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Cover for Nothing Gained Is Eternal

Nothing Gained Is Eternal

A Theology of Tradition

Anne M. Carpenter


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In the decades since the declaration of the end of history, the West has been reminded time and again that history is not yet done with us. Time marches on, but the past keeps pace. The twin questions at the heart of the last two hundred years of philosophy and theology--What is history? What is tradition?--are more pressing now than when they were first posed. While most answers to these questions are methodological and descriptive, Nothing Gained Is Eternal presents an answer both theological and theoretical, an answer rooted in action, memory, and freedom.

Drawing on the thought of some of the brightest lights of the twentieth century, such as Bernard Lonergan, Charles P guy, Maurice Blondel, and Hans Urs von Balthasar, Anne M. Carpenter argues for a new theory of tradition. It is a theory firmly moored to the ambiguities, contradictions, and varied fruits of the past. Carpenter shows ressourcement to be a way not only of retrieving the past but of making moral judgments about both a former age and our own. The resulting account of tradition pushes back against sentimental and triumphalist interpretations of Christian patrimony.

Yet, this work also identifies the ways in which theology's turn to history is incomplete and confronts its own theory of tradition with decolonial criticism. Carpenter challenges readers to wrestle with whether tradition can persist when its colonialist practices are brought to light. And in asking this question, she offers hope for transforming the life of tradition in its wake.

Fortress Press, 9781506471730, 242pp.

Publication Date: September 13, 2022