This book reads Ernest Becker both as a prophet of modernity and as a sensitive observer of its decline. Situated within the disciplinary approach of 'theology of culture,' the book discerns in dialogue with Becker the contours of modern vision in its depth-dimension. Taking note of Becker's works as a whole, it identifies the two master images of human existence―homo poeta and homo heroica―which articulate this dimension, situating them in scholarly debate and comparing and relating them to the contemporary situation. From the assertion of power over the world to powerlessness and resignation in the face of the world, Becker's vision discloses modernity as tragic. The work then retrieves Becker as a marginal figure for marginal times, ending with an assertion that renewal waits on the other side of letting go the vision of human dominance characterizing modernity. Co-published with the Institute for Christian Studies.
Dr. Stephen W. Martin is a professor of Theology at The King's University.