Authors Christopher R. Baker & Elaine Graham (eds.)
Publisher SCM £30
The book is subtitled ‘John Atherton and the future of public theology’. Atherton, who died in 2016, was for many years at the forefront of the dialogue between religion and public policy, particularly economic policy. He was noted for being one of those rare theologians with a real grasp of modern economic theory and stood out as one who argued for a transformation of capitalism by showing how Christian doctrines such as redemption and reconciliation have much to say about morality in economics. This is in contrast to others such as Stanley Hauerwas who argues from a more radical position that capitalism is inherently flawed, and an alternative should be sought. Atherton was particularly interested in globalisation and its effects on all areas of life, and the importance of involving religion (not just Christianity) in the consideration of what makes for the well-being of humanity as a whole. This book is probably of most interest to students of social ethics, but would also interest anyone concerned with the intersection of theology and public institutions. It contains a number of interesting chapters, all very different, reflecting the breadth of Atherton’s thinking and influence.