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The Christian Theology Reader Paperback – 1 Dec 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Dec 2006
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The Christian Theology Reader
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Product details

  • Paperback: 792 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3rd Edition edition (1 Dec. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140515358X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405153584
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 4.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 936,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent companion volume to Alister McGrath's 'Introduction to Christian Theology'. The many and varied theological excerpts in the Reader are arranged under the same headings that he uses in his 'Introduction to Christian Theology'. The two books are thus easy to use alongside one another and 'The Christian Theology Reader' helps to flesh out what McGrath writes in his 'Introduction to Christian Theology' with historical examples from across the centuries.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This book was just what I was looking for. I wanted a good summary of Christian theology for the last two thousand years, so that I could make up my own mind about various questions. I didn't want anyone to feed me answers, but I did want someone to set out the options, and let me read representatives of each position. And this is exactly what this book did. McGrath provides more than three hundred extracts from leading Christian writers from all traditions, arranged under ten broad topical headings "God", "Christ", "Salvation", and so on. In every case, he provides a brilliant introduction to the reading, followed by comment. By the end of this, I felt as if I was some kind of genius. I had actually understood what this was all about! This is a great, great book if you are studying theology for yourself. It was recommended to me by a friend who used it at college, and she said it was even better when used with taught courses.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alister McGrath's `Christian Theology Reader' undertakes an enormous task. Fortunately, the premise of presenting aperitifs and canapés from the vast banquet of Christian theology works wonderfully. Amazon's `Search inside' feature reveals how McGrath has divided this work into ten large chapters, after the 20-odd page introduction & initial bibliography sections.

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.
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I'm not a theologian or scholar but I found this interesting to dip into. With many short extracts on theological topics (I was stuck on getting to grips with atonement at the time) I found this a very useful book to give short insights from both historical and modern perspectives. The introductions were helpful as were the comments. I think I would have got more if I had also had the introduction to theology that is its sister volume - on the list for next birthday!
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Format: Paperback
"The Christian Theology Reader" is a helpful collection of excerpts of theological writings from throughout the Christian era. Organized into ten topics, it enables the reader to seed differing perspectives ranging from the interplay between philosophy and theology through to the Last Things. Reading from cover to cover provides the reader with an overview of much of Theological thought.

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.
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