God Incarnate: Explorations in Christology

Article excerpt

God Incarnate: Explorations in Christology, By Oliver D. Crisp. London: T&T Clark, 2009. 200 pp. $130.00 (cloth}; $34.95 (paper).

Oliver D. Crisp calls his new book an "exercise in analytic theology" (p. 1). By analytic theology he means to employ some current techniques and methods conducive to contemporary analytic philosophy to traditional questions in Christology. Despite these ambitions, this book is not weighted down with complex philosophical concepts or jargon. Crisp presents a thorough analysis of traditional doctrine in accessible terms. Thus, his book is truly an analytic theology.

Crisp explores subjects such as theological method, election, préexistence, the virgin birth, the sinlessness of Christ, materialist Christology, and multiple incarnations. The book presents eight chapters, each of which is designed to be readable on its own. The method and the topic, analytic philosophy and Christology, are what bring the chapters together.

Crisp says that he writes as a "Reformed Catholic." Not seeing this as a contradiction in terms, his intention is to maintain the identity of a reformed theologian while also cultivating an ecumenical disposition. "Orthodox" is a word he uses often to describe his favored position and appears to be what he means by ecumenical. There is a polarity in his writing between the orthodox thinkers and the revisionist that at times seems to contradict his commitment to ecumenism.

The book is strongest in its exposition and analysis of traditional doctrinal issues concerning Christology. Crisp clearly identifies what is at stake in a particular historical doctrine along with what motivates adherents to defend such a position. Furthermore, his own position in defense or improvement of orthodoxy is rigorously and clearly argued. …