A Comparison

In the recent history of theology, the figure who most closely approximates Milbank is Reinhold Niebuhr — with the important exception that Niebuhr at least tried to elaborate a constructive theological position (viz., The Nature and Destiny of Man). For both, the main task is to deploy the “Christian” view as a solution to contemporary social ills.

The similarity may be obscured by the fact that Milbank is dealing with “cutting edge” European philosophers while Niebuhr is resolutely uncool to our contemporary eyes, but Niebuhr was dealing with Lenin and Freud, for example, and both have a kind of historical genealogy for when the truly “Christian” view was lost.

Perhaps Niebuhr’s “selling out” to American hegemony could be considered parallel to the supposed reunification of Christendom that Radical Orthodoxy is apparently managing to bring about, particularly when one places such rhetoric in the context of the so-called “War on Terror.”

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