THE SECULAR CITY HARVEY COX PDF

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It is nearly twenty years since Harvey Cox, a professor at the Harvard Divinity School, became a sensation among liberal theologians with the publication of The Secular City. In that book, he celebrated the advent of secular urban civilization and the retreat of traditional Christianity.

As Cox himself pointed out, there was nothing new in this acclaim for the secular epoch. The ground had been prepared years before by German theologians, particularly Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But Harvey Cox succeeded as no one else in translating their message into the American vernacular; and in so doing, he fulfilled the longings of a new generation of American clergy and laity. Yet even in the heyday of The Secular City, a specter was stalking liberal theologians, and Harvey Cox knew it.

Having declared that the kingdom was of this world, they could now choose among the various movements that were claiming to usher it in; but on what grounds? The development of such a theology should be the first item on the theological agenda today. The modern secular age, it seems, is now ending, and the theology that sought to explain it has been rendered obsolete. Cox notes at the outset that fundamentalism will contribute little to post-modern theology, and spends the first third of his book explaining why.

Moreover, the movement is too ideological, too closely identified with the support of capitalism and American foreign policy. By allying themselves with these narrow political goals, the fundamentalists have excluded themselves from a post-modern theology which must address the hitherto dispossessed people of the world: namely, women, minorities, and the poor.

The movement is largely, though not exclusively, Catholic, and its leading representatives are Latin American theologians heavily influenced by modern European thought and Marxism. The age of the nation-state is passing away, and a world community is emerging in its place.

And as surely as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, liberation theology will bring the kingdom to earth. In his first book, he danced on the grave; in this one, he desecrates it. The problem of one-sided exposition has only begun; when it comes to the side he favors, Cox is a formidable euphemist. If Harvey Cox can explain liberation theology without Marx, he is a subtle theologian indeed—it is like writing Martin Luther out of the Reformation.

Harvey Cox has done it again: he has turned the tradition of speculative metaphysics into one of free association. Still, there is one Coxian fancy which provokes unexpected sympathy. In the tension between traditional Christians and liberationists, he detects the beginnings of a new Reformation, and this is surely a hope to be shared.

If the Roman Church ever rids itself of the liberationists and their allies, it will have redeemed much of recent Catholic history.

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The Secular City

It is nearly twenty years since Harvey Cox, a professor at the Harvard Divinity School, became a sensation among liberal theologians with the publication of The Secular City. In that book, he celebrated the advent of secular urban civilization and the retreat of traditional Christianity. As Cox himself pointed out, there was nothing new in this acclaim for the secular epoch. The ground had been prepared years before by German theologians, particularly Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But Harvey Cox succeeded as no one else in translating their message into the American vernacular; and in so doing, he fulfilled the longings of a new generation of American clergy and laity.

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Cox - Secular City.pdf

Shelves: political-science , philosophy , batbrchallenge , batbrchallenge , batbrchallenge , batbrchallenge , , culture-studies , americas I think I would change the subtitle to: Secularization, Urbanization, and Theology in Sociological Perspective. Found this book incredibly thought-provoking though, as I bounced between arguing with some rather ridiculous statements and finding some real gems of understanding the chapter on gender and sexuality was particularly strong, as an example from near the end of the book. There were some places that seemed interesting exceptions to this perspective, but I wonder if he was simply using the common language of Christians without the same underlying understanding. If I ever get around to rereading some of the books that I think particularly deserve that attention, this will be among them.

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Harvey Cox

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