secularity is at this moment in full view, for secularity names the unrealized desire of social formations that discard participation in Gods life in the name of a pagan reality. Thus Kierkegaards pseudonymous work/life is Pounds figurative analogy for he highlights that the form of communication is both motivated by love, and tries to cultivate a freely loving response (italics mine).25 Again, because esse is understood analogically, we are only like God inasmuch as we participate in divine causality, through causing things in an analogical manner, that is, creating realms of independence.26 Lacans rejection of religion concomitantly becomes the pagan assumption that things are strictly bound to an impossibility of desires hopeful satiation - a lack in intellectual prowess. Chapters six and seven are dedicated to answering the lack in Lacan by way of the superabundance (excess) of Gods given truth traumatically discovered through Eucharistic practice. The crux of Pound's argument is mediated by the qualitative difference between Lacans understanding of time and Kierkegaards Christian consciousness of time. In passing Pound catalogs Heidegger to help demonstrate the grammar of Daseins situatedness .
Anxiety brings one back to ones throwness as something possible which can be repeated. And in this way it also reveals the possibility of an authentic potentiality-for-Being a potentiality which must, in repeating, come back to its thrown there, but come back as something future which comes towards [zukunftiges].27

Heidegger sources angst within the tension between Daseins present situation and its future possibility, which is paradoxically dependent upon its past situatedness. In this way Lacan picks up on Heideggers thesis, for Lacan acknowledges that the subject is already in the field of the Other - drawn into a structured not yet, and thus never fully arriving because of desires empty dialectic. However, Pound implies that Lacan does not escape the field of the Other because his concept of

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Ibid., 138. Ibid., 138. 27 Pound citing Heidegger, 143.

Drake 8 desire is always hitched to the moonless objet petit a. At this juncture Pound offers Kierkegaards sympathy with such a reading of angst, yet with a crucial qualifier. The characteristic qualification, moreover, is found in what Lacan and Kierkegaard mean by time. Pound enrolls the doctrine of the Incarnation as Kierkegaards interpretive key for understanding time and its underpinning grammar. Where the eternal entered time (Incarnation) the present moment is rendered traumatic. It is traumatic because eternity allows historical reality to maintain its consistency but only by refusing to be fully integrated, which is Kierkegaards point precisely: eternity intersects time creating the tensed order, however, within time it is a disruptive force, it is not integrated into time.28 Trauma is meant to elicit the existential operation by which the subject acknowledges time: a point of trauma is constitutive of the subjective approach because it prevents one from transcending oneself in the hope of objective knowledge.29 Moreover, the qualitative difference between the Lacanian concept of time and the Kierkegaardian one concerns times conditions. For Pound the Kierkegaardian kernel of freedom situates the subject at the traumatic intersection of past and future horizons, which is freedoms possibility. In this way, angst becomes freedoms possibility, ordering us to make a decision about our throwness. Pound does not want to be misunderstood for Kierkegaards understanding of time is rooted in the event of the Incarnation:
Kierkegaard shows how it was only with the event of the Incarnation that this consciousness of time arose, because only when the eternal enters time is there the decisive annulment of time, such that the tenses are established. Only with the Incarnation is temporality posited; and only in the Incarnation are those same tenses given simple continuity: the past redeems the present by arriving in the form of hope from the future.30

Thus the doctrine of the Incarnation is the stage by which any analysis of time can be rightly fathomed. On the other hand, Lacans conception of time is trapped within the lack, which forecloses a positive account of transcendence. The lack, as

28 29

Ibid., 149 Ibid., 148 30 Ibid., 150.

Drake 9 a further matter, situates the subject within a meaningless matrix of desires that never find fulfillment because of the immanently negative or empty nature of desire. The underpinning structure of the book is built on this difference, thereby assuming that Kierkegaards intentions and method correspond to Lacans insofar as both employ an indirect approach to the subject aimed at cultivating the subjective appropriation of truth which, I have argued, can also be expressed as the assumption of desire.31 Since the tenses have been established in the doctrine of the Incarnation, Pound aims at establishing how Eucharistic practice repeats Christs intervention and thereby constitutes a social form of analysis. Christ as Eucharist is to be read throughout Pounds final chapter (and indeed throughout the whole), for he affirms Catholic doctrine and in doing so questionably radicalizes Kierkegaards Protestantism. In this way Pound concomitantly calls attention to how the Eucharist is the proper locality of Christian imagination, where what is given and received reconfigures social formations (time and space) of becoming via hopeful repetition. The Eucharist is thereby a theoanalytic intervention where the divine excess of Gods love guarantees subjective musing insofar as the analysand (participant) is free to pursue desire (God). Thus at the ontological level, Lacans lack means nothing more than the subjects ability to deal with the nothing (lack) whereas Kierkegaards upholding of Christian doctrine marks a point de dpart from Lacan because lack is an artifact of Gods excessive truth - a sign of traumatic freedom, the freedom to desire God. Pounds Establishmentarianism or What of (an Ethics of) Realization? Mentioned hitherto, Pounds retroactive reconfiguration of Lacan by way of Kierkegaard is rightfully placed under the banner of ROs schema, for the RO project is caught up in the method of interpreting the outer pagan field in view of the inner orthodox field. In this critical encounter I will question the content and

31

Ibid., 154.

