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''Since the middle of the twentieth century,'' writes Elizabeth Johnson, ''there has been a renaissance of new insights into God in the Christian tradition. On different continents, under pressure from historical events and social conditions, people of faith have glimpsed the living God in fresh ways. It is not that a wholly different God is discovered from the One believed in by previous generations. Christian faith does not believe in a new God but, finding itself in new situations, seeks the presence of God there. Aspects long-forgotten are brought into new relationships with current events, and the depths of divine compassion are appreciated in ways not previously imagined.''

This book sets out the fruit of these discoveries. The first chapter describes Johnson''s point of departure and the rules of engagement, with each succeeding chapter distilling a discrete idea of God. Featured are transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, ending with the particular Christian idea of the one God as Trinity.
''Since the middle of the twentieth century,'' writes Elizabeth Johnson, ''there has been a renaissance of new insights into God in the Christian tradition. On different continents, under pressure from historical events and social conditions, people of faith have glimpsed the living God in fresh ways. It is not that a wholly different God is discovered from the One believed in by previous generations. Christian faith does not believe in a new God but, finding itself in new situations, seeks the presence of God there. Aspects long-forgotten are brought into new relationships with current events, and the depths of divine compassion are appreciated in ways not previously imagined.''

This book sets out the fruit of these discoveries. The first chapter describes Johnson''s point of departure and the rules of engagement, with each succeeding chapter distilling a discrete idea of God. Featured are transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, ending with the particular Christian idea of the one God as Trinity.

Review

"In this wonderful, lucid, and challenging book, Elizabeth Johnson not only maps the frontiers of theology but critiques, synthesizes, and appropriates a range of insights to help us fruitfully and humbly expand our grasp of the Loving Mystery who is God." - M. Shawn Copeland, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College, and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America


"As Elizabeth Johnson notes, Karl Rahner had an abiding concern that much of Christian theology presented God ''unworthy of belief.'' Here Johnson has given us a God truly worthy of our belief, fidelity, and love. Every word breathes with the author''s own deep love of God, the church, and the world. Combining her usual theological sophistication with the practical wisdom that comes from a life-long commitment to the life of faith, this is theology as it should be." - Roberto S. Goizueta, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College, and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America


"It is a great act of generosity...that such an accomplished scholar would pause in her career-long project to share with us her considerable gifts as a teacher, as she does in her new book... Quest for the Living God is an invitation to its readers to explore some of our best contemporary reflections on the experience of God and topics surrounding the doctrine of God. Written in clear and accessible prose, the book avoids the technical language that peppers scholarly works intended for a professional audience, and takes pains to guide a theologically inexperienced reader through all the issues that inform a particular interpretive concern...It is rare that one finds a book that will appeal to all sorts of audiences, but Quest for the Living God is one. Professional theologians, undergraduate students and literate people of faith will enjoy all that this engaging work has to offer." -John E. Thiel, America, January 21-28, 2008
(John E. Thiel)

"In her new book, Quest for the Living God, she offers a compelling case for several important movements in modern Christian thought. She begins with Karl Rahner''s seminal investigations in the 1930s before moving on to various contemporary Christian theologies-and, finally, to the complex connections being forged between Christianity and other world religions...with her usual clarity and precision...It is just such orthodoxy, unhistorical and disembodied, that fails to reach the living God these theologians seek to recover. Elizabeth Johnson''s careful analysis reminds us how much we miss when dead birds fall from the pulpit." - Dennis O''Brien, Commonweal, April 11, 2008
(Dennis O''Brien)

"This is another splendid book by Elizabeth A. Johnson...Written primarily for intelligent lay folk, the engaging style of this review of the last 50 years of Christian theology contains Johnson''s own insights couched in smooth, economic and yet elegant language with an occasional zinger that sums up a movement or an insight. Johnson''s table of contents is a reliable outline of her book; a real help for teachers or study groups who use The Quest for the Living God as I propose to do in an upper level undergraduate research seminar this fall...Johnson lays out the richness of inter-religious dialogues and the urgency of attending to all God''s offspring, including the planet and its beautiful burden of living creatures of the sea, the skies, the earth. Theologians give them voices, point to the living Spirit of God creating an evolving world so heedlessly and recklessly squandered by its human users and abusers. The last chapter is a wonder...Johnson''s epilogue invites readers to continue the quest for the transcendent and immanent God who invites our conversations and exceeds all we can say." - Jill Raitt, Fontbonne University, Catholic Books Review (http://catholicbooksreview.org)
(Jill Raitt)

