Over the years, I have taken on post-modern theologians on a number of occasions. Their student dutifully (and I mean that sincerely – the student has a duty to defend those who have instructed him in what he believes) spring into action, and the conversation always goes something like this:
Post-modern Theologian did not say what you are claiming.
Yes, they did, here are the words which clearly say that.
One of two things then happens. They argue either:
1) The words do not mean what they clearly mean.
2) I am taking the words out of context, which context is them saying the words in the very sense in which I take them.
This makes dialogue with post-modern theologians difficult. And it’s why I prefer to engage with theologians that are not post-modern. And why I get accused of being short-sighted. Because I generally don’t care for theologians of the moment. Too much dross. I prefer to engage those whose writings have stood through a few years and are still seen as valuable. Too much of what is written is so time-bound that is serves no purpose even ten years later. By waiting 50 or 100 years, you can see what has lasting value, what has some sort of timelessness to what is written.
As for post-modern theologians, I appreciate that they drive me ever more to the great heritage we have in the church – the Fathers.