Christian Theology: An Introduction to Its Traditions and Tasks

Christian Theology: An Introduction to Its Traditions and Tasks

Christian Theology: An Introduction to Its Traditions and Tasks

Christian Theology: An Introduction to Its Traditions and Tasks

Synopsis

This highly acclaimed and widely used volume now in its third edition, is a collaborative presentation of the chief Christian doctrines in light of their traditional theological formulations, their historical development, and contemporary challenges. Joined by David Tracy, Langdon Gilkey, Edward Farley, Sallie McFague, and many others, Hodgson and King explore the task of theology, method, scripture and traditions, God, revelation, creation, human being, sin and evil, Christ and salvation, church, sacraments, the Spirit and Christian life, the reign of God, other religions, and "the Christian paradigm."Each chapter sets forth the primary shape and substance of a doctrine, its historical development, "how that tradition has been challenged and transformed under the pressures of modern thought," and new and persistent issues that set the agenda for future theological work. Written with intelligence and verve, and newly updated, Christian Theology has proven a superlative introduction to Christianity's classical heritage and its future theological horizons. Companion volumes include Readings in Christian Theology and Reconstructing Christian Theology.

Excerpt

This book, which first appeared in 1982, is the product of a collaborative process begun seven years earlier at a meeting hosted by the theological faculty of Vanderbilt Divinity School. Those attending this meeting included theologians from several major theological centers in the United States. In spite of obvious denominational and methodological differences, we shared a desire that theology should become a more effective practice and a hope that collaboration could contribute to that outcome. We would help each other in various ways; we would address the needs of theological education; and we would be concerned with specific theological issues, themes and problems affecting the church as a whole. We decided to call ourselves the Workgroup on Constructive Theology.

We soon recognized that the teaching of theology both in seminary and college could benefit from a text that would provide an understanding of the transformations undergone by the tradition, but we found the work of collaboration required to produce this text more difficult than anticipated. By meeting together for periods of several days at the Institute of Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Collegeville, Minnesota, we were eventually able to achieve consensus on the development of Christian theology and the manner in which it could best be presented. All of the members of the group, some fifteen to twenty altogether, shared in the discussion and critique of the early chapter drafts that were extensively revised before achieving their final form. The result is a book written by individuals with different points of view yet a shared vision of the “traditions and tasks” of Christian theology.

The purpose of this work is twofold: (1) to introduce the student of theology to the Christian tradition by setting forth in brief compass its primary shape and substance, and (2) to pose the issues for systematic theology in the present day by showing how that tradition has been challenged and transformed under the pressures of modern thought. Our intent is not to write a history of theology, though it . . .

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