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John Milbank: The Future of Love

I realize the blog has been silent for a few days. This is the fault of John Milbank. I’ve spend the last couple weeks rigorously editing his forthcoming volume with Cascade Books, The Future of Love: Essays in Political Theology. Whatever disagreements I and anyone else might have with Milbank, the man is an incredible genius, having a grasp of western philosophy and theology, the likes of which is rarely seen in a theologian.

The forthcoming book promises to be a very good one, containing a lot of superb essays from Milbank that really get at the inner-workings of his theopolitical vision and his theology as a whole. Here is the contents of the book:

I Theology and English Culture

1    Coleridge: Divine Logos and Human Communication
2    Religion, Culture, and Anarchy: The Attack on the Arnoldian Vision
3    What is Living and What is Dead in Newman’s Grammar of Assent

II Theology and British Politics

4    Were the “Christian Socialists” Socialist?
5    The Body by Love Possessed: Christianity and Late Capitalism in Britain
6    On Baseless Suspicion: Christianity and the Crisis of Socialism

III Theology and Social Theory: Responses

7    Enclaves: or Where is the Church?
8    On Theological Transgression
9    The Invocation of Clio

IV Political Theology Today

10    Sovereignty, Empire, Capital, and Terror
11    Liberality versus Liberalism
12    Stale Expressions: The Management-Shaped Church

V Theology and Pluralism

13    The End of Dialogue
14    The Conflict of the Faculties: Theology and the Economy of the Sciences
15    Faith, Reason, and Imagination: The Study of Theology and Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century

VI Theological Agendas

16    Postmodern Critical Augustinianism: A Short Summa in Forty-Two Responses to Unasked Questions
17    The Transcendality of the Gift: A Summary in Answer to 12 Questions
18    The Future of Love: A Reading of Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est

Personally, I found the essays in the sections on Theology and Social Theory and “Theological Agendas” to be the most engaging and interesting. In particular, I think Milbank’s article, “Enclaves, or Where is the Church?” is one of his best pieces. In it we get an utterly rich reading of Paul’s ecclesiology in the Corinthian epistles. Milbank’s engagement with Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclial, Deus Caritas Est is also a superb piece. All in all, I think anyone interested in contemporary theology in general, and Milbank’s work in particular will find this book very helpful. I look forward to it going into production soon.


  1. Hill wrote:

    I’ve read probably half of these essays and I still can’t wait to buy the book. I hope it is reasonably priced?

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  2. michaeloneillburns wrote:

    thanks for the heads up about this volume. do you have any idea when it is going to be released?

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    I’m not sure what the pricing will be. It’ll depend on final page count. Depending how fast we can move through the final stages (everything is really busy right now), I say we can expect to see the book sometime in early October.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  4. Patrik wrote:

    Is the “enclaves” essay also a reprint? If so where has it been published before?

    This volume does look very interesting.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 1:49 am | Permalink
  5. Ben Myers wrote:

    Oh man… Can’t wait for this one!

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 5:50 am | Permalink
  6. Dave Belcher wrote:


    That’s in a really great isue of New Blackfriars from 1992 — special issue on Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory…

    It also contains responses from Graham Ward, Aidan Nichols, Kieran Flanagan, Fergus Kerr, and Rowan Williams. Really very good.

    Although, maybe better (without Milbank’s response) and also in 1992, there was an issue on TST in Modern Theology that has a really excellent summary (just astoundingly accurate in the most straightforward of terms) by David Burrell, and the most astonishing, and brilliant response I have ever seen given to Milbank by Nicholas Lash — who sometimes refers to milbank as “Cardinal Milbank”! Great piece.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    That’s the issue that includes the article “Enclaves” that you asked about, Patrik.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  8. Dave Belcher wrote:

    Yeah, sorry Patrik, I should have included the whole citation:

    John Milbank, “Enclaves, or, Where is the Church?” New Blackfriars Vol. 73, Issue 861 (June 1992), 341-52.


    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  9. BenS wrote:

    Does anyone know if “The Transcendality of the Gift: A Summary in Answer to 12 Questions” is a new essay or a reprint, and if the latter where was it originally printed?

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
  10. R.H. wrote:

    Any chance he responds to Stout anywhere in this volume?

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  11. Patrik wrote:

    Thank you for you responses, I will look up that issue.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 1:07 am | Permalink
  12. J. Kameron Carter wrote:

    When will this volume be available? Does anyone know? I’ll be teaching a course of the theology of Radical Orthodoxy this Spring at Duke and want to review it as a possible text for the course.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 3:20 am | Permalink
  13. Halden wrote:

    Prof. Carter,

    Thank you for your comment. The book now needs to be typeset and proofread, but this should take no more than a few weeks. I anticipate the book being out sometime in early-mid October. When it is available, I will email you and let you know.


    Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  14. David wrote:

    The Newman piece looks interesting – I wonder if it’s new as I’ve never come across anything written by Milbank on Newman?

    I’ve only ever seen a few passing references which is perhaps a little strange given the affinities between Newman and Milbank.

    Friday, September 26, 2008 at 1:44 am | Permalink
  15. Ben wrote:


    Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

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  1. New John Milbank | Theopolitical on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 9:29 am

    [...] has been editing a new volume of John Milbank essays on political theology: The Future of Love: Essays in Political Theology. Looks like yet another [...]

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