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Christian Theology: An Introduction [Paperback]

Alister E. McGrath
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Jan 2001 0631225285 978-0631225287 3rd Revised edition
This is a completely revised and updated edition of one of the leading introductions to Christian theology. Assuming no previous knowledge, it introduces readers to the main ideas and key debates, as well as to the leading thinkers who have influenced Christian thinking over the last two thousand years.

  • Provides an excellent introduction to the basics of Christian theology, assuming no previous knowledge of the subject.
  • Outlines and explains all the main ideas and key debates that have influenced Christian theology, and identifies and explores the work of leading thinkers.
  • Introduces basic vocabulary, explains all technical terms, and translates every Latin, Greek and German word or phrase.
  • Includes a special section on ′Theological Resources on the Internet′ and a dedicated web site linked to this book.
  • Written in a clear, straightforward and easily accessible style.
  • A comprehensive, one–stop, freestanding, and fully cross–referenced volume on Christian theology.
  • The Christian Theology Reader, also by McGrath, is designed as a helpful accompaniment to this book.

More details on the third edition of Christian Theology: An Introduction can be found on the accompanying website at

Product details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3rd Revised edition edition (18 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631225285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631225287
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 17.3 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"This book is an extraordinary achievement, a tour de force which will introduce thousands of students to theology as a discipline with a rich heritage, a clear sense of its own methods and norms, and an elusive yet articulate understanding of Christian language." Reviews in Religion and Theology (of the previous edition)

"This publication is a seminal text for the student or teacher of Christian Theology. Its readability and general presentation make it a very accessible text for those with a general interest in this area of academic endeavour. In essence this is a text which would be a useful and valuable resource for the teacher or student of theology. For school–based practitioners it is a very sound teacher reference text. It contains in one volume a very thorough treatment of the key developments in Christian Theology over the past 2000 years." Religious Education Journal of Australia

"At this time when the interest in Christianity has become global and new interpretations are on the horizon, it is good to come across a scholar who is dedicated to the teaching of Theology worldwide to let us all see for ourselves what the great western thinkers said in the past. Having successfully used McGrath’s Introduction to Christian Theology, I am pleased to see a reader of this kind allowing for the teaching of a more advanced courses where primary sources make a difference." Isabel Mukonyora, Western Kentucky University

From the Back Cover

Christian Theology: An Introduction is internationally acknowledged to be among the leading textbooks in Christian theology. This new edition retains all of the highly acclaimed features of the first two editions, whilst incorporating important new material. Using clear and accessible language, the text assumes no prior knowledge of Christian theology, introducing the key ideas, debates, personalities, and schools of thought, clearly and accurately.

The third edition has been developed in response to feedback from users. Material relating to Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology have been added, as well as additional illustrative material. Some chapters have also been restructured to allow for easier study. Part II has been expanded and rearranged to allow the inclusion of additional material relating to philosophical theology. Bibliographies have been expanded and updated for every chapter.

Avoiding any form of denominational or theological bias, this essential textbook provides full coverage of the first 2,000 years of Christian theological debate, including substantial coverage of historical theology, philosophical theology, and systematic theology. An extensive glossary of theological terms is included, as well as an updated guide to theological resources on the Internet.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Anyone who thinks about the great questions of Christian theology soon discovers that many of them have already been addressed. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough introduction 1 Feb 2004
This is one of the best single-volume broad-scope introductions to Christian theology available today. Currently in its second edition, it will most likely have more editions, and there are frequent reprintings of the edition as it continues to be a field-specific best seller in the English speaking academic and seminary communities.
One of the things that makes this book such a useful text for teaching, reference and study is that is contains three primary sections that deal with the foundation issues of all subsequent Christian theology: one must be aware of the history and what has been done before; one must know the how, where and why of theology; and one must have a basic outline, pattern or understanding from which to begin.
Landmarks: Periods, Themes, and Personalities
The pattern of historical development on Christianity is presented in a fairly objective manner by McGrath. He deals with a broad overview of the major periods, looking at key theological developments as well as key persons, events and geographic groupings and distinctions. Most chapters follow the same pattern of setting out a clarification of terms, a brief overview historically, a presentation of key theologians, an examination of key theological developments, a section on key names, word and phrases, and a section of questions and further suggested readings.
The Patristic Period is the time of the Church Fathers, post-apostolic but while 'the world' was still a Roman world. Key in this period is the fixing of creedal formulations of doctrine, the establishment of the biblical canon, and various issues of church, grace, and tradition. Key figures McGrath highlights are Justin Martyr, Ireneaus of Lyon, Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Augustine.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful introductory overview of theology 4 Mar 2002
This is a key text for those wishing to have a clear academic introduction to Theology. I found it especially useful whilst studying A-level theology. Its depth of information contained was sufficient to what I needed to write essays etc. At degree level, it is a little on the basic side, but yet it still provides an initial overview of subjects to be covered at depth. For this reason, it might be helpful for those considering commencing academic study in theology, to see what they are letting themselves in for!
The questions at the end of the chapters provide a useful means to consolidate information read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction and overview 16 Feb 2006
By A Customer
I found this book to be exactly what I was looking for - an unbiased, comprehensive introduction to Christian theology that I could actually understand! Having read some other so-called "Introductions", I was wary about this one. So often they turn out to be unintelligible, or just an excuse for the writer to promote his own views or ride his own hobbyhorses. McGrath made me feel like a genius. Every idea was clearly explained. I bought this book after a friend had recommended it, and was really pleased that I did. I gather that a new edition (fourth) is due next year, and hope that this will continue the excellent tradition of the previous editions. This is a great book for anyone who, like me, wanted to learn about theology. It left me wanting to know more and go further!
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