ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, www.isi.org) was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of Andreas' Kinneging's new book, The Geography of Good and Evil. Thanks ISI. I am working on two writing projects that come to mind as I read the Preface to the book.
In the Preface Kinneging briefly traces his path to discovering the insights of the Christian tradition as we wrestle with the question of modernity. He writes that he once "firmly believed in the blessings of modernity and its intellectual sources," but over time came to believe that "what the Enlightenment and Romanticism brought us constitutes in more than a few respects a decline and a deterioriation, instead of progress and improvement" (p. vii). And Kinneging had for a time considered traditional Christianity "a regression, a spiritual barbarism that remained unconquered until the Renaissance brought a rebirth of true wisdom" (p. viii). But then there was a shift for Kinneging, and here how he describes it:
"I now came to believe that Christianity possessed an understanding of certain essential moral and existential truths that had eluded the Greeks and Romans--even Plato--and that these truths cannot be forgotten without doing great harm to ourselves and to the world. Hence, I came to admire Christianity as an indispensable source of wisdom that can benefit anyone--even the most inveterate atheist--as long as one does not, like Luther, demand and exclusively literal interpretation of the Bible but reads it metaphorically and philosophically as well. Thinkers no less than Augustine and Aquinas did that. Why shouldn't we?" (p. viii).
We traditional Christians may want to tease out a bit what Kinneging has in mind in his slant on Luther, but this is nonetheless a provocative and fascinating introduction to his book.