Fortress Press

Between Magisterium and Marketplace: A Constructive Account of Theology and the Church

Between Magisterium and Marketplace

A Constructive Account of Theology and the Church

Robert C. Saler (Author)


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What is the relationship of the church to theology? How does the church relate to the work of creative theological authorship, particularly when authors propose novel claims? Even more, how do ecclesial models, particularly of ecclesial authority, underwrite or authorize how theology is done? Saler takes up these challenging and provocative questions and argues for a fresh ecclesiology of the church as event, specifically as a diffusively spatialized event.
Establishing this claim through the fascinating historical encounters between thinkers like Thomas More and William Tyndale, John Henry Newman and Friedrich Schleiermacher, Between Magisterium and Marketplace provides a theological genealogy of modern ecclesiology, arguing that modern and contemporary ecclesiology is a theological contest not between Barth and Schleiermacher, but rather Newman and Schleiermacher. Constructing an alternative path, Saler turns to the work of a diverse array of authors past and present to argue for a humble yet hopeful view of the theological task in light of contemporary ecclesial opportunities. 
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451482836
  • eBook ISBN 9781451487619
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 192
  • Emerging Scholars category Theology
  • Publication Date August 1, 2014


1. Situating Authorship: Insights from Contemporary Literary Theory
2. The Rock or the Eagle?
3. Magisterium or Marketplace?
4. Authorship in Public
5.  The Church as Diffusively Spatialized Event


"In this excellent and clearly written book, Robert Saler argues that theological creativity and the authority of the church are not at odds so long as the church is understood as an event of the gospel. Saler makes his case through an argument that touches on important historical moments and decisive methodological concerns. This book is important for both those committed to a broad and energetic theological artistry and those who consider theology as a church practice."
—Gregory A. Walter
St. Olaf College

"Saler makes a persuasive case for what he calls a 'diffuse' understanding of church. He brilliantly extends Joseph Sittler's subversive ecological ecumenism, Vitor Westhelle's church as 'event,' and even Karl Barth's ecclesiology of hope, to offer a compelling alternative to authoritarian high-magisterial ecclesiologies today. With eloquence and clarity, he shows that the task of theology is truth-telling about God's redemptive work in surprising and unpredictable spaces in the world, both inside and outside the church."
—Barbara R. Rossing
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago


Review on Lutheran Confessions

Review on First Things