"With her characteristic generosity, Johnson surveys a range of new theological currents in the doctrine of God, showing the context in which each idea arose, the theological reasoning behind it, and its implications for spiritual and practical life. Included are chapters on transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, followed by a chapter of trinitarian reflections. Suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter." - Amy Plantinga Pauw, Christian Century, May 6, 2008 (Amy Plantinga Pauw)

"Elizabeth Johnson''s Quest for the Living God extends her generous intellectual hospitality to an intriguing array of contemporary Christian doctrines of God, welcoming voices from all over the theological map and providing a common table around which they may hear one another out and be heard with respect. In this spirit, she concludes by leaving the door open rather than closing it with a rash of final pronouncements." - Jenn Cavanaugh, Parabola, Summer 2008 (Jenn Cavanaugh)

"Johnson succeeds in emphasizing the mystery of God and the insatiability of the human quest for encountering that mystery. She illustrates this most effectively by highlighting the diversity of perspectives that fail to exhaust the mystery of God. Perhaps even more impressive than its comprehensiveness is the book''s accessibility. Johnson takes the most complex theological themes, such as divine agency and the nature of the Trinity, and makes them intelligible for an introductory level audience. I look forward to using this text in an undergraduate context, trusting that students will receive a substantive and inspiring introduction to the theologies of God." - Erin Brigham, Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2008 (Erin Brigham Anglican Theological Review)

"Johnson speaks of the quest for the living God using the Scripture text ''Like a dry and arid land so does my soul long for you, My God.'' St. Augustine experiences this in his quest for God as he stated in his confessions: ''You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.'' This is the experience one might have from this book." — Benedictines
(Janelle Maes, OSB)

"This is one of the most important and provocative books on theology to have appeared in the U.S. since Vatican II... I challenge every thinking Christian to read chapter one-they will be so energized that they will rush to go through the whole book." —Joseph Cunneen, The American Catholic (Joseph Cunneen American Catholic Studies)

"It is a great act of generosity...that such an accomplished scholar would pause in her career-long project to share with us her considerable gifts as a teacher, as she does in her new book... Quest for the Living God is an invitation to its readers to explore some of our best contemporary reflections on the experience of God and topics surrounding the doctrine of God. Written in clear and accessible prose, the book avoids the technical language that peppers scholarly works intended for a professional audience, and takes pains to guide a theologically inexperienced reader through all the issues that inform a particular interpretive concern...It is rare that one finds a book that will appeal to all sorts of audiences, but Quest for the Living God is one. Professional theologians, undergraduate students and literate people of faith will enjoy all that this engaging work has to offer." -John E. Thiel, America, January 21-28, 2008
(Sanford Lakoff)

"In her new book, Quest for the Living God, she offers a compelling case for several important movements in modern Christian thought. She begins with Karl Rahner''s seminal investigations in the 1930s before moving on to various contemporary Christian theologies-and, finally, to the complex connections being forged between Christianity and other world religions…with her usual clarity and precision…It is just such orthodoxy, unhistorical and disembodied, that fails to reach the living God these theologians seek to recover. Elizabeth Johnson''s careful analysis reminds us how much we miss when dead birds fall from the pulpit." - Dennis O''Brien, Commonweal, April 11, 2008
(Sanford Lakoff)

"This is another splendid book by Elizabeth A. Johnson…Written primarily for intelligent lay folk, the engaging style of this review of the last 50 years of Christian theology contains Johnson’s own insights couched in smooth, economic and yet elegant language with an occasional zinger that sums up a movement or an insight. Johnson’s table of contents is a reliable outline of her book; a real help for teachers or study groups who use The Quest for the Living God as I propose to do in an upper level undergraduate research seminar this fall…Johnson lays out the richness of inter-religious dialogues and the urgency of attending to all God’s offspring, including the planet and its beautiful burden of living creatures of the sea, the skies, the earth. Theologians give them voices, point to the living Spirit of God creating an evolving world so heedlessly and recklessly squandered by its human users and abusers. The last chapter is a wonder…Johnson’s epilogue invites readers to continue the quest for the transcendent and immanent God who invites our conversations and exceeds all we can say." - Jill Raitt, Fontbonne University, Catholic Books Review (http://catholicbooksreview.org)
(Sanford Lakoff)

