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The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine (Cambridge Companions to Religion) Paperback – 19 Jun 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (19 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052147695X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521476959
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 385,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Useful collection for upper-division undergraduate or graduate course." Paul Lakeland, Religious Studies Review

"...fine work..." Currents in Theology and Mission

Book Description

This book provides an accessible yet stimulating introduction for new readers and non-specialists to the main themes of Christian doctrine. The fourteen specially commissioned essays from leading theologians in Britain and America document the variety, coherence and intellectual vitality of contemporary Christian thought.

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Historical and systematic theology are disciplines concerned with the content of Christian teaching. Read the first page
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
The late Colin Gunton was instrumental in reasserting traditional Christian theology against the apparent triumph of modern "scientific" criticism. According to the Guardian's obituary, Gunton had " a vision of classical Christian theology as a credible intellectual disciplines which, far from needing to accommodate itself to modern fashions of thought, provided the resources needed to criticise them." This volume represents that vision.

Modernism succeeded in part because the pretensions of the Christian church at the time of the Enlightenment made it an easy target for iconoclasm. In exploiting this institutional weakness monotheism was replaced by pantheism which suited the emergent secular age but collapsed with the cultural crises arising from the two world wars, the imposition of Communism on Eastern Europe and the faithfulness and intransigence of believers. Into this vacuum stepped Karl Barth who developed a systematic theology which Gunton himself described as, "a great and liberating testimony to the grace and goodness of the God of the Bible".

This collection of essays discusses in depth a variety of specific doctrinal issues, especially that of the Trinity, both in substance and historical development. Questions of creation, redemption and eschatology are all examined as examples of God's plan for the world, from beginning to end. The contributors are from a variety of Christian traditions which in itself provides testament to the reuniting of doctrine fractured by past divisions.

This is not an easy volume for non theologians to understand. However, a number of themes are apparent. The notion that Christianity provides a "God of the Gaps" in an attempt to fill in "scientific" knowledge is a false one. God encompasses everything.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Each chapter deals with a seperate issue and the book is clear and easy to read. It is a must-have for any theology student learing about Christian doctrine. It tells you something about the history of the debates, the modern status of the debates, important thinkers for each debate, and so on. It is not a comprehensive textbook but a very useful, clear, concise supplement to other reading on Christian Doctrine.
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By Arby63 on 23 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
interesting book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding collection 12 Jun. 2002
By "medpow" - Published on
Format: Paperback
Simply put, The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine is an outstanding collection of essays by leading theologians and serves well as an introduction to contemporary trends in Christian theology. The authors are generally more conservative--postliberal or evangelical--and offer stimulating constructive and historical essays regarding Christian theology in general and the traditional doctrines.
I use the text in a graduate level intro. course to compliment another standard text in systematic theology, giving the student another brief perspective on contemporary Christian theology. Readers with some background in philosophy or theology will find it extremely useful, but those with no philosophical or theological background may be a little overwhelmed (consider Alister McGrath's "Christian Theology: An Introduction" instead).
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
New wine, new wineskins 19 Mar. 2004
By Kerry Walters - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An earlier, self-described "very conservative evangelical" reviewer criticized the essays in this collection for their "questionable" liberal conclusions. It's curious how different people can read the same text and arrive at different conclusions. My own reading of this anthology is that the essays strive (perhaps overly much, in fact) to stay in the middle of the road. Few people would describe Robert Jenson or Stanley Hauerwas, two of the contributors, as "liberal" theologians. They're certainly adventurous and prophetic, but also utterly orthodox (this isn't meant, by the way, as criticism).
Perhaps what displeased the earlier reviewer is this: _The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine_ takes as its working assumption the need of doctrinal theology to walk a fine line between remaining loyal to tradition on the one hand and re-thinking that tradition in light of each new generation's experience on the other. In the West, we've moved out of the modern into the postmodern era. Modernist modes of interpreting Christian doctrine cry to be replaced with newer ones that reflect the new postmodern ethos. Otherwise, the Good News runs the risk of coming across as increasingly irrelevant to too many people. The contributors to this volume aim to read traditional doctrine against this new background.
The essays are divided into two sections. The first deals with the nature and scope of doctrinal theology and its relationship to nonChristian traditions (Judaism) and the symbols of secular society (the arts). The second examines several key topics traditionally included in doctrinal or systematic theology: the trinity, creation, anthropology, sacraments, Christology, pneumatology, eschatology.
Geoffrey Wainwright's essay on "The Holy Spirit" is especially noteworthy. Perhaps the single best essay in the entire collection, it seeks to reawaken the West to theological reflection on the Holy Spirit without falling victim to a "pneumatological hypertrophy" characteristic of, for example, Pentecostalism (p. 289). Equally worthy of note is Gerard Loughlin's "The Basis and Authority of Doctrine," which attempts a postmodern reading of that most un-postmodern of doctrines: authority. But although of varying quality, none of the articles in the collection are heavy-handed or simplistic. There are certain gaps in the collection--the editor himself seems uncomfortable that no essay explicitly dealing with the topics of justification and sanctification is included, and on a related note, I worry about the lack of a sustained treatment of grace. But all in all, a good, through-provoking anthology.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Introductory Essays 14 April 2012
By Jonathan M. Platter - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gunton was a great theologian. His own works are powerful and encourage one to take the Trinity and the doctrine of creation with great seriousness. As an editor, he does not disappoint. Here, he compiled essays by prominent theologians on the major doctrinal areas of Christian theology: method, ethics, culture, art, trinity, creation, redemption, ecclesiology, human nature, etc. Surprising to me was the essay on Christianity and the arts, in which Jeremy Begbie asked that Christian art offer an image of redemption.

None of the essays were less than excellent and all of them are a great place to start in investigating these areas in Christian theology. Also valuable for students, at the end of each essay is included suggestions for further reading.

Mostly a valuable resource and introduction for students, but should be valuable to any level of theologian.
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