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From Siesta to Sabbath

A Theology of Pause and Play
Taylor Ruiz-Jones
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From the patristic period onward, the delicate dance between the active and contemplative life has marked Christian theological debate. Taylor Ruiz-Jones seeks to reconfigure the modern sabbatological imagination by recontextualizing the field of play within which not only Christian faithfulness but also the life of the mind must be apprised. In so doing, exegetical, historiographical, and dialectical analyses are playfully reconstructed in the process of setting forth a constructive dogmatics of the sabbath.

Ruiz-Jones addresses the enduring relation of siesta and Sabbath by approaching it from analytic, aesthetic, and ascetic vantage points. Along the way, a number of exegetical and historiographic proposals are developed: appreciation of a deep fissure between the early dialectics of Bibfeldt and his later sabbatologico-apocalyptic tome; delineation of a new documentary hypothesis premised upon the competing Sabbath theologies characterizing layers of composition in the biblical text; and, perhaps most controversial, an argument that the creational theology of Karl Barth serves to connect Schleiermacher’s theology of absolute dependence with William Stringfellow’s much misunderstood politics of spirituality. A Whiggish methodology, contrarian approach, and pacific tone mark each strand of the argument.

Sure to startle and to inspire, this brilliant work will stand alongside those of David Bentley Hart and John Milbank in reshuffling the moral, metaphysical, and imaginative framework of contemporary Christian theology.

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About the Author

Taylor Ruiz-Jones (PhD, Stockholm University Polytechnic Institute) has lectured at numerous institutions throughout the world. Author and translator of works in numerous languages, this is the author’s first book.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: An Analytics of Pause and Play

1. Dialectical Foundations in the Early Bibfeldt

2. Rethinking Dialectics: From Schleiermacher through Barth to Stringfellow

3. Excursus I: The Documentary Hypothesis and Pentateuchal Evolution of Sabbatology

4. Both/and, or Playful Pause and Paused Play

PART TWO: An Aesthetics of Pause and Play

5. Beyond analogia entis and analogia fidei: The Analogy of Play

6. Excursus II: The Sublime in the Late Victorine Pastoralia

7. The Optics of the Market: Engaging David Bentley Hart’s Aesthetics of Christian Truth

8. Excursus III: A Figural Reading of Joshua 2

9. Life with Largesse: From Christ’s Eucharistic Feast to Eschatological Fiesta

PART THREE: An Ascetics of Pause and Play

10. Apocalyptic Analyses of the Later Bibfeldt’s Theology of Vacation

11. The Ascetics of Puritan Sabbath Theology and Practice

12. Excursus IV: Reassessing the Graves Thesis on the Elleboogius-Perkins Debate Regarding “Works of Mercy”

13. Rollicking in Renunciation: Bringing Self-Denial and Siesta Together Again



Decades ago, Franz Bibfeldt pointed to the dogmatic importance of a sabbatique totale, but the response from the guild of professional theologians was muted at best: ‘We hear what you’re saying, but we just don’t care.’ With the appearance of From Siesta to Sabbath the epoch of the hermeneutical snooze alarm has finally passed away, because this sprawling, ludic performance by Ruiz-Jones is as unignorable as it is unputdownable and eminently arguewithable. Here is a volume that is certain to fall like a lullaby on the playground of the theologians. It calls time out on any number of current academic projects, and in so doing, it fills a much-needed gap in modern theology. Lie down and read! —Fred Sanders, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally you discover an author who makes you wonder if everything you understood before was merely a figment of your imagination. Not since first encountering Franz Bibfeldt’s contribution of the “unrelieved paradox” have I seen this unique ability to hold together the ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and even ‘maybe’ at the same time, all without losing sight of the task at hand. Taylor Ruiz-Jones is Bibfeldt’s able successor, and this work helps us understand why. It takes courage to enter into his world, but if you do, the possibility of new worlds open up before you. —Kelly M. Kapic, Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College

A particularly jejune contribution. … This volume, written originally in Spanish for a Spanish audience, contains the best description and most interesting criticisms of my own Puritan historiography that I have seen. —Robin Graves, Archeologist in Residence, Stockholm University Polytechnic Institute

  • Product Details
  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 97803109X82X
  • Release: April 1, 1982