A New Great Story

A New Great Story

Don Cupitt, Polebridge Press, $32.95

Those familiar with Harvey Cox’s latest book The Future of Faith will know he describes three phases in the development of Christian belief: the Age of Faith, the Age of Belief, and the Age of the Spirit.

Cupitt’s book, not his latest as he is such a prolific writer, traces a similar journey.  From a time when Western Christianity propounded its Grand Narrative — a great cosmic story of Creation, Fall and Redemption (fatally damaged by Galileo and later astronomers and historians of human origins) — to now, when a new Great Story is emerging where the focus is not on Christ or Christology, but on the teachings of the one named Jesus of Nazareth, to bring about the “highest good”.

His thesis is spelled out in 14 short chapters under such headings as: The Uses of “God”; In the Beginning; Mediated Religion; Religious Thought and the Making of Mankind, and The Highest Good. While not always an easy read, Cupitt has a brilliant encyclopaedic mind.

He is a Life Fellow and former Dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. And long been regarded as the “radical” or “atheistic” priest. Philosophically, he is a stalwart “non-realist”.

A frequent broadcaster, mainly for the BBC, he has made three TV series, one of which, The Sea of Faith, also gave rise to a book and to an international network of radical Christians, which is now established in Australia and New Zealand.

Rex A. E. Hunt

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