"With her characteristic generosity, Johnson surveys a range of new theological currents in the doctrine of God, showing the context in which each idea arose, the theological reasoning behind it, and its implications for spiritual and practical life. Included are chapters on transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, followed by a chapter of trinitarian reflections. Suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter." - Amy Plantinga Pauw, Christian Century, May 6, 2008 (Sanford Lakoff)

“Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God extends her generous intellectual hospitality to an intriguing array of contemporary Christian doctrines of God, welcoming voices from all over the theological map and providing a common table around which they may hear one another out and be heard with respect. In this spirit, she concludes by leaving the door open rather than closing it with a rash of final pronouncements.” - Jenn Cavanaugh, Parabola, Summer 2008 (Sanford Lakoff)

“Johnson succeeds in emphasizing the mystery of God and the insatiability of the human quest for encountering that mystery. She illustrates this most effectively by highlighting the diversity of perspectives that fail to exhaust the mystery of God. Perhaps even more impressive than its comprehensiveness is the book’s accessibility. Johnson takes the most complex theological themes, such as divine agency and the nature of the Trinity, and makes them intelligible for an introductory level audience. I look forward to using this text in an undergraduate context, trusting that students will receive a substantive and inspiring introduction to the theologies of God.” - Erin Brigham, Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2008 (Sanford Lakoff Anglican Theological Review)

"Johnson speaks of the quest for the living God using the Scripture text ''Like a dry and arid land so does my soul long for you, My God.'' St. Augustine experiences this in his quest for God as he stated in his confessions: ''You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.'' This is the experience one might have from this book." — Benedictines
(Sanford Lakoff)

"This is one of the most important and provocative books on theology to have appeared in the U.S. since Vatican II... I challenge every thinking Christian to read chapter one-they will be so energized that they will rush to go through the whole book." —Joseph Cunneen, The American Catholic (Sanford Lakoff American Catholic Studies)

