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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rise of Christendom's spirit, 30 Dec. 2005
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Medieval Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Medieval Period (The Great Theologians) (Paperback)
The editor of this volume, G.R. Evans, is a lecturer in history at Cambridge, and author of a number of texts that deal with issues and topics of the same period, as well as other historical periods. For the most part, however, Evans lets the articles from scholars speak for themselves. Her role, apart from the worthwhile introduction, was to select from among the best scholars in Britain, North American and Europe to produce a companion volume to Blackwell's `Modern Theologians'. (Alas, other volumes, such as Ancient Theologians, Reformation and post-Reformation Theologians have not yet been done.)
The book is divided primarily into five sections, the first being `The End of the Ancient World', which begins rather naturally with Augustine. Augustine occupies a unique place in being the last great classical and first great medieval writer. Boethius and other theologians, described as postpatristic, round out this section with articles by John Rist, Charles Kannengiesser, and Andrew Louth.
The second section deals with the Carolingians, and highlights the work of the Venerable Bede. Benedicta Ward writes on Bede, and Willemien Otten looks at other Carolingians such as Alcuin, Theodulf and Eriugena. While much of the patristic period was taken up by classifying and clarifying doctrine and defending against heresy, the Carolingians also dealt with potential heresies, and set the stage for some controversies that remained undercurrents until coming to the forefront in the Reformation.
The third section looks at the Medieval `Renaissance', which included persons such as Anselm, Abelard, Bernard and the monastic movement, and Peter Lombard. Scholars Lauge Nielsen, Emero Stiegman, Jenny Swanson and Marcia Colish provide articles, as does the editor Evans herself. As Evans states, this period say a rise in the quality of scholarship coupled with a renewed interest in both patristic concerns and Carolingian issues.
The fourth section examines the `High Medieval Debate', which also helped solidify much of Catholic dogma for hundreds of years, saw a rise in mysticism, but also began to push into uncomfortable relief issues that would explode during the Reformation era. This was a time of great scholarship, including such notables as Duns Scotus, William Ockham, and Thomas Aquinas. Scholars Michael Robson, Fergus Kerr, Oliver Davies, and Alexander Broadie deal with particular issues and personalities, whereas Takashi Shogimen looks more generally at the academic controversies arising out of Bishop Tempier's condemnation of 219 philosophical/theological propositions (note that this is more than twice the number of Luther's later Theses).
The fifth section is on Dissent, particularly as it was concerned in church and state issues (never separate even in today's world, but much more identified with each other in the past), the poor of Lyon (the Waldenses), the idea of dualism (including Albigensians), and the Wyclif and Lollardy issue. Scholars Euan Cameron, Gerhard Rottenwohrer, Matthew Kempshall, and Stephen Lahey provide essays.
There are two concluding essays, one by Evans looking toward a specific in Luther's later ideas, and one more general essay by Paul Rorem tracing the trail from Augustine through the Medievals toward the Reformation.
This text is a must for any student of theology, particularly those who have an interest in the history of the church and the development of ideas. The writing is intelligent and scholarly without being overpowering or needlessly technical. However, this text may send the reader looking for more reference material and further study (and this is not a bad thing!) - to this end, most articles have a good references list (although this is not always consistent across the articles, as some have notes, some have references, and some have both). The index at the end is reasonable, but could be fleshed out a bit more.
Overall, this is a great text for the student of theology and church history, as well as useful for the student of more general medieval philosophy, medieval European history, and general religious studies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books on Medieval theology I have found., 27 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Medieval Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Medieval Period (The Great Theologians) (Paperback)
This is one of the best books on Medieval theology I have found, especially on the monastic theology of the twelfth century.

I would also mention that it is a stitched good quality paperback, easy to open and lay flat to read, unlike the poor quality print on demand books amazon produces these days. Amazon should state if a book is print on demand.
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