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The Rhetoric and Reception of John Milbank’s Radical Orthodoxy: Privileging Prejudice in Theology?

Paul Hedges
Published Online: 2014-09-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/opth-2014-0004


This paper uses Douglas Pratt’s typology of religious extremism and fundamentalism to argue that John Milbank’s Radical Orthodoxy employs styles of rhetoric and representation of the religious Other that have clear affinities with such ideologies. While clearly demarcating Milbank’s theology from what is normally termed fundamentalism or extremism, the paper shows that nevertheless similar rhetoric and judgements are employed that suggests that his theology is at best unhelpful, and at worst potentially dangerous. Focusing upon Milbank’s early work, the paper suggests that such rhetoric can be found through much of his writings, but notes that a different approach can be detected in his most recent writings. Suggestions for more productive modes of theological encounters with the religious Other are advanced, which suggest how the ideology of Radical Orthodoxy may be in potential sympathy with such ideas.

Keywords: John Milbank; Radical Orthodoxy; extremism; Theology of Religions; Douglas Pratt; religious Other; fundamentalism


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About the article

Received: 2014-04-29

Accepted: 2014-07-28

Published Online: 2014-09-19

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/opth-2014-0004.

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©2014 Paul Hedges. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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