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Why Sacraments? Paperback – 15 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (15 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281063923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281063925
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew is the Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and fellow in theology at Corpus Christi College. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and has doctorates in both biochemistry and Christian theology. His books are

The Love of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy for Theologians
Care of the Dying (with the physician Sioned Evans)
Why Sacraments?
For the Parish (with Alison Milbank, on the church and mission)
Imaginative Apologetics (as editor and contributor)
Lift Up Your Hearts: A Prayerbook for Anglicans (with Andrew Nunn and Toby Wright)

Andrew edits the Faith Going Deeper series, from Canterbury Press, which presents exciting academic theology to a popular audience. The volumes published so far are Grace (Peter Groves), Joy (Peter Waddell, on the sacraments) and Faith and Unbelief (Stephen Bullivant).

He is a regular contributor to Church Times and reviews for the TLS. He represents the Church of England on the national dialogue between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in England. During his curacy Andrew was responsible for youth and children's work in his South East London parish. Since 2010 he has been par at of the team producing Sarah Lenton's acclaimed series Creative Ideas for Children's Worship from Canterbury Press.




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Review

'[Why Sacraments?] is no dry, step-by-step exposition of sacramental ritual. Instead one is engagingly immersed within theology and practice, with the interrelation of the sacraments and realities of life demonstrated in an intuitive, compelling way.' --From the foreword

About the Author

The Revd Dr Andrew Davison is Tutor in Doctrine at Westcott House, Cambridge, where he himself trained, and a member of the Cambridge Theological Faculty; he was formerly Tutor in doctrine at St Stephen's House, Oxford and a member of the Oxford Theology Faculty.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Wesley on 13 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Andrew Davison's Why Sacraments? is a timely and useful book to non-Anglicans who are thinking about the role of sacraments in the life of their respective denominations (or independent churches). The material in the book is rooted in the biblical and theological traditions shared by Christians. It shows ecumenical sensitivity at many points, drawing from Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Methodist, Reformed, and Pentecostal theological resources. The author is respectful in his accounts of different sacramental theologies within various streams of Christianity. Christians of any label will gain a deeper understanding of the two sacraments we share: Baptism and Holy Communion. Davison provides some really refreshing insights by discussing sacraments in terms of the Incarnation and the work of the Holy Spirit. He often incorporates beautiful hymn texts, ancient liturgies, personal accounts, and much-appreciated humour into his elucidations of theological points. His arguments for the sacramental nature of marriage, confession, anointing, confirmation, and ordination will, at the least, challenge readers to view each of these as genuine means through which the Holy Spirit communicates grace.

Davison's writing style is quite readable - almost conversational. There is remarkably little theological jargon, and what is there is explained well. (I'm having a twelve-year-old read Why Sacraments? as part of confirmation preparation). At the same time, theologically sophisticated readers will gain fresh insights and some sense of how they should be talking about sacraments with those who haven't a clue about these rites. It is one of those books that most every minister should have on hand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J Whitgift on 18 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having spent the last couple of months buffing up on Sacramental Theology, I am of the opinion that Davison's book on the theology of the Sacraments is on a par with that of Macquarrie's 'Introduction to the Sacraments' as a primer in this area of (Doctrinal) theology. This is in part due to Davison's ability to communicate complex ideas to those who may not consider themselves to be theologically literate, yet in a way which does not alienate those who are more theologically literate (an important skill for a lecturer in Doctrinal Theology at an Anglican Seminary!)

I was particularly taken by Davison's use of Christology and Pneumatology as ways of engaging with and understanding Sacramental Theology. By reading the Sacraments through these categories Davison links them back into the life of the Church and its members, without having to resort to clumsy (and infantilising) language, such as describing the Sacraments as 'kisses from God'. (Kisses though they may be, the relationship between the Kisser, God, and the recipient, us, is far more profound than such a term allows for.) This approach, of linking (and reading the Sacraments through) Christology and Pneumatology into is also consistent with Davison's interest in demonstrating the interlinked nature of theology and philosophy, by demonstrating how theology is inextricably linked to praxis.

Another advantage (and perhaps a surprise) is Davison's language, which is both robust, but also thoughtful and considered. Such language helps the flow of the book and keeps it from getting too far away from its (unstated) aim of linking theology with praxis.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John Hughes on 4 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Why Sacraments began life as a lecture course for ordinands and this is evident from its easy and enjoyable style - breezy, learned, pastoral and witty. This is a theological introduction to the sacraments which both illuminates them by and uses them to illuminate the key themes of the Christian faith. The theology is, as we would expect from Davison, confident and humane, Anglicano-Thomist and ecumenical, taking no prisoners, and with at times a limpidity of doctrinal exposition to stand with Eric Mascall at his best!
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Format: Paperback
'Why Sacraments?' is a superbly balanced and informative book. In it, Dr Davison unpacks in a vivid and timely way what is at the core of Christian belief and practice about the sacraments. This is never a dull read, and is full of wit and charm, pastoral awareness and practical wisdom.

Each of the seven sacraments are afforded a chapter, each of which brings together scriptural foundations, historical tradition, problematic pressure points, and pastoral possibilities. Other chapters provide the opportunities to stand back and ask more general questions about Christian beliefs about the sacraments.

The book is helpfully accessible, in that none of its chapters are long, and it has a balance between lively pace, informative detail, and broad horizons. Dr Davison makes superb use of biblical, patristic, classical, reformed and modern theology, bringing a wide range of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant thought to bear on issues of worship and doctrine. In this he shows a very broad rootedness and appreciation, whilst also being helpfully, but not heavily, directive. This measure of breadth and incisiveness will no doubt commend the work to the broadest of readerships across the whole Christian Church.
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