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3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books; New edition edition (3 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570753113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570753114
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,042,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The period of the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century is increasingly being called postmodern. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book 19 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Jesus Symbol of God' by Roger Haight is an excellent work for those looking for truth on the first era of Christians. I used the book with others like 'Only One True God' by T.French to complete my dissertation;'Trinity and monotheism.a submission for Oneness of God'. The Language of 'Jesus Symbol of God' is easy to read and understand .Although I do not totally agree with the author's position but I found a lot of foundational beliefs upon which to base my arguments to show that the first Christians identified Jesus-Christ as God.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Much of interest here 25 Dec 2013
This volume is a magisterial survey of Christology from biblical times to the present, filled with useful summaries of a wide array of complex and difficult issues. It is a helpful reference for students, pastors and teachers - even for those who may disagree with Haight's conclusions. Haight's goal is an ecumenical re-interpretation of Christian faith in a postmodern world saturated with historical consciousness and cultural and religious pluralism. Haight approaches Christology 'from below,' beginning with Jesus of Nazareth as a human figure and concluding with a 'high' Christology which affirms his divinity. Though he acknowledges the legitimacy of both 'Logos' and 'Spirit' Christologies, Haight considers the latter more in harmony with contemporary sensibilities.

In considering the relation between Jesus and other religious traditions, Haight proposes a pluralistic theology which sees all religions as mediations of God's salvation. Though he asserts the universal normativity of the revelation of God in Jesus, he also recognizes the validity of other major religious traditions. Much of Haight's analysis can thus be applied to the world's theistic traditions, Haight seeing faith as 'a universal form of human experience' that 'entails an awareness of and loyalty to an ultimate or transcendent reality,' and claiming that 'all authentic and lasting religious experiences display the character of having been given gratuitously by God.'

That the author has got into trouble with the Catholic Church is for me an additional bonus. For anyone with an open mind, this work has much that is most useful for the future of serious theology (as opposed to those preferring a 'batten down the hatches' apologetics).
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not again 2 April 2007
Will 19th century liberal Protestantism not just die already? Once again Haight fans the dying embers of Harnack's project. Modern man can't believe in resurrection and so the resurrection must have been a symbol for the early Christians experience of of resurrection in Jesus. Modern people can't believe in incarnation and so the divinity of Jesus must have been a symbol for the early Christians experience of God in Christ.

Of course modern man doesn't seem to have any problem with believing in a God who creates the universe, just that this God incarnating himself seems to be a bridge too far? Strange. And of course the early Christians must also be in on the joke, or at leats must be incapable of expressing the difference between something being a symbol of something and something actually being that thing. Or otherwise they all must have been affected by a collective neurosis after the death of Jesus?

Either way this is one more imperialist reading of the past not being able to see past tehir mythology until we oh so clever moderns arrive. And now we need to translate their idiocy to make it believable?

Haight and co should just develop the courage to stop being Christians instead of trying to hammer Christianity in the outdated conceptual framework they can believe in.

Haight is towards the end of a dying breed, Catholics who became liberal protestants after vatican II. This book represents the death rattle of this tradition. It's bound to Enlightenment concepts which just don't sell anymore.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars avoid! 5 July 2008
By Lego Man TOP 500 REVIEWER
''The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, after careful study, has judged that the book Jesus Symbol of God, by Father Roger Haight S.J., contains serious doctrinal errors regarding certain fundamental truths of faith.''

This book is one to avoid. You can read the notification by searching the following on Google:

