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Theology: The Basics [Paperback]

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

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Book Description

13 April 2004
Written by one of the world’s leading Protestant theologians, Theology: The Basics is designed for students taking a first short course in Christian theology or for lay Christians who wish to find out more about their faith. Accessible and lively, this introductory textbook:
  • Introduces readers to key theological issues, such as God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, creation, salvation, atonement, religious history and heaven
  • Includes within each chapter an overview of one of these themes, presents relevant biblical passages, and summarizes the contribution of one major theologian
  • Uses the Apostle′s Creed as a framework in order to provide a user–friendly structure
  • Features a concluding section which explains how readers can take their study further, giving examples of the kind of detailed discussion that is possible.

Alister E. McGrath is the author of numerous popular theology textbooks, including Christian Theology 3rd edition and The Christian Theology Reader 2nd edition. Readers may wish to use this book in order to make the transition to these more challenging texts.


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Theology: The Basics + Christian Theology: An Introduction
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (13 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405114258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405114257
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 751,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"What makes this book such an effective introduction to the essential ingredients of the Christian faith is the way in which Alister McGrath interweaves leading theological ideas with the views of major theologians. The result is a compact but thorough volume that is sound, useful, and remarkably appealing. Highly recommended as a basic text for both beginning and intermediate classes in Christian theology." David Hein, Hood College Maryland "McGrath has successfully created a theology which is both inviting to the beginning student and informing to the more advanced student. His approach often offers a unique perspective on how to warmly introduce a student to complex discussions on theology. This book will be useful on many levels in the church and the academy as an introductory theology." David Talley, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University "At one point, Professor McGrath aptly describes this book as a handshake of welcome for those who want to begin the study of Christian theology. Written in a style that is friendly, clear and accessible, it inducts the novice into a masterly overview of the subject and into the lively, questioning conversation that it represents." Jeremy Worthen, South East Institute for Theological Education and University of Kent "This book is ecumenical in the best sense of that word. McGrath appeals to the breadth and depth of the Church's witness in order to explain its faith, and in so doing he has produced a superb guidebook for the study of theology. The book should engage students of all stripes. It raises as many questions as it answers, and it provides the foundation for a deeper exploration of the Church's common mind." Mark Weedman, Crossroads College "Theology: The Basics offers a masterful simplification of the central themes, complex history, and creative giants of Christian thought. McGrath provides a scholarly introduction to the discipline of Christian Theology that avoids partisanship without sacrificing profundity." Lonnie D. Kliever, Southern Methodist University

Review

"What makes this book such an effective introduction to the essential ingredients of the Christian faith is the way in which Alister McGrath interweaves leading theological ideas with the views of major theologians. The result is a compact but thorough volume that is sound, useful, and remarkably appealing. Highly recommended as a basic text for both beginning and intermediate classes in Christian theology."
David Hein, Hood College Maryland

"McGrath has successfully created a theology which is both inviting to the beginning student and informing to the more advanced student. His approach often offers a unique perspective on how to warmly introduce a student to complex discussions on theology. This book will be useful on many levels in the church and the academy as an introductory theology."
—David Talley, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"At one point, Professor McGrath aptly describes this book as a handshake of welcome for those who want to begin the study of Christian theology. Written in a style that is friendly, clear and accessible, it inducts the novice into a masterly overview of the subject and into the lively, questioning conversation that it represents."
—Jeremy Worthen, South East Institute for Theological Education and University of Kent

"This book is ecumenical in the best sense of that word. McGrath appeals to the breadth and depth of the Church′s witness in order to explain its faith, and in so doing he has produced a superb guidebook for the study of theology. The book should engage students of all stripes. It raises as many questions as it answers, and it provides the foundation for a deeper exploration of the Church′s common mind."
—Mark Weedman, Crossroads College

"Theology: The Basics offers a masterful simplification of the central themes, complex history, and creative giants of Christian thought. McGrath provides a scholarly introduction to the discipline of Christian Theology that avoids partisanship without sacrificing profundity."
—Lonnie D. Kliever, Southern Methodist University


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theology for everyone... 21 Oct 2004
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
Alister McGrath is an author I rely upon frequently for helping to teach theology. He has a broad-based, ecumenical approach useful and accessible to Catholics and Protestants; firmly grounded in the long history of Christendom and intellectual developments arising out of the early church forward, there is much that Orthodox Christians would also find interesting and helpful. His works on Christian spirituality, historical theology, and his excellent one-volume introduction to theology are constant references of mine.
This particular volume, produced by Blackwell (one of my favourite presses, particularly for theological works), is meant to serve as both an introduction and survey of the basic themes of Christian theology. McGrath takes the Apostles' Creed, one of the creeds of the early church that most every Christian agrees upon as a statement of some authority, as the overall framework for this text. In his introduction, McGrath explains the different methods of studying theology (highlighting particular theologians, or tracing the history), and some of the disadvantages of working with those methods. He explains the basis of following the Apostles' Creed to highlight ideas, which in turn draws in discussion of particular theologians and theological schools, denominational differences as applicable, and the major source elements of scripture, tradition, and reason.
The Apostles' Creed itself is rather short and basic - each line of the creed focuses upon one aspect of the faith, and McGrath uses these lines as the topics for the chapters. Elaborating on these basic themes, McGrath pulls in discussion and references from biblical texts and images, major theologians from past and present, and general trends in history.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only it actually included the Apostles Creed! 25 Dec 2006
Format:Paperback
I got this book as a birthday gift. I already had McGrath's superlative Introduction To Theology textbook. This is a primer for that bigger more expansive book.

"The Basics" takes the Apostle's Creed as its structure and works through the key areas of Christian theology. Faith, God, Creation, Jesus, Salvation, Trinity, Church and Heaven all get their own chapters and once you have read them you will be more than able to start reading some theology texts and enjoy them. It also has, typically for McGrath, a great set of reference appendices at the end that include a glossary of theological terms, the cited theologians and advice on what to do now that you realise theology is brilliant and interesting and relevant!

McGrath writes so well. I love the way he breaks things down in to very clear, easily understood chunks. He does battle with texts by the great theologians of the church so that reading the book introduces you to some of the giants and the way they have played the game. He is fair and evenly balanced without denomiantional or theological bias. It is a classic McGrath work which means its practically perfect.

It is meant to be read as a textbook, or at least preparatory reading for a course and so it won't have you turning the page with excitment. There is no harm in that however because its quiet, undramatic approach leaves you in a much better position to take it all in. If you manage to take it in you will be in a great place to start your theological education proper. Buy without hesitation!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction 9 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is the best introduction to Christian theology I have found so far. It is short, which makes it easy to read. It is broken down into brief sections, each of which I could manage to read in an evening. And best of all, in my view, it allowed me to interact with texts. These come right at the end of each section, and the author introduces each text in such a way that you can have a go at making sense of it on your own. After reading this book I felt much more confident about reading more complicated books. I also felt much better about my own ideas, because someone had helped me to explore the issues. I really enjoyed this book. The only thing that I felt was wrong with this book is that I couldn’t find the text of the Apostles creed anywhere, even though this is obviously important. Maybe include it in the next edition, please?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL 7 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am currently studying Theology, this book was a great place to start... it discusses some of main topics that are close to the heart of modern day theology. I would highly recommend this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good starter reference. 19 Jan 2013
By PWH
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lived up to expectations, recommended as course book. It gave enough background information to get by with but also inspired me to buy the Introduction stage too.
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