Though it depresses me somewhat to realize it, it was now close to two decades ago when I discovered the leading light of what came, in the 1990s, to be called the "Radical Orthodoxy" movement: John Milbank. Indeed, I flew down to the University of Virginia, where he was briefly a professor, to interview with him and ask him to direct my doctoral dissertation there. But he quickly repaired back to England after 9/11, and that was the end of that. Still, his book Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason, which was originally published in 1990, has remained a hugely influential work, worth the price of admission for its ringing opening line alone: "Once, there was no 'secular'."
He has returned to that theme and those arguments over the years in various articles, and now in a forthcoming book: Beyond Secular Order: The Representation of Being and the Representation of the People (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), 298pp. About this book we are told:
Beyond Secular Order is the first of a two-volume work that expands upon renowned theologian John Milbank’s innovative attempt to understand both theology and modern thought begun in his previously published classic text Theology and Social Theory. Highlights:
- Continues Milbank’s innovative attempt to understand both theology and modern thought begun in Theology and Social Theory – considered a classic work in the development of systematic theology
- Authored by one of the world’s most influential and highly regarded contemporary theologians
- Draws on a sweep of ideas and thinkers to argue that modern secularism is a form of Christian heresy that developed from the Middle Ages and can only be overcome by a renewed account of Christendom
- Shows how this heresy can be transformed into a richer blend of religion, modernity and politics
- Reveals how there is a fundamental homology between modern ideas about ontology and knowledge and modern ideas about political action, expressed in both theory and practice