Notification on the book
"Jesus Symbol of God"
by Father Roger Haight S.J.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
95 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best available scholarly survey of contemporary Christology 31 Aug 2000
By Hugo Schwyzer - Published on Amazon.com
Let me qualify my title for this review by saying that I am not a trained theologian! This book was recommended to me by my (Episcopal) priest, as I had asked him for something scholarly yet still reasonably accessible which could help me further "understand my own understanding" of Jesus Christ. Though I am not a Catholic, I think Haight's work has appeal for all Christians, from Catholics to mainlines to Evangelicals. I confess that I have only read about 2/3rds of the text (it is weighty), but I have been challenged and inspired by each chapter. Haight does a superb job of discussing the ways in which Jesus has been understood in other, non-western cultures. For an evangelical Anglican, it is not always easy to understand what Christ means in an Asian, or African, or South American context. We proclaim Christ to be universal -- but how Jesus, as symbol of God is understood in other cultures is not necessarily how He is understood by prosperous, over-educated Britons and Americans!
This is the sort of text I intend to have on my bedside table for a long time -- read in small snippets (I digest slowly), I know it will continue to provoke and inspire, and, it is to be hoped help me to clarify my own ongoing relationship with Christ.
62 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christology for a New Millenium 31 July 2001
By Timothy A. Griffy - Published on Amazon.com
Who and what is Christ in a world that finds past formulations of belief unintelligible or irrelevant? What does salvation mean today? Where does Jesus fit in our pluralistic society? How should Christianity deal with other religions? Roger Haight suggests some answers in this insightful work.
In order for Christianity to remain meaningful, it has to adapt to differing times and circumstances, Haight argues. This book is therefore a modern apologetic; that is, it explains the faith in terms of the dominant culture. It focuses on christology, the study of Christ's relationship to God and man. For Haight, a christology must follow certain criteria, including fidelity to Christian tradition, ability to speak to the modern world, and how it empowers the Christian life.
Haight uses most of the book to construct the foundations for the "constructive christology" of the final part. The first part contains introductory chapters on what christology is and how to go about the task. The next two parts are concerned with analyzing the New Testament and historical approaches to Christology. In his analysis of these sources, Haight makes some things clear about the way christology should be done.
The most important is the sources need to be analyzed critically. Merely citing a biblical text, creed, or a theologian simply will not do. A text is never self-evident; using it always implies a method of interpretation. Citing a text without divulging the hermeneutical method will render a theology unintelligible to anyone outside a small circle. Such usage also implies a uniformity throughout history that is not there. Traditional sources are a result of historical processes, and originally spoke to a given time and audience. Simply bringing those sources forward without considering these factors distorts the text, notably by failing to recognize the pluralism that characterizes christology through the ages.
Next, any christology needs to be grounded in the historical Jesus of Nazareth. It was this human being in whom his disciples experienced God, and it is to this human being we must turn to find out why. Appropriately, Haight surveys several models of the historical Jesus put forward today by historians. From this, he abstracts common themes from this research which appear to have some consensus.
Finally, christology cannot be separated soteriology (theology of salvation). Haight believes soteriology has always determined the christology of any given biblical writer or theologian. This is the assertion I found most enlightening. In retrospect, this should have been obvious, but for me it was a revelation. What does Christ save us from and why? Answer those questions, and the nature of Christ in relation to God and man becomes almost self-evident.
The analysis of the sources, especially historical Jesus research, serves other purposes besides laying the foundation for his christology. Historically, christology has been done "from above," using the Logos concept of John 1 as its starting point. Essentially, christology started with a consideration of God as Trinity and worked its way "down" to Jesus. Such christologies have its basis in Christ's divinity. Haight argues such christologies are unintelligible in the postmodern era.
Haight argues that to speak to this generation, we must approach christology "from below." Essentially, we start with a consideration of Jesus as a human being and work our way "up" to God as Trinity. Such christologies will have its basis in Jesus' humanity. Though Logos christology may be so appropriated, Haight opts for what he identifies as "Spirit christology" as better able to answer modern needs in christological consideration. Stated succinctly, Jesus embodies God as Spirit in that "God is, as it were, let loose in a final, climactic, and saving way through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and is vividly experienced in the communities of the Jesus movement that became `Christian'" (449).
The experience empowers both the Christian individual and the community to work in the world. Christians are expected to bring salvation in Christ to the world. Haight appropriates liberation theology to show how the empowered Christian should live in the world. Spirit christology also enables Christians to take a normative non-constitutive position to religious pluralism, while avoiding relativism. If a given religious tradition is a channel for God's Spirit, it is valid (i.e., a follower will find salvation in it).
Overall, Haight has given us a well conceived and thoughtful Christology. He has not intended it to be the final answer. Theologians of all denominations can and should engage in unfettered debate of the individual issues he raises. In this, Haight does well in keeping ecumenical considerations in mind. Traditions that must bypass consideration of the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon may find this work less useful, but still worth considering its insights.
This is also a book that must be read carefully and digested slowly. It can get quite technical; I recommend some familiarity with christological issues before reading this book. Though it does survey many different christologies, its purpose is not to serve as an introduction for the general reader. This consideration aside, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars poetic aspects of christianity 29 July 2005
By earing - Published on Amazon.com
Haight writes that "theology is a constant entertainment of perennial questions...a reflection on the nature of reality from the perspective of the SYMBOLS of the Christian faith." What does that say but that interpretation of religion is an ongoing process, one that is never completed? The source of all Christian theology is scripture; we begin with words written about Christ and construct systems of belief, first worked out in church councils, always in response to other systems which were considered indequate, if not misleading, about the nature of Christ and what it means to believers. The meaning of words, of language is not static, but always changing and ongoing.

At the heart of any discussion of Christ is his relationship to God, the ultimate reality. This relationship matters because it discusses the ultimate end and purpose of human existence. If one is concerned about this, then Christianity offers some answers, at the heart of which is the notion of "salvation", of achieving the "kingdom of God." For example, the whole idea of the resurrection is an attempt, I think Haight is suggesting, to dramatize the nation of self-transcendence.

All of this, to me, sounds like the ways of interpreting poetry. There are many constructs of how Christ operates and we can learn from all of them; we do not have to make decisive judgments of the type that people do who interpret the words of the Bible literally. In the same way, there is no final and decisive answer to what a good poem means - there are always further interpretations that are valuable and freeing. A very impressive book which places Christianity in an intellectually defensible

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christology 27 July 2005
By Lynn A. Huber - Published on Amazon.com
This primer was written by a Jesuit scholar who was sanctioned for his work because he plumbed the depths of the topic and didn't stay close to the traditional lines of thought. Written systematically with clear bullet points, this is a thorough discussion of post modern Christology.
75 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christological tour de force! 17 May 2000
By Dr. John Switzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once in a while a masterful book comes along in the field of Christology ... this is one of those books! In Jesus Symbol of God, Roger Haight offers his written insights in the same manner he uses in the classroom: with clarity, precision and a grasp of catholic tradition which is mind-blowing in its universality. This book is so well-informed as to be a struggle at times, but it is worth the intellectual investment for anyone who wants to know the state of Christology for today or its implications and possibilities for tomorrow.
Haight's grasp of the field is incomparable. This work is truly on the cutting edge as it brings catholic tradition into dialogue with postmodern realities. Haight seems destined to ask the difficult questions and one worries that this penchant may well find him in "hot water" with those short-sighted minds who claim the prerogative of preserving Roman Catholic doctrine in the curial halls of Vatican City.
The theological world is indebted to Roger Haight and I am proud to have learned from him personally.
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