with Myriam Renaud, “Gordon Kaufman's Humanizing Concept of God”; Jerome P. Soneson, “The Legacy of Gordon Kaufman: Theological Method and Its Pragmatic Norms”; J. Patrick Woolley, “Kaufman's Debt to Kant: The Epistemological Importance of the ‘Structure of the World which Environs Us’”; Thomas A. James, “Gordon Kaufman, Flat Ontology, and Value: Toward an Ecological Theocentrism”; and Karl E. Peters, “A Christian Naturalism: Developing the Thinking of Gordon Kaufman.”


  • Myriam Renaud


Why should Gordon Kaufman's mid-career theological method be of renewed interest to contemporary theists? Two distinguishing characteristics of the West today are its increasing religious pluralism and the growing numbers of theists who rely on hybrid approaches to construct concepts of God. Kaufman's method is well suited to this current state of affairs because it is open to diverse religious and theological perspectives and to perspectives from science and secular humanism. It also militates against the weaknesses inherent to hybrid approaches—ad hoc constructs of God unable to motivate their holders to overcome human self-centeredness and so to contribute to the well-being and fulfillment of others. It achieves this by providing checks to reduce the risk of producing human-writ-large God-constructs. Lastly, Kaufman's method provides criteria to help theists identify humane and humanizing experiences, relationships, concepts, images, and texts (i.e., the basic material from which God-constructs are fashioned) from the plethora of options available, whether religious, cultural, or secular.