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Review of Horton, "Covenant and Eschatology"

Review of Horton, "Covenant and Eschatology"

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Published by James K.A. Smith
Originally appeared in Religious Studies Review.
Originally appeared in Religious Studies Review.

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Published by: James K.A. Smith on Apr 09, 2011
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09/06/2012

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COVENANT AND ESCHATOLOGY: THE DIVINE DRAMA.

By Michael S.

Horton. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. Pp. iii + 351. ISBN 0-664-22501-2.

If the necessary condition for doing contemporary theology is a subscription to nonfoundationalism, then we can find no better resource than the early nonfoundationalist theologies of Protestant scholasticism. This is the provocative thesis offered by Horton in this opening act of a larger systematic project. Demonstrating why the label of “Protestant scholasticism” is a misnomer, Horton draws from the well of post-Reformation dogmatics (embodied in the work of Turretin and developed in the biblical theology of Vos) in order to respond to a very contemporary situation of theology—whether it be construed as “postliberal” or “postmodern.” Conversant with both current movements in theology (particularly the postliberalism of Frei and Lindbeck) and philosophy (particularly the hermeneutics of Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Wolterstorff), Horton offers a fresh, original way into theology in this prolegomena volume. In

particular, he wants to revive the “drama of redemption” as a methodological framework that grows out of the “topic” of theology itself—the Scriptures, which tell the story of a covenant people awaiting in hope the consummation of the story. Thus Horton offers a theology that integrates systematics and biblical theology, demonstrating that authentic theology can only be biblical. Further, he seeks to demonstrate that a confessional theology rooted in the particularity of a covenant community is viable in (and perhaps because of) the situation of postmodernity. In sum, Covenant and Eschatology—whose provenance in

Westminster might be a surprise to some—signals the launch of a theological project which could revitalize confessional, even “evangelical,” Reformed theology.

James K.A. Smith Calvin College

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