About the Author

Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., is distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University. She has received numerous awards, including the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for She Who Is (1993), the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion for Friends of God and Prophets (1999), and the Book Award of the College Theology Society for Truly Our Sister (2004). She was also the recipient of the John Courtney Murray Award of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Jerome Award of the Catholic Library Association, and the Monika K. Hellwig Award of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Mario Svigir
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
an exceptional book, devout, touching
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2015
This is an exceptional book. I would highly recommend it to anyone involved with theology, Christian spirituality, investigations of the ways God is manifested in many layers sources of folklore, rites, reflections, living faiths of many background, some more modern, other... See more
This is an exceptional book. I would highly recommend it to anyone involved with theology, Christian spirituality, investigations of the ways God is manifested in many layers sources of folklore, rites, reflections, living faiths of many background, some more modern, other more traditional. Having said that, I have to mention that this book is so liberating so it could be “a bit heavy in digestion” for someone who praises only traditional ways of dogmatically determined divinity. Professor Johnson is an extremely knowing theologian an person yet very lyrical soul since she herself is so inspired that is shows in the book and in her ability to praise and excel the works of many others, many theologians of diverse trajectories. It will give you a food for thought, especially if you are theologian yourself or you try to find a way towards reconciling many Faces of God in contemporary living globally, in the same time in devotion to the reality and the history of revealed God of Scripture in Jesus Christ of contemporary notion and presence
6 people found this helpful
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electoblaze
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not "does God exist?" But "why be interested in God?"
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2015
This book will not argue about whether or not God exists but rather, talks about why you should be interested in learning about God. They describe it as a "renewed quest for the living God" and explains the basic spirit of modern catholic theology that tries to... See more
This book will not argue about whether or not God exists but rather, talks about why you should be interested in learning about God. They describe it as a "renewed quest for the living God" and explains the basic spirit of modern catholic theology that tries to apply the bible to modern context. It should be noted that this book often conflicts with some catholic doctrine so it is not a perfect representation of officially established catholic beliefs.
6 people found this helpful
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IAPlourde
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Elizabeth is such an excellent writer that I could not put the book down ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2016
Sr. Elizabeth is such an excellent writer that I could not put the book down when I first started reading. She has such a clear way of explaining very difficult concepts. I am learning so much about topics that I thought I knew quite a bit about before. I love this book!... See more
Sr. Elizabeth is such an excellent writer that I could not put the book down when I first started reading. She has such a clear way of explaining very difficult concepts. I am learning so much about topics that I thought I knew quite a bit about before. I love this book! It''s an eye opener in many ways.My concepts about the living God have been broaden and clarified tremendously.
3 people found this helpful
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Jessica Sandoval
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Must read for everyone!
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2016
I had to buy this book for a class I was taking in undergrad. It was a VERY INTERESTING read!!!!! This book made me realize things I''ve never thought of before which was great. I definitely look at God in a different way because of this book! I liked reading all the... See more
I had to buy this book for a class I was taking in undergrad. It was a VERY INTERESTING read!!!!! This book made me realize things I''ve never thought of before which was great. I definitely look at God in a different way because of this book! I liked reading all the chapters even though we didn''t read through the entire book. I feel like everyone should read this book and they will have a different insight on religion.
6 people found this helpful
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Patrick Denevan, Oaxaca, Mexico
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
New insights
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2018
This book gives a very complete view of various beliefs about God, then gave me a number of brand new insights into old doctrines. I''m still reflecting on the new ideas I got from it.
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KDubbs
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brings God to Life
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2016
Elizabeth Johnson brings God alive in this book, in a series of challenging and insightful chapters that leave you grappling with your faith and God in the best way possible. Understanding a God with us, the trinity, etc. were all deepened through this book and she provides... See more
Elizabeth Johnson brings God alive in this book, in a series of challenging and insightful chapters that leave you grappling with your faith and God in the best way possible. Understanding a God with us, the trinity, etc. were all deepened through this book and she provides a lot of references for further readings.
4 people found this helpful
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Mark Demers
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God as the Living Symbol
Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2018
Johnson offers a glimpse into the history of Christian theology. But the look back is inspired by the contemporary need to understand what (or Who) we can reasonably believe God to be today. I particularly appreciated her discussion of the Trinity - the very heart and soul... See more
Johnson offers a glimpse into the history of Christian theology. But the look back is inspired by the contemporary need to understand what (or Who) we can reasonably believe God to be today. I particularly appreciated her discussion of the Trinity - the very heart and soul of what Christianity has understood to be the saving work of God.
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T.J.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2014
Having studied theology for four years in graduate school I didn''t know what to expect when I bought this book. Sr. Elizabeth had just won a prestigious award from her fellow nuns, and had just had some of her writing all but condemned b y the Catholic Bishops. I found her... See more
Having studied theology for four years in graduate school I didn''t know what to expect when I bought this book. Sr. Elizabeth had just won a prestigious award from her fellow nuns, and had just had some of her writing all but condemned b y the Catholic Bishops. I found her book intriguing for a number of reasons - it was written in a manner that was understandable and logical, it was written by an eminent theologian, it highlighted the impressive points of other theologians, it championed the South American Bishop''s attempt to rescue their country from tyranny - both politically and ecclesiastically. She has a command of her field and of the English languange .that is impressive, as well as the ability to see the grey between black and white. I would recommend this book to any Catholic trying to better understand their faith and religion, to any woman of faith, and to all the clergy of the churches in hopes that they might value the role of women in this world.
8 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Progfan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book for those looking for an intelligent, informed faith
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 26, 2021
Superbly written, this would be a great book for anyone who wants to re-think their understanding of God in the light of contemporary knowledge and challenges.
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johnthefrog
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mapping frontiers in the Theology of God.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2012
Quest for the Living God. An amazing book, well written and all the issues clearly explained. For a a non trained theologian this book examines all the recent movements, issues and brings to life the quest for the living God by different groups around the world. No holds...See more
Quest for the Living God. An amazing book, well written and all the issues clearly explained. For a a non trained theologian this book examines all the recent movements, issues and brings to life the quest for the living God by different groups around the world. No holds are barred with cutting comments about the frequent failure of the organized Church to support groups in their various struggles to find God in adversity. The death and resurrection of Jesus is seen as paramount in people`s struggle to make sense of their lives. My reading is not quite finished but I am looking forward to a second reading. Their is a huge reading list for those who wish to pursue various issues further. Thank you Amazon for suggesting this book as a valuable contribution to my own searh for the living God.
2 people found this helpful
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Wojtek
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 6, 2017
Great book
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Annemarie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 24, 2015
Started reading and already hooked - an extremely readable and accessible approach to some complex issues of contemporary theology. Wonderful!
One person found this helpful
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JPF
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 30, 2015
Taking a long time to digest it!
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