Tuesday 14 June 2022

New Book by James Olthuis Added to Currents in Reformational Thought Series

Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love; cover image by Jordan McIntyre
Cover image by
Jordan McIntyre
A new volume in the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics' Currents in Reformational Thought book series has just been published with Wipf and Stock!

James H. Olthuis, Senior Member Emeritus in Philosophical Theology at ICS, has authored the newest title in our series: Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love: A Theopoetics of Gift and Call, Risk and PromiseThis book is available directly from the Wipf and Stock website as well as other online book sellers. Here is a synopsis of Jim's book from the publisher's site:

In the twenty-first century, amid globalized violence, rising demagogues, and the climate emergency, contemporary philosophers and theologians have begun to debate a fundamental question: Is our reality the result of the overflowing, ever-present creativity of Love, or the symptom of a traumatic rupture at the heart of all things? Drawing on decades of research in postmodern philosophy and experience as a psychotherapist, James H. Olthuis wades into this discussion to propose a radical ontology of Love without metaphysics. In dialogue with philosophers like John D. Caputo, Slavoj Žižek, Luce Irigaray, and others, Olthuis explores issues from divine sovereignty and the problem of evil to trauma and social ethics. Experience in therapeutic work informs these investigations, rooting them in journeys with individuals on the path to healing. Olthuis makes the bold claim that while trauma, pain, and suffering are significant parts of our human lives, nevertheless Love is with us to the very end. Creation is a gift that comes with a call to make something of it ourselves, a risky task we must take on with the promise that Love will win. We are all dancing in the wild spaces of Love: ex amore, cum amore, ad amorem.

Endorsements for Jim's Book:

“The sheer attractive force of this meditation on the love at the heart of everything draws biblical hermeneutics, Derrida and Irigaray, trauma theory and social ethics into an irresistible theopoetics. In this wild dance of a text, Olthuis may be loving theology itself back to life.”

Catherine Keller
George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew University, The Theological School
Author of Facing Apocalypse: Climate, Democracy and Other Last Chances

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Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love is everything we have come to expect from Jim Olthuis – a beautifully written, carefully argued, wide-ranging analysis of the centrality of love in our lives, a veritable philosophical hymn to love. Olthuis is a bright light in these dark days, a balm for an age of anger, rage and divisiveness in which love is an increasingly scarce commodity. We have never needed him more than now.”

John D. Caputo
Thomas J. Watson Professor Emeritus of Religion, Syracuse University
David R. Cook Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Villanova University

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“In every sense possible, Olthuis lives up to the subtitle of this remarkable book. This is indeed a theopoetics and must be engaged as such. Yes, of course there are erudite and close readings of the likes of Irigaray, Derrida, Žižek, Levinas and Caputo. But even here, Olthuis is dancing with these authors. There is a poetic allusiveness, imaginativity and generous empathy in these conversations. What else would we expect from a hermeneutics of love, informed and deepened by decades of psychotherapeutic practice? Having walked the path of trauma and profound brokenness, together with healing and hope, Olthuis embodies a wisdom born of tears. But tears can turn to dancing. So put on your dancing shoes when you read this book.”

Brian J. Walsh
Co-author (with Sylvia Keesmaat) of Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice