Top positive review
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orthodoxy in the light of modern debates
on 5 December 2008
I plead guilty to having set Migliore as a textbook for students (though not for the person whose review mentions this!)
Whilst Migliore is not always the most dynamic or colourful of writers, he is both thorough and reliable. He displays admirable balance whilst clearly stating his own point of view. He is consistent with historic Christianity (i.e. orthodoxy, the Creeds), whilst taking seriously issues raised by modern movements such as feminism, black theology, the ecological crisis. This is much more than the 'discuss briefly in order to summarily reject' approach which we sometimes see, and is itself a model for Christian engagement. Whilst Migliore comes from a Reformed background, he argues that challenges posed by our contemporary world to historic Christianity must be addressed (compare Alvin Kimel's 'Reading the Christian God: the Holy Trinity and the Challenge of Feminism').
There are substantial and helpful sections on all the standard theological 'topoi', subjects - Task of Theology, Revelation, Scripture, Trinity, Creation, Providence, Humanity, Holy Spirit, Sacraments, Church, Hope. The Christology section includes a substantial (and helpful) treatment of atonement. Three appendices contains cleverly written imagined conversations between groups of theologians (including Barth, Rahner, Moltmann, Tillich et al.) covering some central subjects of modern theology - the Resurrection, Natural Theology, Political Theology. Whilst some might regard these figures as now dated, I would argue that this is far from the case and - though Migliore is far from being a comprehensive guide to modern and historic theology - his fundamental approach is sound, informative and worth emulating. One other thing these do is to show the continuing critical contribution of Karl Barth to theology.
Migliore usefully discusses methodology, around which his instincts are generally sound - as evidenced in the title, 'Faith Seeking Understanding' (following Anselm) and following the contemporary resurgence of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Finding a decent 'Introduction to Theology' book is very hard - probably the reason why so many teachers end up writing their own - but this is a very trustworthy start, one that you will find does not sell you short in avoiding difficulties, and that will direct you the right way.