Kevin J. Vanhoozer’s The Drama Doctrine is by far one of the most challenging and rewarding books that I have worked through this year. In this magisterial volume, Vanhoozer wrestles with the role of doctrine in the church, interacting with insights from postmodernism and developing creative ways of speaking of the respective roles of Scripture, tradition, and theology in the life of God’s people. His controlling - and creative – motif is that of drama, articulating the role of doctrine as “direction for the Christian’s fitting participation in the drama of redemption, thus enabling one to continue the missions of the Son and the Spirit into new situations” (110).
Using George Lindbeck’s “cultural-linguistic” post-liberal approach to theology as his foil, Vanhoozer develops a “canonical linguistic” post-conservative approach. His approach to Christian doctrine integrates the insights of postmodernism (regarding the epistemological importance of community, culture, and language) while robustly maintaining historically orthodox views of Scripture and the knowledge of God. The result is a satisfying account of the importance of the church, Scripture, tradition, liturgy, and community in the Christian life, as well as the abiding value of doctrine for the church. Highly recommended!