From the prolific pen of Kevin Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Ph.D. Cambridge), comes yet another very worthwhile publication that should be welcomed by scholar and thoughtful layman alike. Vanhoozer, author of landmark hermeneutical and theological studies such as Is There a Meaning in This Text? (1998), The Drama of Doctrine (2005), and editor or contributor to more than a dozen other significant works over the past decade, co-edits this book in conjunction with Charles Anderson (PhD in progress, Cambridge) and Michael Sleasman (PhD in progress, TEDS). Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends emerged from a course first taught by Vanhoozer in 2001 at TEDS entitled “Cultural Hermeneutics,” in which the co-editors were students at the time.
In the preliminary guide to reading the book, Vanhoozer states “that all Christians can and should achieve some degree of cultural literacy, that is, the ability to read or interpret the world we live in through the lens of the Bible and Christian faith” (p. 11). In what follows, Vanhoozer offers a substantial (45-page) introduction on the what that everyday theology entails, and how to do it, and why. In the subsequent nine essays, each chapter offers an analysis of a particular iteration of contemporary culture, modeling for the reader both suggestive topics and practical strategies for analysis, evaluation, and engagement. A concluding essay then “walk[s] through the steps of theologically minded cultural exegesis” (p. 228), equipping the reader to follow guidelines and a process for continued reflection on cultural texts (in the broadest sense) and trends.
[written by] Dr. Ray Lubeck