Theological Radicalism and Tradition: 'The Limits of Radicalism' with Appendices
`The limits of radicalism are those which end not in chaos but in the breaking of fresh ground.' Howard E. Root Previously unpublished--and only recently rediscovered by Dr Christopher R. Brewer in an uncatalogued box in the archives of Lambeth Palace Library--Canon Howard E. Root's 1972 Bampton Lectures, `The Limits of Radicalism', have to do with nothing less than `what theology is', a topic no less relevant today than it was in 1972. Against the radical reductionism of his time, Root defended the integrity of theology and `theological truth'. Advocating a `backward-looking' radicalism, he thought that tradition should display `recognisable continuity', and yet at the same time--against reductionistic tendencies--that it might be enriched and enlarged via a wide variety of `additive imagery' including, though not limited to, poetry and pop art, music and even television. We must `begin where we are', said Root, for we cannot, in the manner of Leonard Hodgson, `think ourselves into the minds and feelings of men 2000 years ago.' In this volume, which begins with a substantial, mostly biographical introduction, Dr Brewer argues that Root--a backward-looking radical who defended metaphysics and natural theology, and insisted that theologians look to the arts as theological resources--anticipates the work of David Brown and others concerned with tradition and imagination, relevance and truth. A fascinating glimpse into the recent history of British Christianity, Root's lectures, as well as the related appendices, are essential reading for theologians interested in the dynamics of a developing tradition and the theme of openness, as well as those with a particular interest in 1960s Cambridge radicalism and the British reception of the Second Vatican Council.