Nothing Gained Is Eternal: A Theology of Tradition

Product Details
$34.00  $31.62
Fortress Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.0 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Anne M. Carpenter is associate professor of theology and religious studies at Saint Mary's College of California. She is the author of Theo-Poetics: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Risk of Art and Being (2015). Her writings have appeared in numerous scholarly and popular publications, including Modern Theology, Nova et Vetera, and Church Life Journal.


"Throughout the history of Christian theology, the question of tradition repeatedly surfaces in times of crisis, and the greatest theologies of tradition arise from the response to these crises. Here one can recall the work of such leading lights as Irenaeus of Lyons, the Council Fathers at Trent, John Henry Newman, Johann Adam Möhler in the nineteenth century, and Yves Congar in the past century. The discourse around race and colonialism has pressed Christian theologians once again to take up the question of tradition. Nothing Gained Is Eternal grapples with this question, and what one finds is remarkable. Carpenter accessibly brings to the fore the problem of tradition and traditioning in the course of engaging several key thinkers--Maurice Blondel, Charles Péguy, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Bernard Lonergan, Shawn Copeland, and James Baldwin. What results is not a history or a chronology, but instead nothing less than a 'constructive argument about the being of tradition, ' an argument surely poised to usher in a new wave of theological reflection on tradition. This book marks Anne Carpenter as a distinctive theological voice worth listening to. I recommend it highly." --Grant Kaplan, Steber Chair of Historical and Systematic Theology, Saint Louis University

"Tradition is the act of passing on God's self-revelation. But theology, Carpenter argues, has not sufficiently engaged its action. Carpenter's metaphysic of tradition turns to its undersides, both its structure--the columns and beams inside its walls--and those on the undersides of history. Carpenter picks up where the twentieth-century authors of ressourcement left off, reading tradition through James Baldwin, M. Shawn Copeland, and Willie Jennings. Nothing Gained Is Eternal is methodologically inventive and ambitious, fully engaged with the theological tradition but refusing to follow the usual paths." --Joseph S. Flipper, Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology, University of Dayton

"Anne Carpenter's Nothing Gained Is Eternal builds bridges. It puts important schools of thought into conversation about the nature of history, race, sin, and God's redemptive love. Early twentieth-century Catholic theologians meet contemporary theological critics of church and society, and the result is a provocative work of conceptual synthesis and prophetic insight." --Andrew Prevot, associate professor of theology, Boston College, and author of Thinking Prayer: Theology and Spirituality amid the Crises of Modernity

"At once a celebration, a chastening, and an expansion of conventional formulations of religious tradition, Carpenter's book takes on the ambitious task of integrating a chorus of voices which might not otherwise have had occasion to enrich (and correct!) one another. The book unites detailed theological and philosophical analyses of history and temporality with an exhortative call to action against dark forces of racism and colonialism which shadow Christianity's past and present, making a compelling case that future systematic reflection on Christian tradition ought to be reconfigured to account for a direct confrontation against those powers and principalities." --Jennifer Newsome Martin, associate professor in the department of theology and the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Critical Appropriation of Russian Religious Thought