God as Problem & Possibility
A Critical Study of Gordon Kaufman's
Thought toward a Spacious Theology

By Kenneth Nordgren
December 2003
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-554-5719-3
326 pages, 6 " x 9 "
$72.50 Paper Original

This is a Ph.D. dissertation. In today's world of science, social change, and cultural pluralism, is there room for a Christian concept of God? This is a crucial question underlying the whole book, which investigates the American theologian Gordon D. Kaufman's work. Tackling the cognitive and ethical problems that Christian belief in God faces today, Kaufman reconstructs central Christian ideas. He proposes the possibility of God as the key for an overall conception of reality and the means to give orientation in life for human flourishing. By formulating theology as an imaginative construction, Kaufman raises issues about the role and tasks of theology in a western context.

This study presents an inquiry into Kaufman's theological method and goes into discussion of the substance of his thought, particularly regarding the move from a personal to an impersonal interpretation of God. The entire study is framed by a specific understanding of academic theology as a critical and constructive work - involving standards of character and credibility - in a systematic analysis and reflection on Christian faith. This view of theology emerges from the examination of Kaufman's thought, and his promotion of an open intellectual enterprise. The author, however, recognizes limits in Kaufman's theology. He advances an overall argument in order to complement Kaufman's work toward a spacious theology that brings Christian tradition and practice seriously into play. The proposal for a spacious theology is a constructive contribution to contemporary academic theology.

Uppsala Studies in Faith & Ideologies No. 13

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