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Jens Zimmermann: Incarnational Humanism

If there were a weakness in the book to highlight, it would be that Zimmermann has also recommended an unrealizable dream. He urges the abandonment of pluralism (and European heterogeneous sociality) and to replace it solely with a Christian realism as the right way to conceive and develop human sociality (pp. 280-281). To be clear, he does not argue that the remaking of society could only be accomplished when the world converts to Christ (p, 279). He reprimands evangelical subcultures for retreating from secular culture and for promulgating sectarian subcultures that not only contradict God’s will of incarnational humanism but that also replicate the culture (and the worst of the culture) they have critiqued (p. 278). However, to call society to abandon the reality of pluralism and heterogeneous sociality is unwittingly a project that affirms the superiority of a particular group in society over and above all others. In a global world of civilizations, the proposal to abandon pluralism would not be warmly received, and would be subjected to severe criticism for perpetuating disrespect, intolerance, and incivility, and for going against the incarnate humanistic vision Zimmermann would fight so hard to defend in this volume under review. Here, we can only hope that a sequel would clarify this puzzling aspect of an already remarkable piece of work. Perhaps here, I wonder if this is a hint to an oeuvre that Zimmermann is developing, further to his contributions to theological hermeneutics, and now philosophical and theological anthropology.

Reviewed by Timothy Lim Teck Ngern

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About the Author: Timothy Teck Ngern Lim, M.Div. (BGST, Singapore), Ph.D. (Regent University), is a Visiting Lecturer for London School of Theology and Research Tutor for King's Evangelical Divinity School (London). He is on the advisory board of One in Christ (Turvey) and area book review editor for Evangelical Review of Society & Politics. He is an evangelical theologian ordained as a Teaching Elder with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has published in ecclesiology, ecumenical theology, and interdisciplinarity. A recent monograph published entitled Ecclesial Recognition with Hegelian Philosophy, Social Psychology, and Continental Political Theory: An Interdisciplinary Proposal (Brill, 2017).

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