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December 12, 2009



It depends what you mean by 'anywhere', Andy. The book on Gunton's theology that's coming out next year will be a serious engagement with Gunton's theology, and I'm guessing that it won't be hostile. And there's a wealth of theologians and ministers (if there's a distinction!) who have been influenced by Gunton's approach and who in turn will be influencing people in their congregations.

The real problem - if it is a problem - is that no English department has picked up where Gunton left off, as you say. But really - those things that remain: how influential are they beyond the academic world? Who in our churches is going to wrestle with Milbank? Who really thinks that Oliver Davies and co. are doing anything new?

Thing is, I don't think Gunton headed a particular school of theology at all. It was just prioritising (perhaps to the point of over-egging things) the need to let Jesus make a difference in theology. And this translates best into local church practice.

I think I'm waffling now - this isn't an especially coherent response! - so I'll let go now.

andy goodliff

I guess I agree Terry. I'm sure Gunton remains a big influence on the likes of Spurgeon's and LST. My point is that no English department is now doing christian doctrine in the way that Gunton and co. were during the 90s and early 2000s. I guess its just none of those who were shaped by the Gunton years have found a position in an english theology faculty.

I'm really looking forward to the book on Gunton's theology ... and hopefully it will not the last word on his theology.

Richard L. Floyd

Thanks for this post. I have been out of the British theological scene for many years, but even in Gunton's heyday I recall him being something of an outlier. I met Gunton in 1989 at the SST meeting at Oxford and he was supportive of my work on atonement, but who was the Regius Professor at the time? Maurice Wiles, who thought Barth engaged in, and I quote from my lecture notes, “mystic science,” and who believed that “the actuality of atonement,” (to use CG words) was of only local interest to the relatively few people across history who had been exposed to the Gospel. So Gunton touched many through his teaching and writing, but was not in the academic mainstream. Even less so here in the States, although his teacher and mentor, Rober Jenson, is still going strong. But the kind of careful, thoughtful retrieval theology Gunton was so brilliant at has never really thrived in the academy. And Gunton himself understood that he was writing for the Church, and that may be where he is still most appreciated. At least by me.

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