Drake 10 form of this method. A jocular paradox can be summoned through Pounds method for he chooses to read Kierkegaard through the Kierkegaard scholar, Steven Shakespeare. Shakespeares Kierkegaard, Language and the Reality of God, furthermore, is Pounds hermeneutical device for his adaptation of Kierkegaard. However one wonders if Pounds interpretation of Shakespeare is as accurate as the latter would desire. This might appear obscure, but I did happen to find it particularly satisfying that the same year that Pounds book arrived on the market (2007), Shakespeare produced Radical Orthodoxy: A Critical Introduction.32 Shakespeare respectfully analyzes ROs various modalities while maintaining that RO sustains ideas worth critically questioning (Dualism, Imperialism, Rootlessness and Monism).33 It is my hope to repeat Shakespeare, but with a Barberian twist. At this point my question to RO is precisely this: where does the logic of the analogia entis lead? In his brief but wonderful book On Diaspora Daniel Barber gives us a hint,
If participation thus solves the peculiar challenge of connecting two distinguished spaces, another challenge remains, and this is to conceive how the logic of participation impacts the inhabitation of space in this world. Specifically, the impact is that the world becomes imagined, and thus inhabited, in a centripetal manner. When world-space is imagined in relation to divine-space, the former gains value only insofar as it is related to the latter, and this means that the point of relation the place or territory where one participates gains centrality. Within a logic of participation, then there is necessarily a central territory that, even as it gains its value from its relation to the transcendent, becomes hegemonic over peripheral territories.34

Barber recognizes that the logic of the analogia entis (participation) spatializes this world hierarchically. Pound displays this logic profoundly well in his book, for the
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Steven Shakespeare, Radical Orthodoxy: A Critical Introduction. Causton Street, London: SPCK Publishing, 2007. 192 pp. 33 Ibid., 149-82. 34 Daniel Barber, On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion and Secularity. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011. p. 48. My response can be read as fully informed by Barber. However, I do not develop the concept of Diaspora as he does in his book for his concept is one that I am still thinking through. That said, my questions to RO (Pound included of course) are but correlative of his questions to analogical (participatory) modes of being.

Drake 11 privileged space is the ecclesial (transubstantiated) one from which the outer space is translated and by which the outer space becomes pagan. Barber also helps us recognize that the logic of the analogia entis means that the distinct challenge which spaces exterior terrain35 to the participating space of the church is one of realization. If participation is the appropriate apparatus to speak of and thereby be in Gods life, what of those that do not? What of those that are not so spatialized by this transcendent Beyond? If we are to accept the terms of RO, what then of the pagan terrain? What then of the unconscious? I assume that the commitment to claiming theological discourse as preeminent (institutionally) or ecclesial doctrine as incommensurable (trans-traditionally) is not unquestionable. As we have seen RO sustains a qualifying commitment to the linguistic turn through a medieval curve: analogical participation in Gods nature (intellect). Because theology is queen of the sciences the secular is failed realization - an adulterated space that owes its imagination and communication to theologys inner judgment. The pagan world does not only represent an unrealized economy of knowledge dependent on theology, but a world whose realization is dependent upon it becoming churched. But what about theological discourse as such? Could it not be said that Once there was no theology?36 Furthermore did not discursive Greek, Jewish, Gentile and additional modes of discourse shape the materialization of Christian discourse as such? Subsequently one does not need to historically explain how the articulation of orthodox Christianity is made possible by the terms set by worldly and excommunicated terrain. But am I falling into the arms of ROs point here? I surely hope not. My point is this: The emergence of Christian theological discourse is a phenomenon that owes homage to other contingent modes of discourse in such a way that makes ROs ecclesial alternative overly
35

By terrain I follow Barbers adaptation of territory in Deleuzes lexicon. For this paper, terrain and territory can be used in chorus. 36 This question refers to a conversation I had with a friend concerning the complexity of any attempt to provide a universal account of transcendence in relation to the doctrine of the Incarnation. Indeed, the question was his, but upon his permission, I was privileged to involve it in my present paper. At the same time the question antagonizes Milbanks claim on the first page of Theology and Social Theory: Once there was no secular.

