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Theology in a Suffering World
Glory and Longing


  • Date Published: August 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316607732

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About the Authors
  • In this book, Christopher Southgate proposes a new way of understanding the glory of God in Christian theology, based on glory as sign. Working from the roots of the concept in the Hebrew Bible, Theology in a Suffering World: Glory and Longing shows that 'glory' is not necessarily about beauty or radiance, but is better understood as a sign of the unknowable depths of God. Southgate goes on to show how John and Paul transform the concept of glory in the light of the cross. He then explores where glory may be discerned in the natural world, including in situations of pain and suffering. In turn glory is explored in the poetry of R. S. Thomas and the writings of the Jewish mystic Etty Hillesum. Finally, the book considers what it might mean for Christians to be 'transformed from one degree of glory to another': that might mean becoming a sign of the great sign of God that is Christ, and conforming their longing to God's longing for the Kingdom to come.

    • Proposes a new way of understanding divine glory, to be associated with pain, silence and suffering
    • Allows the development of a three-fold hermeneutical lens - glory in creation, glory at the cross, glory at the eschaton
    • Uses a highly interdisciplinary approach, involving biblical studies, systematic theology, natural sciences, poetry and mysticism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'What Southgate has attempted here is nothing less than courageous; whether he has succeeded will be up to the reader. I would recommend Theology in a Suffering World to all those who are interested in theodicy, suffering and impassibility, and the vexing question of natural and moral evil in the Christian life. Southgate's work should be commended as an honest look at difficult issues and indeed is an engaging contribution to theological studies concerning glory and suffering; it can be approached by theologians and ministers alike.' Brent McCulley, International Journal of Systematic Theology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316607732
    • length: 291 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Glory as sign: relation of glory to beauty and wonder
    2. Glory in the Scriptures
    3. Glory in the natural world
    4. Glory in the arts and in mysticism
    5. Glory in the Christian journey.

  • Author

    Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter
    Christopher Southgate is Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Theology at the University of Exeter. Trained originally as a biochemist, he is still involved in origin of life research and is known in the science-religion debate for his edited textbook, and his monograph on suffering in evolution, The Groaning of Creation (2008). This book is a sequel to Groaning, but it also builds on Southgate's career as a poet, in which he has won a Hawthornden Fellowship and published eight collections, and his experience as principal of a theological training scheme, and as a spiritual director and retreat conductor.

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