I decided to read five books on play and theology. Four of them are a sort of “academic correspondence” between two theologians.
When I was in college I read Theology of Play by Jurgen Moltmann, then I read Feast of Fools by Harvey Cox. Both were hugely influential shaping my thinking about clowning as well as the intellectual and moral engagement with theology; as I gathered the books for this reading I realized they also influenced my later commitment to cultural studies and sociology of knowledge (areas in which my dissertation plays).
Much later I read Moltmann’s Theology of Hope, which is when I learned these three books (plus another by Harvey Cox, Secular City) were an “academic correspondence” between Cox and Moltmann. I also learned I had read them in the wrong order: first was Cox’ Secular City (1965), then Theology of Hope (1967), followed by Feast of Fools (1969), and finally Theology of Play (1972).
Before I re-reading all four, I’m reading Homo Ludens: a study of the play-element in culture by Johan Huizinga, a seminal work on play theory from 1938. Huizinga was a Dutch scholar now seen, along with the scholars of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory as a pioneer in cultural history / sociology of knowledge.
For me at this time, the five books together touch upon my intellectual, academic, vocational, and creative work. I’m hoping to cover each book in 2 or 3 posts spread over a couple week period.