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Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Oct 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199679975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199679973
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.5 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

It is written in an extremely accesible, interesting and fresh style and this combined with its 'safely' othodox but balanced tone will make it a useful aid to assisting a range of people. (Ray Gaston, Theology November/December 1999)

About the Author

David F. Ford is Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, and Director of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme. He is the author of many books, including most recently The Future of Christian Theology (OUP, 2011), Christian Wisdom: Desiring God and Learning in Love (CUP, 2007), and Shaping Theology: Engagements in a Religious and Secular World (OUP, 2007).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R T VINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is really an examination of Christian Theology - with some reference to other religions. The reasons are given which relate to the existence of other titles in the series specifically on Islam, Judaism and so on and the almost impossible task of doing justice to the broader topic within a short book. However I think that this should be made clear in the title. I had hoped for more on how the common thread of understanding god ran through major religions - especially the monotheistic ones such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Readable and covers a lot of basic material: how we understand God, ethics, the question of evil, Jesus Christ and salvation. Some of the topics remind me of the modules studied in my theological courses! There is a very useful chapter on text and how to read them in context and with due regard to the original language - some of this should be read by those of a more fundamentalist or literalist approach as it helps show clearly how to avoid pitfalls.

It is over half way through before other religions get a look in, within the context of development of inter-faith discussions. The final section suggests that theology is not dead but has a lot to offer as a discipline of study.

Recommended but I feel title is misleading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Whilst being ostensibly a book on Christian theology, it seems to want to avoid the subject altogether, not just in the title but in the content. There is a little bit of 20th century representation with Karl Barth & Dietrich Bonhoeffer; from earlier times there are mentions of Aquinas & Anselm. But how about the contribution of Clement of Alexandria? Origen? Gregory of Nazianzus? Basil of Caesarea? Gregory of Nyssa? (Pseudo-)Dionysius the Areopagite? Maximus the Confessor? Johannes Scotus Eriugena? Not a sausage.

Frankly there is little substance at all to this book, and is mostly waffle. One favourite trick of the author is to speak "more Scotico" and ask a whole string of questions of the reader which he does not answer. (Randomly chosen example from p. 59: "What does God command? Are Christians to take all the Old Testament law as applying to them? If not, what is its authority for them? How can Christians learn from the centuries of Jewish interpretation and practice of the law? What about the guidance for conduct given in the New Testament?" - and so this example goes on for another six questions.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yehezkel Dror on 6 Jan. 2014
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To start with due disclosure, I am a Jew and do not share the Christian frame of this book. But, as an "outsider" I found it outstanding in presenting main lines of (Christian) theological, mainly academic, thinking, which is in large parts relevant also to non-Christians. It also handles well studying theology, including hermeneutics, epistemology, and the importance of knowing languages -- which is much neglected in modern mass-cultures.
I am not qualified to discuss the theological issues taken up in this book, though I am somewhat surprised that "negative theology," which regards humans as only qualified to speak about what God is not rather than what his attributes are, is not mentioned other than in a side hint (p.162). Also the author is much too optimistic about inter-faith dialogues (pp.117-122), instead of fully recognizing and confronting the realities and growing potentials of mass-killings caused by religious fanaticism.
My main critique concerns what is missing, including important background on the historic roots of monotheistic faiths on one side and urgent needs for theological rethinking and ethical-spiritual leadership fitting the emerging metamorphosis of humanity on the other (despite a short chapter on "Theology for the third millennium", pp. 169-176, which does not include main likely challenges).
To start with the past, Karl Jaspers coined the term "Axial Age" referring to the period from about 800 to 200 BCE, during which relatively similar radical innovations in thinking appeared in China, India, and the Occident, which laid the ground for monotheistic faiths. I think that this foundational development should at least be mentioned and somewhat discussed in a book like this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marco Rossini TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Whether you're studying theology at school or doing a degree course, I think this book will be a good starting point with simple and basic, nevertheless essential, elements. Easy to read even on a train journey or in the cafe. The book was written by an academic with respect for the religion, and not by a journalist or someone who 'thinks' he/she knows what Christianity is, so in this sense I liked it very much.

It's a tiny little book. It's much smaller than you might imagine from this cover image, and light weight too. Easy to carry around in your bag.

Hope this helps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 23 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Despite an interest in religions from all orners of the globe I approached this book with some scepticism as in this area I sense more than any other that most authors have a very strong bias in one or more areas of the subject matter. Religion and to a great extent Theology have a way of dividng opinion more than most other subject areas and so it as some surprise that I found this little book quite clear and to a large extent unbiased. The impression of a balanced survey of the different questions and attitudes that arise across the Globe is maintained from beginning to end and in no place did I have too overwhelming a sense of an overly strong off putting editorial viewpoint. I can highly reccommned this title to anyone who is intersted in any way in the subject of Theology and just in all the other titles from the Oxford Very Short Introductions, there is more information than one would expect within the pages of the compact volume.
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