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Donald MacKinnon's Theology : To Perceive Tragedy Without the Loss of Hope
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Donald MacKinnon's Theology : To Perceive Tragedy Without the Loss of Hope

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Donald MacKinnon's Theology
Author(s): Andrew Bowyer

Andrew Bowyer presents the first comprehensive examination of Donald MacKinnon's theology in relation to his moral philosophy. He offers an original and creative reading of MacKinnon's methodology, and important insights into the key influences and core questions which stood at the heart of his work. Bowyer outlines MacKinnon's contributions to Anglican theology in the aftermath of the Second World War, highlighting the “therapeutic” nature of his approach in as far as it combined a call for intense self-awareness with a commitment to moral realism. .
As one of the most influential Anglican theologians in the mid-twentieth century, MacKinnon's writings reveal him as a restive and unsystematic thinker. However, Bowyer argues that a series of reoccurring questions – 'obsessions' might better honour the memory of MacKinnon's temperament –appear throughout his work, relating to the tensions between the realism and idealism, the call to be “morally serious”, the nature of theological truth claims, and the perennially disruptive presence of Christ. Bowyer examines the key influences on MacKinnon's thought, the centrality of Christology to his project, his engagement with literature and literary criticism, as well as his response to Wittgenstein's later philosophy. This volume offers an appreciation of his contribution and a critique of his legacy.


“Donald MacKinnon had a huge influence on generations of young theologians. Within a construct of “therapeutic moral realism,” rigorous analysis of sources and writings, reinforced by interviews, Andrew Bowyer makes a new and important contribution to the critical appreciation of MacKinnon, intellectual and spiritual.” —George Newlands, Professor Emeritus of Divinity, University of Glasgow, UK.

“In this lucid analysis of Donald MacKinnon's work, Andrew Bowyer has broken new ground by showing how the thematic consistency of a seemingly disparate oeuvre is shaped by an underlying set of convictions about the task of the Christian theologian. This is a major contribution to our understanding of one of the leading British theologians of the twentieth century.” —David Fergusson, Professor of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh, UK

“In the 25 years since his death, Donald MacKinnon's work has continued to intrigue philosophically minded theologians in British universities; now, with this lucidly composed and thoroughly documented study, Andrew Bowyer displays the originality of MacKinnon's methods and results, relating it all to questions currently on the agenda about central and permanent issues in Christian doctrine - a splendid book, as invitingly written for newcomers as for veterans.” —Fergus Kerr, Honorary Fellow, Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK

“Andrew Bowyer provides a splendid study of a range of issues and influences on Donald MacKinnon's significantly purgative reflections on the conditions for making moral judgments, and particularly his therapeutic refusal to take facile and sentimental refuge from the demands of thinking rigorously in the borderlands of theology.” —John McDowell, Director of Research, University of Divinity, Australia

ISBN:  9780567681249