The Sixth Degree

Two miles, six degrees, dark skies, a positive pace, overall a decent morning run.

Yesterday or the day before, Alan Jacobs posted his approval and challenge to Brad East, concerning Brad’s straightforward use of “culture’ in a treatment of H. Richard Niebuhr’s famous typology. Alan would require a more robust, critical analysis of ‘culture’ in any treatment of Niebuhr’s topic. In this, he chimes in with the work many of us did in graduate seminars with Stan Hauerwas and Ken Surin (not so odd-sounding a combination then as it may sound now). Stanley mostly reminded us that there’s no such thing as a typology without a concealed ideology, though he also insisted on a more nuanced approach to culture; Ken insisted that there’s nothing without ideology, and led us into the intricate byways, intersections, pitfalls, and illuminating flashes of insight afforded by critical theory, and especially Raymond Williams (whom Alan also cites and discusses) (in this regard, I thank Ken again for his helpful contribution on ‘Culture’ in the Handbook to Postmodern Biblical Criticism).

So, yes to Alan and yes to Stan and yes, and thanks, to Ken. If you want to talk about culture, hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest what Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, and numerous others have had to say about the topic.

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