Drake 12 brazen, if not authoritarian. The problem here is not that I am searching for a third language to mediate religious and secular discourses in a harmonious guise, but rather that the historicity of symbolization is itself contingent and as Barber suggests, intermattering and interparticular.37 What then, following Barber, do we make of theological discourse? What appears to be at stake is how to account for transcendence the inbreaking of the God-man into finite time and if this is a good idea. If this is a good idea is plainly a question of ethical import, for revealed transcendence is just that - revealed - and thereby deciphered. This is not, to be sure, a polemical judgment, but one that questions the how of revelatory transference. Pound attempts to answer these questions analogically through Kierkegaards Fear and Trembling, but as I have shown, this account of transcendence carries with it a concealed triumphalism of its own, for all terrain (traditions) exterior to it are potential (and resultant) stock to subsume (back) into its internal structure. Ecclesially mediated Incarnational paradox, moreover, marks the objet petit a for RO and therefore any conversation concerning the great chain of being. Correspondingly this account marks the home of desire and thus its boundary. So must every human creature become participants in the ecclesial community to become people of political virtue and true desiring? If so, the RO pursuit of victory, represented most notably by John Milbank, demonstrates a particularly curious strain of epistemological establishmentarianism.38 Further then, must Lacan become a theologian for proper psychoanalytic praxis in the 21st century? Pounds error of subsuming all social formations into theological discourse is an error that permeates some of the field of postliberal theology.39 The error is the implicit claim that the gospel is ecclesially incommensurable based on her exercise

37 38

Ibid., 56-60. Ibid., 54-55. 39 Adonis Vidu, Post-liberal Theological Method: A Critical Study. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2005. 269 pp.

Drake 13 of analogical participation. Ecclesial incommensurability is a description, moreover, of the gospels absolute power and thereby its particular efficacy carried exclusively by way of the church. But I have already shown how such a rendering sustains a concealed colonialism. Does not implicitly claiming ecclesial incommensurability betray the trauma a subject experiences upon deciphering her call to be a member of that city it is intended to become? Claiming incommensurability, furthermore, is a theological grammar of foreclosure and theological discourse must acknowledge this, struggling to fare with the complexities surrounding its very interparticular advent, and surely those subsequent events of engagement between other modes of discourse.40 If Pound subsumes the psychoanalytic clinic into the content and form of liturgical practice, does not such a movement betray the content and form (Lacans corpus) that allowed Pound to do so? Pounds attempt at repeating Lacan, but curtails Lacan to a foreclosed theological agenda. My point, moreover, is to not think Lacan as (pagan) theologian, but to philosophically question, as Barber does in On Diaspora, the conditions by which theological discourse emerged and its negative dialectics: the radically contingent idealized form of Christianity and its unsuccessful performance to live up to that ideal.41 The vital mistake of Pounds book is then precisely his retroactive reconfiguration of Lacan because Pound determines the future of Lacan and time itself upon analogical participation, which I have already shown is problematic. In conclusion, Pounds analogical metaphysics interprets space and time in a way that privileges the constituted church and it follows that any ethics worthy of virtue arrive from this terrain. Moreover, the virtue of realization is restricted to the true terrain of the church. This goes on to display the curious feature of ideological critique, for that which Pound critiques in and outside of the ecclesial context but forecloses any likelihood that his position is itself ideological because the churchs terrain is preeminent over the whole nexus of exterior terrains.

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On Diaspora, 88-114. Ibid., 30-61.

Drake 14 It follows that my paper as a whole can be thrown under the flag of continental philosophy of religion, for I display a curiosity concerning the relationship between philosophy and theology, but more exclusively to the relationship between transcendence and immanence in theological and philosophical discourses. It was my intention to simultaneously situate Pound in his appropriate background and interrogate that field for I contend that the concepts of secularity and religion are worth questioning beyond the ecclesially hierarchical restrictions RO places upon them. Thus my questions have been posed toward ROs theological enterprise in a way that philosophically engages theological discourse generally, but also contends that ROs thesis falls short of properly accounting for theologys own complex emergence as interparticular.42
Bibliography Daniel Barber, On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion and Secularity. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011. 155 pp. John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason 2nd Edition. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006. 448 pp. John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock, Truth in Aquinas. Long Lane, London: Routledge Press, 2001. 132 pp. Marcus Pound, Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma. Long Lane, London: SCM Press, 2007. 188 pp. Steven Shakespeare, Radical Orthodoxy: A Critical Introduction. Causton Street, London: SPCK Publishing, 2007. 192 pp. Adonis Vidu, Post-liberal Theological Method: A Critical Study. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2005. 269 pp.
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Theology and Social Theory, 429-442.

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