Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review of Incarnational Humanism by Jens Zimmerman

Incarnational Humanism: A Philosophy of Culture for the Church in the World
by Jens Zimmerman
IVP Academic
Reviewed by Clint Walker

In the series Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology, Intervarsity Press has brought together some sharp minds to think through some theological issues that are of vital importance for the church and the world. One of the most thoughtful and challenging books in this series is Incarnational Humanism by Jens Zimmerman.

In this book, Zimmerman writes a theological anthropology of sorts, driven by a passion to see the church both be faithful to its beliefs and mission, and well as be culturally relevant. In order to do this, Zimmerman reminds his readers of the power and relevance of Christian humanism. When he speaks of humanism, he speaks of a humanism born in Christian investment in the culture of the ancient and medieval worlds. The kind of humanism that gave seed to the Renaissance through its commitment to writing, art and the like.

Through the metaphor of the Eucharist, Zimmerman encourages Christians to invest in the humanities, and to engage the world in this way in order to redeem it. Through raising up leaders and innovators in culture making, Christians can once again find a voice in the culture that propels the church and culture forward, and redeems culture and people for Christ in the process.

This book is well-researched and heavily footnoted. As an work of IVP Academic, it won't be a book that is necessarily for the average reader. But for those eager to engage in interdisciplinary and philosophical discussion of Christian witness in culture, this will be a wonderful text to read.

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