The much discussed notion of postliberal theology developed from the writings of two theologians at Yale University, Hans Frei and George Lindbeck. In The Trial of the Witnesses, Paul J. DeHart provides a thorough analysis and critique of postliberal theology, beginning with an examination of the intellectual context of Frei and Lindbeck's thought and the controversies to which their work has given rise. The book scrutinizes the dogmatic underpinnings of Frei and Lindbeck's understandings of theology and investigates the key concepts taken from their work which have been used to construct the idea of postliberalism. The author finds the sharp opposition between "revisionist" and "postliberal" modes of theology conceptually incoherent and misleading. He argues that the contributions of both Frei and Lindbeck are distorted by the prevalent tendency to interpret them through these categories. In conclusion, he outlines an alternative understanding of Christian faith and its cultural transactions, and a different configuration of the task of theology, which together enable him to reconceptualize these thinkers' contributions to contemporary theological discussion.
Paul J. DeHart is Associate Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School. His first book, Beyond the Necessary God, appeared in 2000.