Shults' "Postfoundationalist Task of Theology" represents a foot-in-the-door to cutting edge theology today. As Pannenberg himself has expressed, Shults' scholarship is sound and offers his audience thorough research munificent with keen insights, and is constructively refreshing for those who wish to move beyond the traps yet remaining from an era of scholastic proliferation. Is Shults a contemporary bellwether? Well in some ways it appears that this may increasingly become the case. As opposed to the all-too-typical and soporific work published by some scholars which tends to simply repeat itself as a method of argumentation, Shults is just beginning to make a strong case at the outset of his budding career as a theologian in opting for the adoption of an interdisciplinarian methodology which seeks the input of a wide variety of fields of study. For this reason, his scholarship should have lasting significance as it engages a mosaic of intellectual disciplines, while seeking to integrate the vast array of intuitions found therein. Although Shults already deserves recognition as a prolific author relative to his age given his publications in journals, books chapters, etc., this is his first published book, but one which clearly portends promising and exciting scholarship to come.
This important theological work is one of the best interdisciplinary achievements that I have read in recent years. Shults argues forcefully for a public, interdisciplinary theology and in so doing links together the different domains of theological and philosophical reflection by moving on the cutting edge of contemporary theories of rationality.
Shults accomplishes this major task by taking on the theology of prominent German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg as a case study for dialogue with a very diverse and pluralist contemporary North American theology. In this dynamic process he creatively revisions the theology of Pannenberg and places it in a challenging postfoundationalist dialogue with theology in this country. Shults delivers a major contribution to postfoundationalist thought by carefully developing the idea that all theological thought is deeply embedded in tradition and interpreted experience, while at the same time reaching out to contemporary culture in interdisciplinary and transcultural conversation. In doing this Shults takes very seriously the challenge of constructive postmodernism as well as theology's enduring obligation to public withness, argument, and testimony.
This book is a must-read for all philosophical and systematic theologians: not only is the theology of Pannenberg revisioned to become a true dialogue partner for North American theologians, but the vitality of a postfoundationalist rethinking of the task of theology points to new and exciting developments for theology in this country. Very strongly recommended.