Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Forthcoming Book: The Mission of Demythologizing

My nearly 1000-page study of Rudolf Bultmann’s theology and hermeneutics is nearing publication. The Mission of Demythologizing: Rudolf Bultmann's Dialectical Theology is scheduled for release on June 1 from Fortress Press.

You can preorder the book now for 40% off the list price, so pick up your copy now! [Update: the 40% discount is over for now.]

Here are the endorsements for the book, for which I am most grateful:

“In this substantial work, David Congdon has produced the most creative and scholarly study of Rudolf Bultmann’s theology for more than a generation. In refuting the standard charge of a capitulation to modernity, he shows how Bultmann’s demythologizing project is rooted in a robust set of convictions about God as subject and the act of faith as existential and practical. This reassessment of Bultmann as a dialectical theologian is long overdue. In an increasingly secular culture which too readily dismisses Christian faith as ‘believing six impossible things before breakfast,’ Congdon’s work promises to rehabilitate Bultmann as an important resource for theological understanding.”
—David Fergusson, University of Edinburgh

The Mission of Demythologizing systematically deconstructs the slogans with which New Testament scholars have long caricatured Rudolf Bultmann's hermeneutic. Yet this is no mere demolition job, as David Congdon replaces the stereotype with a Bultmann fully invested in a missiological hermeneutic on behalf of dialectical theology. This book and the discussion it generates will be with us a long time.”
—Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Baylor University

“This is a quite remarkable volume. It seeks to overturn two generations and more of scholarship on the theology of Rudolf Bultmann, not only revisiting and reconceiving the relationship between Bultmann and Karl Barth, but also revisioning and rehabilitating Bultmann's program of demythologization. The bold trajectory of argument which Congdon advances arcs round the central claim that Bultmann’s dialectical theology and demythologising programme represent a fundamentally missionary endevaour. To evidence this ambitious claim, Congdon engages with the full diachronic range of Bultmann’s corpus, and thereby interacts with the full range of attendant issues, including the crucial relationships between kerygma and hermeneia, objective and subjective, and mission and liberalism. The result is a painstakingly researched and lucidly presented work that is both compelling and a joy to read, one which evidences the kind of depth, insight, and passion that are the hallmarks of the very finest research in theology. This volume will make an immediate and significant contribution to the reception of the work of Bultmann (and of Barth); but more than this, the constructive and generative agenda which it sets suggests that the work of Protestant theology is far from done and that tales of its demise may be somewhat premature.”
—Paul T. Nimmo, University of Aberdeen

“David Congdon's work is essential reading for anyone interested in Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Barth, or Christian theology in the modern period. Meticulously researched, lucidly written, and brimming with constructive energy, this is a work of enormous sympathy, intelligence, and creativity.”
—Adam Neder, Whitworth University

“This book is one of the most important and perceptive studies on Rudolf Bultmann and his often misunderstood program of Entmythologisierung (demythologizing) ever written in English.”
—Michael Lattke, Emeritus, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

“For two generations theology has ‘gone around’ Bultmann rather than through him. This evasion has led either to scholarly retreats into the false securities of the old historicism or to circling the wagons of Christian traditionalism. In this brilliant book worthy of its subject, a voice from the youngest theological generation now presents a fresh understanding of Bultmann’s daring missional program. David Congdon urges the church to look outward and forward by interpreting the news of Jesus Christ on the shifting frontiers of an emerging world.”
—James F. Kay, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Comprehensively researched and clearly written, this volume provides a convincing reinterpretation of Bultmann’s thought as well as a compelling account of its constructive significance for the future of missional theology and hermeneutics. This is an impressive interdisciplinary contribution to the literature of modern Christian thought by one of the most promising young theologians at work today.”
—John R. Franke, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Top 50 Albums of 2014

I found it hard to keep up with the music in 2014. It was a busy year, to say the least. I defended my dissertation in January, signed four book contracts, had three journal articles and three book chapters published, submitted three other articles to journals, submitted a 900-page manuscript for publication, gave a conference paper, finally saw published the book I coedited with Travis McMaken on Karl Barth, and made serious headway in writing two more book manuscripts. And that is all on top of the dozens of books I edited for publication with IVP Academic. So I’ve had a lot on my mind in 2014. Unfortunately, my music listening suffered.

That being said, I still listened to many albums this year—many very good albums. A number of these albums are by artists who are known for a particular instrument: Arve Henriksen on trumpet, Owen Pallett on violin, Ernst Reijseger on cello, Hauschka on piano, and James Blackshaw on guitar. 2014 was the year I discovered both Henriksen and Reijseger, and I suspect they will feature on future lists. Many of my favorite albums—Henriksen, Richard Reed Parry, David Lang, Reijseger, Hauschka, Blackshaw, Glenn Kotche, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Barnett + Coloccia, and Golden Retriever—could be classified as experimental or contemporary classical, which is a growing area of interest.

With that said, here is my list of the best albums of 2014.


1. Arve Henriksen, Chron + Cosmic Creation, The Nature of Connections, World of Glass (with Terje Isungset)


Picking Henriksen for #1 is not merely penance for overlooking his Places of Worship on last year's list. Any of his 2014 albums would be worthy of this spot – and all of them together make for a stunning output in a single year – but the release of Chron and Cosmic Creation is the clear highlight. This is daring, eye-opening experimental music. But do not miss World of Glass, where all of the music is played on instruments made out of glass.


2. Flying Lotus, You’re Dead!



3. Owen Pallett, In Conflict



4. Richard Reed Parry, Music for Heart and Breath



5. Perfume Genius, Too Bright




6. D’Angelo, Black Messiah



7. Ibibio Sound Machine, Ibibio Sound Machine



8. Hundred Waters, The Moon Rang Like a Bell



9. FKA twigs, LP1



10. David Lang, Love Fail



11. Ben Frost, A U R O R A



12. Clark, Clark



13. Ernst Reijseger, Feature



14. St. Vincent, St. Vincent



15. Caribou, Our Love



16. Brian Eno/Karl Hyde, High Life



17. Lykke Li, I Never Learn



18. Aphex Twin, Syro



19. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2



20. Arca, Xen



21. Lost in the Trees, Past Life



22. Future Islands, Singles



23. Marissa Nadler, July



24. The Antlers, Familiars



25. Museum of Love, Museum of Love



26. Kate Tempest, Everybody Down



27. Hauschka, Abandoned City



28. Lone, Reality Testing



29. Todd Terje, It’s Album Time



30. Strand of Oaks, HEAL



31. Death Vessel, Island Intervals



32. James Blackshaw, Fantômas: Le Faux Magistrat



33. Lyla Foy, Mirrors the Sky



34. Spoon, They Want My Soul



35. Grouper, Ruins



36. Jess Williamson, Native State



37. Glenn Kotche, Adventureland



38. A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Atomos



39. Lockah, Yahoo or the Highway



40. CEO, Wonderland



41. How To Dress Well, “What Is This Heart?”



42. Mark McGuire, Along the Way



43. Mr Twin Sister, Mr Twin Sister



44. Shabazz Palaces, Lese Majesty



45. Barnett + Coloccia, Retrieval



46. Golden Retriever, Seer



47. Sun Kil Moon, Benji



48. Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues



49. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream



50. Landlady, Upright Behavior