Boundaries of Our Habitations

Tradition and Theological Construction

By Delwin Brown

Subjects: Theology
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791419663, 232 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791419656, 232 pages, July 1994

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Table of contents


Introduction: Cicero's Consent

1 Tecumseh, Torahs, and Christs

Tecumseh's Response

Torah's Conclusion

Christs and Christianities

Two Conclusions, Ten Hypotheses

2 Mediating the Past and Present

Interpreting Gadamer

Playing and Being-Played

Grounding the Life of Language

3 Culture and Canon

What Theories are and do


In Defense of Canon

4 Canon, Chaos and Order

What Canons are and do


In Defense of Ritual

5 Imagination and Character

In Defense of Constructive Historicism

Contemporary Theology

What Theolgies are and do

Theology's Consent




Brown's theory of tradition stands on its own as a significant contribution to the academic study of religions, but it also provides the framework for a challenging critique of contemporary American theologies—conservative, liberal, and radical — and the basis for a novel understanding of the significance of the racial/ethnic, feminist, and class-identified theologies now emerging.

Delwin Brown is Harvey H. Potthoff Professor of Christian Theology at the Iliff School of Theology.


"I love the way this book provides an important corrective to liberal theology from within by a prominent participant. It is beautifully written, holding one's attention while presenting some profound theories. This could be a breakthrough book, because it restores tradition to its proper place as formative of all of our lives and, as such, could reform liberalism and also challenge the conservative appeal to canon and tradiiton. It is an ecumenically important statement that will attract some evangelical readers like myself. " — Clark H. Pinnock, McMaster Divinity College

"It is a well-written exploration of the character and function of religious traditions with primary attention given to the implications for theology. Drawing upon recent work in various fields regarding the nature of culture, canon, and ritual, Brown makes a persuasive case for the traditioned character of human life and the form of theology most appropriate to it. His defense of a 'constructive historicist' theology is very convincing and helps to expose both the strengths and limitations of a variety of contemporary theologies, including conservative, liberal and radical forms.

"The work is useful in two quite different ways. On the one hand, it is important in its own right in terms of the type of theology that it identifies and defends. It is also useful for the review of current literature regarding the nature of ritual, cultures, and canons. " — Linell E. Cady, Arizona State University

"The whole debate concerning post-liberal theology is cast in entirely new light by the creative dimension in tradition that Brown elucidates in this work. The discussion of canon and its interrelationship with tradition is particularly impressive. Brown adds a dynamism which is particularly welcome in the understanding of canon and tradition which will undoubtedly provoke much discussion in theology as well as hermeneutics. " — Morny Joy, University of Calgary