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Liturgical Press

Sustaining the Hope for Unity

Ecumenical dialogue in a Postmodern World

Erin Brigham

Sustaining the Hope for Unity
Sustaining the Hope for Unity

ISBN: 9780814680223, 8022

Details: 176 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 05/01/2012

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What is unity and how does it serve as a goal for ecumenical dialogue? How can churches, ecumenical organizations, ministers, and theologians effectively approach this goal in the twenty-first century? Sustaining the Hope for Unity offers a methodological reflection on these questions using insights of contemporary critical theory.

With particular attention to the work of Jürgen Habermas, the book develops a framework for exchanging religious narratives in a postmodern context marked by pluralism and ambiguity. Using this framework to address questions that have emerged out of the life of the World Council of Churches, Sustaining the Hope for Unity argues that unity must be imagined eschatologically in order to achieve inclusive and non-coercive dialogue between diverse Christian communities. Looking ahead to ecumenism in the twenty-first century, it makes a case for the role of the WCC as a public space for the exchange of religious narratives.

Erin Brigham is the Faculty Coordinator of Research for the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought and Adjunct Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the University of San Francisco. She earned her PhD in systematic and philosophical theology at the Graduate Theological Union in 2010. Her research interests include Catholic public theology and social thought as well as post-conciliar ecclesiology and ecumenism. Her work has appeared in Ecumenical Review, The Journal of Ecumenical Studies, and other periodicals.


The mass of theological literature engendered by the ecumenical movement has stimulated important theological and philosophical reflection for the global human family, of which this volume is an important contribution. The book looks, helpfully, at the basis of the WCC and its contribution to deepening relations and reflection. It brings important philosophical and feminist theoretical reflection to bear on these developments and the future of dialogue.
Jeffrey Gros, FSC, Distinguished Professor of Ecumenism and Historical Theology, Memphis Theological Seminary