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An excellent introduction to Sacramental Theology
on 18 August 2013
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. (Anyone who has tried to work out which chapters of 'For the Church' were written by Davison or Millbank, A will find their task that much more difficult having read this book!)
My only complaint (and it is a very minor one) is that Davison states that towns with Cathedrals in them are automatically considered Cities. Cities are normally formed by Royal Charter rather than by the presence of a Cathedral in their environs, thus Southwark is a Borough (of London) and not a city, despite the presence of three Cathedrals (Anglican, Catholic and Greek Orthodox).