The Feast of Fools: A Theological Essay on Festivity and Fantasy by Harvey CoxCoxs interpretation of contemporary culture & theology examines both the loss & reemergence of festivity & fantasy in Western culture. He evaluates both processes from a theological perspective, defining festivity as the capacity for genuine revelry & joyous celebration & defining fantasy as the faculty for envisioning radically alternative life situations. He asserts that both are vital to contemporary life & faith; both are a precondition for genuine social transformation. In a success & money-oriented society we need a rebirth of unapologetically unproductive festivity & expressive celebration. In an age that has quarantined parody & separated politics from imagination, we need a renaissance of social fantasy. Its been said that affluent Westerners have been gaining the whole world while losing their souls. In the face of this Cox affirms the necessity of a resurgence of hope, celebration, liberation & experimentation. The medieval Feast of Fools, from which hes taken his title, symbolizes both the problem & process. Centuries ago it provided an opportunity for the choirboy to play bishop & for serious townsfolk to mock the stately rituals of church & court. The eventual disappearance of the custom in the 16th century, unlamented if not welcomed by those in authority, illustrates the concerns of this controversial essay. Cox doesnt propose that a medieval practice should be revived. He does argue for a rebirth in our own cultural idiom of what was right & good about the Feast of Fools. Its likely that this book will become significant in wide circles. It speaks directly to such contemporary movements as the theology of hope, the rapidly disappearing radical theology & the theology of culture. For many it will provide a new perspective on the renewal of religious life & the secular search for religious experience. For others it will function as a window into the experimental laboratories of the underground church. For everyone its a refreshing encounter with a wholly new set of perceptive observations about the problems facing us.
Festivity : the ingredients --
Festivity and the death of God --
Fantasy : the ingredients --
Fantasy and religion --
Fantasy and utopia --
Mystics and militants --
Beyond radical theology --
A theology of juxtaposition --
Christ the harlequin
Index of Names
The Feast of Fools: A Theological Essay on Festivity and Fantasy
He has succeeded in taking another picture of the world scene-this time not Secular, but Sacred. Like Freud, he doesn't miss a thing going on in the field of view. Heavily influenced by Bonhoeffer in his Secular City, he presented a view of "religionless religion" which both encapsulated the disparate commentaries of theologians and sociologists, at the same time that it infuriated many in the same scenes. This time he mines several veins and comes up with another theological mother lode. The Divinity School on Francis Ave. Holy secularity was becoming wholly secular and the effect scared the lot of us. Not that we were afraid of incarnating Christ-the Holy Spirit beat the theologians to that one-but that the search for God's immanence could lead to His entrapment.
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Harvey Gallagher Cox Jr. Cox's research and teaching focus on theological developments in world Christianity , including liberation theology and the role of Christianity in Latin America. After a stint in the U. He went on to earn a B. Cox was ordained as an American Baptist minister in , and started teaching as an assistant professor at the Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts. He then began teaching at the Harvard Divinity School in and in became a full professor. He was to become "the single most heeded professor in religion at Harvard.