Public Theology and ‘The Fragment’: Duncan Forrester, David Tracy, and Walter Benjamin

In: International Journal of Public Theology
William Myatt Loyola University Chicago USA

Search for other papers by William Myatt in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Public theologians as diverse as Duncan Forrester and David Tracy have pointed to ‘the fragment’ as a useful and timely form of theological reflection. This article considers the possibility of the fragmentary form for public theology by complementing the suggestions of Forrester and Tracy with Walter Benjamin’s critical philosophy of history. Benjamin’s use of the fragment as a genre of expression reflects a desire to retrieve history without perpetuating history’s oppressive tendencies. Public theologians suspicious of these tendencies would do well not only to emulate Benjamin’s fragmentary style but to understand and embrace the philosophical reflections driving it. After summarizing the turn to the fragment in Forrester and Tracy, this article continues with a consideration of Benjamin, highlighting the possibilities for liberation and critique in a public theology dependent on his philosophy.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 675 66 4
Full Text Views 242 6 1
PDF Views & Downloads 90 14 1