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Purpose and Providence


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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction: something lost and found 1. Mapping meaning and purpose: a brief history of ideas 2. Loss, love and recovery: a literary story 3. Purpose and providence in theology: roots and developments of a core belief 4. Some theological re-imaginings 5. Credibility in scripture, experience, praxis Conclusion: providence lost - or regained? Bibliography Index

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Vernon White discusses the persistence of purpose in Western thought and its theological expression in doctrines of providence

About the Author

Vernon White is Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey and a Visiting Professor in Theology, King's College London, UK.


White's book is both sensitive and intelligent, resting on wide reading and thoughtful interpretation. * Times Literary Supplement *
We are guided sure-footedly across the terrain which opens before us in this book, with clarity, economy and strength of expression. ... This is a most welcome and helpful book on these themes [of purpose and providence] as well as a substantial achievement of theological reflection. * Theological Book Review *
This is a brave book that begs a response from the poets. * Theology *
A charmingly lucid and stimulating account of an often enigmatic doctrine ... Purpose and Providence is an engaging read and White's prose is elegant ... Essential reading for anyone with an academic interest in the doctrine of providence. * Regent's Reviews *
A fascinating exploration of the search for meaning in Western culture ... This impressive book is characterised by patient and subtle exposition of complex and challenging material ... The study also has the virtue of great clarity and ... is written in a way that is accessible to those readers who are not professional theologians but who remain haunted by questions of meaning, transcendence and reason. * The Glass *
This is a rich and attractive exploration. Vernon White is serious about attending to the texture of modern experience, and facing up to the loss of earlier forms of confidence in providence. He supports this with a wide range of soundings in intellectual history, literature, and theology. Above all, he then offers a complex but compelling call to Christians to retrieve the kind of figural imagination that will enable them to live in the world in the light of God's providence. * Mike Higton, University of Durham, UK *
Elliptical, haunting, and finely written. Particularly noteworthy is how White juxtaposes a sense of loss with a sense of the need for a retrieval of some view of providence. This book can only do good for the reputation of theological thinking. It is an outstanding reflective piece of work on the subject. * Keith Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity, Emeritus, University of Oxford, UK *
All in all, Purpose and Providence provides high-quality, fair-minded and wide-ranging commentary on historic and contemporary proposals for conceiving providence. White strikes gold, however, in bringing the conceptuality and insights of textual hermeneutics to bear on the doctrine of providence ... White's pioneering contribution is remarkable and deserves to be greatly appreciated. All who may wish to go further in making sense and speaking of God's providence in the world are in his debt. * International Journal of Systematic Theology *

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