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The Christian Fathers (Knowing Christianity) Paperback – 31 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: SCM Press; 2nd edition (31 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0334019303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0334019305
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 725,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Given that the people who accuse Wiles of being a heretic are those who look to the fathers as the touchstone of orthodoxy who have 'said all that needs to be said', I have often wondered what Wiles makes of the patristic period, given that it is his particular field of expertise. I was not disappointed at what I found because I could see the fathers in the context of a dynamic Christianity rather than as those who laid down 'once and for all' rules. We need historical perspective in order to see what they were trying to say and we need to bear in mind that their thought-forms and situations were very different to ours and that, if we are to be faithful to their insights we shall need to say things differently today.

If I am to stick to my view that pluralism is the key to understanding God's revelation through history and through space, then a respect for Greek influences upon the fathers is needed just as much as a desire to learn from other world religions today. It will not do to disown a doctrine as the result of 'Greek influence creeping in', nor will it do to just accept anything that comes along one needs to discern from the way things developed that the Spirit might have been saying through the minds of men and women.

Wiles' understanding of Greek influence upon the Jewish God of history who becomes seen as impassible mean that process theology can be a great help to us now rather than a heresy.

The use of Greek thought as metaphor to elucidate certain Christological insights is such that we should be creative in interpreting the boundaries supposedly set by Chalcedon.
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Amazon.com: 1 review
we think differently now 27 April 2015
By Mr. D. P. Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Given that the people who accuse Wiles of being a heretic are those who look to the fathers as the touchstone of orthodoxy who have 'said all that needs to be said', I have often wondered what Wiles makes of the patristic period, given that it is his particular field of expertise. I was not disappointed at what I found because I could see the fathers in the context of a dynamic Christianity rather than as those who laid down 'once and for all' rules. We need historical perspective in order to see what they were trying to say and we need to bear in mind that their thought-forms and situations were very different to ours and that, if we are to be faithful to their insights we shall need to say things differently today.

If I am to stick to my view that pluralism is the key to understanding God's revelation through history and through space, then a respect for Greek influences upon the fathers is needed just as much as a desire to learn from other world religions today. It will not do to disown a doctrine as the result of 'Greek influence creeping in', nor will it do to just accept anything that comes along one needs to discern from the way things developed that the Spirit might have been saying through the minds of men and women.

Wiles' understanding of Greek influence upon the Jewish God of history who becomes seen as impassible mean that process theology can be a great help to us now rather than a heresy.

The use of Greek thought as metaphor to elucidate certain Christological insights is such that we should be creative in interpreting the boundaries supposedly set by Chalcedon.

My own view on Christology, heavily dependent on John Robinson, sees Jesus was the man who reached full human potential, the divine image restored in a person who was totally obedient and. responsive to God 'inside him' and this has a lot to say for our view of man and of spirituality, yet I see that Apollinarius was 'condemned' for such a view. I like the model but appreciate, a little, that there is more to be said.

In the same way that I can see that many of the seeds of later Christological argument were sown in the patristic period, it is also plain that arguments about the, less defined, nature of atonement doctrine were started in this period. We can learn much from the debates of that time but need to remember that our age has a different view of human nature, culled from sociological and psychological insights. The various views of incarnation and atonement should be taken as models of thought rather than hard and fast definitions. Theology is about metaphor and story rather than about literal fact, though we need to remember that Judaism and Christianity assert history as the arena of God's activity so we mustn't use 'paradox' and 'story' to get out of difficulty too easily. They should express the difficulty, not provide avenues of escape for sloppy thinkers.
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