Idol and Grace

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“Traditioning” refers to the whole process by which the Christian faith is passed along from generation to generation. At the core of this faith lies the claim that God has begun to transform the world by way of universal compassion as demonstrated in the life and message of the Jewish peasant who stands at the dawn of Christianity. But was Jesus right? Many Christians have literally bet their lives on it.

As Orlando Espin shows, the primary role in the process of Christian traditioning is not played by the custodians of doctrine. Espín looks instead to the role of those on the margins, the "disposables" as those most alert to the subversive hope of the Gospels, and thus as faithful “traditioners” of the Christian message.

"Offers a theology of traditioning that is not only important for Catholics but for the wider Christian community . . . . I highly recommend it."--Kwok Pui-Lan

"At once elegant and edgy, by turns traditional and avant-garde. The Christian faith is lucky to have such a skillful expositor."--Mary E. Hunt

"Opens up a marvelous and challenging angle of vision to explore God's ongoing revelation in the world . . . A very, very good read."--Emilie M. Townes

Orlando O. Espín is professor of systematic theology at the University of San Diego and director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism. His many books include The Faith of the People; Grace and Humanness; and (as editor with Míguel Díaz), From the Heart of Our People: Latino/a Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology.

Book Details

Idol and Grace
On Traditioning and Subversive Hope
Orlando O. Espin
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Idol and Grace Table of Contents 314 Kb
Idol and Grace is a gem of a book. It brings us back to a long ignored element of the Christian tradition - that is, to Jesus' initiatory eschatological hope. And it guides and rehearses us in the preservation and practice of this subversive hope. Espin's book makes a significant contribution to current conversations on tradition and the processes of traditioning; on the significance of the message and actions of Jesus; on the essence of Christianity; on the possibility of intercultural thought and intercultural dialogue; and, of course, on the riches of U.S. Latino/a theology.
... tenders a novel rendering of the essence of theological tradition and Christianity.
... introduces a quite original and important contribution to discussions of revelation, tradition, and doctrine in Catholic Theology, one that can bring new insights to the further development of these topics.
I like this densely written short book quite a lot, as it takes up many perspectives which are important to central SVD themes: the missio Dei as central approach to mission, the mission to other people (gentes - inter, ad or cum), the marginalized first, mission in collaboration. . . . In [Espin's] presentation, compassion is also a basic attitude for inter-religious dialogue, since believers of others faiths and actually non-believers could share in a vision of a just and compassionate society and thus collaborate towards the Kingdom.
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