This study concerns the relationship between theology and socio-philosophy and considers the type of dialogical theory required to articulate the meaning of salvation socially. It provides a practical route towards a theological understanding of salvation through consideration of issues raised by Hegel in "The Phenomenology of Spirit". The first part of the book outlines difficulties of faith in articulating an idea of God's salvation for the contemporary needs and goals of society, in particular, the dualism between talking of "the social" either in terms of the functions of collected individuals or as a single entity. The second part introduces critical interpretations of Hegel and his treatment of various social forms of alienation. Analysis of the text, combined with a survey of recent interpretation, provides the basis from which to discuss some of the deepest alienations of the human heart and social practice. In the third part, using analogical reasoning, the book suggests that it is possible for theology both to learn from Hegel and his interpreters, and to criticize them, considering what is inadequate in Hegel's superseding of the Christian understanding of community.
Relevant contributions from non-Christian social theorists, Jurgen Habermas, in particular, are summarized and discussed. The book concludes with implications for Christian social theory today.