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Author(s): John Millbank
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"The Suspended Middle is to be welcomed to the extent that it raises the profile of a central, yet underacknowledged, figure in twentieth-century theology. (...) The central relevance for Millbank of the Lubac's account of the history of the supernatural lies in its potential to address the crucial turning point in Radical Orthodoxy's account of intellectual history. (...) To those already persuaded, the case is strengthened by his careful narration of the differences and continuities between pre-modern, modern and postmodern theology, the clear implication of the impossibility of any simple retrieval of pre-modern forms of theological expression, and his commitment to the cultural embeddedness of Christianity." Russell Re Manning, TLS, September 1 2006.
"Millbank argues that de Lubac's position does not in fact 'undermine the foundations of Catholic doctrine', but is on the contrary more radically true to Aquinas and Thomist critics and others. For all the highly technical nature of Millbank's argument, at its heart is no matter of purely internal theological dispute. Millbank's claim is that the autonomy of 'pure nature', which de Lubac denies but which the bulk of modern and postmodern western thinking takes for granted, 'is likely to result in joyless disciplinary programs for the maximizing of corporeal efficiency, and in the long run in nihilistic cults of individual and collective power' (p.21), to which might be added that a theology of grace detached from created nature is likely for its part to result in one variety or another of religious authoritarianism, making the questions at issue here deeply important to both Church and world today." Michael Kitchener, St Boswells, Theology, Nov/Dec 2006.
John Milbank is Research Professor of Religion, Politics, and Ethics at the University of Nottingham and Director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy. His previous books include Theology and Social Theory, The Word Made Strange, Radical Orthodoxy (coeditor), and Being Reconciled.