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Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

David Ford
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) 4.2 out of 5 stars (13)
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Book Description

24 Feb 2000 Very Short Introductions (Book 9)
This Very Short Introduction provides both believers and non-believers with a balanced survey of the central questions of contemporary theology. David Ford's interrogative approach draws the reader into considering the principles underlying religious belief, including the centrality of salvation to most major religions, the concept of God in ancient, modern, and postmodern contexts, the challenge posed to theology by prayer and worship, and the issue of sin and evil. He also proves the nature of experience, knowledge, and wisdom in theology, and discusses what is involved in interpreting theological texts today.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (24 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192853848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192853844
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 11.1 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

David Ford is Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Theology at its broadest is thinking about questions raised by and about the religions. 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
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A broad, academic overview of Christian theology 31 July 2005
By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE
Ford takes theology to be very broad in scope, academically occupying the overlap of comparative religion and philosophy, but in its broader role informing and being informed by every other discipline. It is the search for wisdom, in the context of a religious commitment. Ford's particular commitment is Christian, and he believes that theology cannot usefully be approached in a secular, neutral way. One must enter into a relationship with the divine, in his case with the Christian trinity, in order to properly explore theological questions. So this is not an introduction to the philosophy or psychology of religion, but an insider's view of a modern Christian theologian at work.
It is a rather cerebral view. You will seek in vain for the words 'mysticism' or 'grace' in the index, and on page 118 he says 'Buddhists might speak of Nirvana, a term with no Christian parallel.' Really? What of religious ecstasy, as described by Thomas A Kempis and others? What of 'a state of Grace'? Are such concepts uncomfortable to modern theologians?
There is also a lack of specificity. Questions are asked, issues raised, scope drawn (in very general terms) but it is left to the reader to explore possible answers. Arguably, that is all a short introduction like this can do.
Ford writes well. The proof reading was not perfect -- there is a spectacular typo on page 88 in which the words 'African wood carving' intrude themselves into a sentence about Jesus, for no reason other than they belong in the caption to the illustration on the facing page. Talking of illustrations, these VSI books do not always make effective use of very limited space. Thus we have a picture of London's Millennium Dome introducing the theme of theology in the next millennium.
Despite these reservations, this book remains a good introduction to the current state of Christian theology.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small book, big subject;: highly recommended 24 Oct 2002
I found this book a perfect introduction to Christian Theology, easy to read but also quite stretching at times for those of us who are not professional academics. The author's style is warm & welcoming: he has an open approach, is honest about his own position and does not does not preach. I read the book as a committed Christian believer who wanted to dig deeper into my faith, ask some fundamental questions and be challenged about what and why I believe. For this, the book is perfect, and having read it I find myself dipping back into it on a regular basis. Friends who have no particular Christian commitment have also found this book interesting, as it provides an intelligent and structured explanation of a complex and personal subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book as someone beginning to read Theology, hoping it would give me an overview of the subject and its various inner subjects. I was disappointed as, while it does deal with some of them in a passing way, it seems to be more a book on philosophy and philology. I did not get much theology from it, and found it quite boring. I did read it to the end, but it was a struggle despite it being quite a short book. Can't give it more than one star consequently. Definitely NOT recommended for students of theology. You'd be better reading a good course book like Alister McGrath's excellent "Christian Theology: An Introduction". While I do understand that a "very short" introduction can present difficulties of coverage, this book failed miserably to introduce me to theology. McGrath's book, on the other hand, while necessarily much larger, actually deals with theology not issues of little import to theology as this book does.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theology on the quick... 22 Feb 2004
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Part of a series by Oxford University Press, this book, 'Theology: A Very Short Introduction', by David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, follows the same format as other texts in the Very Short Introduction series -- it has fewer than 200 pages, is well indexed, has a useful listing of further readings, accessible and enjoyable narrative, and captures the essence in a very short space the major points of its topic. There are probably nearing 100 volumes in this Very Short Introduction series (making it, ironically, not a Very Short series), but among those that I have read, this text stands out as being one of the more interesting to me.
There are ten chapters grouped according to three major sections: Describing the Field of Theology; Theological Explorations; and Skills, Disciplines and Methods. In the first section, Ford sets the stage by looking at the state of religious and academic institutions generally, before proceeding on to looking at the particular disciplines of religious studies and theology, which contrary to much popular thinking, are not the same thing at all. Ford looks specifically at postmodernism, Karl Rahner, Hans Frei's five types of theology, and general philosophical ideas at play in theological study.
In the section on Theological Explorations, for most this is where the heart of the matter lies. Various key components of systematic theological thinking are explored - the doctrine of God, the idea of ethics and morality (particularly as it has to do with worship and God), the problem of evil, basic Christological issues, and the idea of salvation. Ford does not confine his text to one particular view, but gives a sampling of different ideas, and highlights difficulties and strengths of each view.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Shop around
Ok but like it says this is a short introduction to theology so becomes more of a list than anything
Published 5 months ago by Miss L
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful book
I had to read the introduction to this book for a course I am doing, it seemed good so I brought the book. There is lots of information for a small book! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I really rate this surprisingly interesting little book. I am not usually a fan of theology but found myself strangely beguiled by Ford's excellent style.
Published 17 months ago by Mr. C. Hilken
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Thoughtful Book
I found this 175 page book gripping until the last couple of chapters which were tips for aspiring professional theologians, of which I am not one. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr. M. J. Reynolds
2.0 out of 5 stars long on discussion, short on answers
I was disappointed by this book. The author seems far more comfortable discussing questions than in answering them. His writing is often prolix and overloaded with abstraction. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Justerman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book
I bought this book as it was recommended on a course I am doing as a good introduction. I have found that it covers what could be very dry and difficult topics in a simplified and... Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2010 by H. Paisley
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and generous book
This is a beautifully thought-out and written book, that provides the reader with a wide-ranging overview of the range and goals of theology. Read more
Published on 22 July 2009 by L. A. Taylor-Guthartz
1.0 out of 5 stars Bland and confusing. And bland.
I have read and appreciated a large number of publications from this series, and many of them are extremely enjoyable and informative. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2008 by A. Person
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
It's a good book for pulling together ideas that have been floating around and seeing how they fit in. Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2006 by Ms. M. Moules
2.0 out of 5 stars Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introduction
ok, but if I'd seen it in a shop I'd probably not have bothered with it
Published on 18 July 2004 by SueMRochford
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