Biblical Critical Theory
*With a foreword from Tim Keller*
A bold vision for Christians who want to engage the world in a way that is biblically faithful and culturally sensitive.
In Biblical Critical Theory, Christopher Watkin shows how the Bible and its unfolding story help us make sense of modern life and culture.
Critical theories exist to critique what we think we know about reality and the social, political, and cultural structures in which we live. In doing so, they make visible the values and beliefs of a culture in order to scrutinize and change them.
Biblical Critical Theory exposes and evaluates the often-hidden assumptions and concepts that shape late-modern society, examining them through the lens of the biblical story running from Genesis to Revelation, and asking urgent questions like:
- How does the Bible's storyline help us understand our society, our culture, and ourselves?
- How do specific doctrines help us engage thoughtfully in the philosophical, political, and social questions of our day?
- How can we analyze and critique culture and its alternative critical theories through Scripture?
Informed by the biblical-theological structure of Saint Augustine's magisterial work The City of God (and with extensive diagrams and practical tools), Biblical Critical Theory shows how the patterns of the Bible's storyline can provide incisive, fresh, and nuanced ways of intervening in today's debates on everything from science, the arts, and politics to dignity, multiculturalism, and equality. You'll learn the moves to make and the tools to use in analyzing and engaging with all sorts of cultural artifacts and events in a way that is both biblically faithful and culturally relevant.
It is not enough for Christians to explain the Bible to the culture or cultures in which we live. We must also explain the culture in which we live within the framework and categories of the Bible, revealing how the whole of the Bible sheds light on the whole of life.
If Christians want to speak with a fresh, engaging, and dynamic voice in the marketplace of ideas today, we need to mine the unique treasures of the distinctive biblical storyline.
About the Author
Christopher Watkin (PhD, University of Cambridge) is senior lecturer in French studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a scholar with an international reputation in the area of modern and contemporary European thought, atheism, and the relationship between the Bible and philosophy. His published work runs the spectrum from academic monographs on contemporary philosophy to books written for general readers, both Christian and secular, and include Difficult Atheism, From Plato to Postmodernism, Great Thinkers: Jacques Derrida, and others.
Table of Contents
4. Sin and Society
5. Sin and Autonomy
6. Sin, Anthropology, and Asymmetry
7. From Lamech to Noah
9. Abraham and Promise
10. Abraham and Covenant
11. Moses, the Exodus, and the Torah
12. Prophecy and Power
13. Prophecy and Cultural Critique
14. Wisdom Literature
15. Incarnation, Space, and Time
16. Incarnation, Materiality, and Personality
17. The Ministry of Jesus, Love of God, and Love of Neighbor
18. The Cross, Subversion, and Grace
19. The Cross, Asymmetry, and Paradox
20. The Resurrection, Transformation, and Power
21. The Last Days, Church, and Society
22. The Last Days and Parallax Living
23. The Last Days and Giving to Caesar What Is Caesar’s
24. The Last Days and Modernity
25. Eschatology and Apocalyptic
26. Eschatology and Time
27. Eschatology and Identity
28. Eschatology and Culture
Praise for Biblical Critical Theory
“A book that I have been eagerly anticipating for years. ... My prayers are that this book will bear much intellectual and spiritual fruit in many lives over the decades ahead.”
—TIMOTHY KELLER, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York
“An important update of Augustine’s City of God, a proposal for making biblical sense of what is happening in contemporary culture.”
—KEVIN J. VANHOOZER, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“A seminal text for us . . . A foundation and frame for years to come. Absolutely essential reading.”
—DAN STRANGE, Crosslands Forum
“This is a magnificent achievement. It is a must-read . . . Here is a total defence and commendation of Christianity like no other. Buy it. Read it. Ponder it. Pass it on.”
—JOHN DICKSON, author and historian
“Biblical Critical Theory doesn’t just give us answers; it helps us to come up with better questions . . . An innovative and immensely fruitful paradigm.”
—MICHAEL HORTON, Westminster Seminary California
“[Chris Watkin] maps a path out of some of the most fundamental impasses of our time . . . Urgent and weighty, Biblical Critical Theory is . . . simply, a tremendously exciting read.”
—NATASHA MOORE, Centre for Public Christianity
“Incisive, accessible, and astonishing in scope . . . ”
—DOLORES G. MORRIS, University of South Florida
“This book is a must-read for all serious thinkers.”
—SAM CHAN, City Bible Forum
“A brilliant and unique book . . . It is the most biblical, up-to-date, and comprehensive analysis of contemporary Western culture that I know of.”
—JOSHUA CHATRAW, Center for Public Christianity
“This book is a feast. Chris Watkin accomplishes what few have.”
—WILLIAM EDGAR, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
“An effervescently brilliant book, that rare volume that excels both in biblical and cultural exegesis.”
—BRUCE RILEY ASHFORD, Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology
“This is the best yet most accessible exploration of the intersection between Christianity, culture, and philosophy I’ve read in recent years.”
—NATHANIEL GRAY SUTANTO, Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
“A fresh way of seeing the world, life, culture, and the Bible . . . I highly recommend this book.”
—ALAN NOBLE, Oklahoma Baptist University
“Christopher Watkin’s expert, timely compendium of Christian Scripture’s subversive engagement of dominating themes of our modern age brings welcome healing to our world.”
—ESTHER LIGHTCAP MEEK, Geneva College
“ . . . An ambitious, comprehensive, and thrilling work of Christian apologetics . . . The most significant work of its kind to appear in a decade.”
—RORY SHINER, Providence City Church, Perth
“Every careful reader will be rewarded from repeated immersions in this profound and potentially transformative work.”
—TERENCE HALLIDAY, American Bar Foundation
“A wonderful book bringing the Scriptures—every part of them—into a deep and illuminating conversation with the concerns of culture.”
—GLEN SCRIVENER, Speak Life
“This is truly the book I have long wanted to read, and I believe it deserves to become a standard text for all Christian leaders, teachers, evangelists, and any serious-minded believer.”
—RICHARD CUNNINGHAM, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship