The Christian Theology Reader Paperback – 1 Dec 2006
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"Those who have found [McGrath's] Introduction a significant resource will undoubtedly also want to use his companion set of readings. Its great strength is the breadth of figures and topics treated, and we can hope that students who become acquainted with the riches in these brief selections will want to return to engage the primary sources in their fullness. Such engagements could offer an important sign of hope for Christianity's future." L. Gregory Jones, Duke University (of a previous edition)
"Exquisitely crafted by a true master of the discipline, this inspired book is a theological and pedagogical treasure trove for students and teachers alike, and demonstrates once again why Alister McGrath is so widely trusted and revered as one of the most sagacious and gracefully discerning theologians writing today."
― Paul D. Janz, King′s College London
"Alister McGrath’s anthology is a treasure trove of theological texts, the best such reader currently available. His brief introduction, comment, and questions for each reading make this a very handy resource for teachers and students alike. Through voices past and present, students will gain a seat at the dining table for a veritable feast of theology."
―Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Wheaton College Graduate School
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Top Customer Reviews
I have certainly found the book helpful in getting a flavour of various theologians of many different persuasions and eras, from the early church fathers through to the present day. The length of passages quoted varies from a few sentences to a few pages and they are arranged in chronological order under each heading. McGrath also writes a brief introduction to each excerpt, which helps to orient the reader before the passage itself is actually read.
Finally , I should note that it is quite possible to use and benefit from the 'The Christian Theology Reader' without also having McGrath's 'Introduction to Christian Theology'. I would certainly recommend both books, but they can each be read on their own terms or used for reference without recourse to the other volume.
Each of the ten chapters begins with a concise but informative introduction discussing why the general topic is relevant and where areas of tension and conflict derive from, etc., followed by a selective chapter contents listing; everything is very clear and easy to follow.
Individual readings are given a title which `allows the reader to identify both the author of the piece and its broad theme.' So, for instance, reading number 21 from chapter 1 (1.21) is entitled `The First Vatican Council on Faith and Reason'. There then follows a short introduction which explains that the council was `convened in Rome by Pope Pius IX in response to... the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars... and various intellectual trends which seemed to call into question the authority of the church and the truth of many traditional Christian teachings...' A one-and-a-half page portion of the statement from the third session of the Council is then quoted. If the quoted text was not written in English then some key words or phrases are occasionally offered in their original form for those who are especially interested in studying readings in their original language. For lesser mortals - like me - who can only read English, the translations are clear, vibrant and modern. (One or two readings are reproduced in their original old English, which is authentic but I found trickier.Read more ›
I found this book to be interesting in that it brings to the page writings that I have heard spoken of but have rarely actually seen. On the question of the proof of the existence of God we are able to read the explanations of St. Anselm, and Guanilo' response thereto, along with later proofs such as those by St. Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes and Blaise Pascal. By reading the works of saints and scholars about whom I knew little more than their names I was able get some sense of why they were important and to what issues. The ability to compare and contrast conflicting opinions helps the reader to better understand each point of view.
The list of "Conciliar, Creedal and Confessional Material" and the "Glossary of Theological Terms" at the end help to put the selections into context. My one complaint about this book is that it rarely identifies the denominations of the authors, thereby making it more difficult to determine the authority to be attributed to each. Checking the "Details of Theologians" in the back would have eliminated much of the uncertainty. I recommend that the reader consult it as he goes along, rather than reading it in turn at the end, as I did. Having read it through I plan to keep it as a reference for when I want to revisit a particular question or the work of a particular scholar.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent and lucid introduction to an endless subject. The bibliography is comprehensive, and it makes a great starting point for budding theologists.Published 15 months ago by Brian Cleland
This is an excellent piece of scholarly work that places at the finger tips snapshots of the development of Christian theology. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2014 by Adrian Tamblyn-Watts
This book arrived in good condition, if a little later than I would have liked , but certainly lived up to my expectations and requirements. Thank you.Published on 28 Nov. 2012 by Christine Ritson
It is difficult not to wax lyrical about Alister McGrath's grasp of theology and his skills in writing. Read morePublished on 10 Nov. 2012 by Mr R