The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Synopsis

This introductory text by F. LeRon Shults and Andrea Hollingsworth outlines the major movements and figures in the historical unfolding of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, with special attention on the role of philosophical interpretation and spiritual transformation, showing how historical developments have shaped contemporary trends in pneumatology.

Excerpt

Christian theology is in the midst of an academic revival of interest in pneumatology — the study of the Spirit (pneuma) of God. Most treatments of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the middle of the twentieth century began with a complaint about the inadequacy of the Christian tradition’s treatment of the “third person” of the Trinity (e.g., Hendry, 1956; Come, 1959). in the last few decades, however, reflection on the Spirit has come to the forefront of discussions within and across theological disciplines (e.g., systematic, biblical, and practical theology). Moreover, pneumatology has increasingly become a generative theme around which creative dialogue across religious traditions has flourished (e.g., ecumenism and interreligious dialogue).

In order to understand this dramatic growth of attention to the Holy Spirit in recent Christian theology, we must explore the factors that contributed to the waxing and waning of the tide of pneumatological interest throughout church history. Part I of this book identifies the key turning points and major thinkers who shaped the development of this doctrine, beginning with early Christian interpretations of the Spirit and concluding with a summary of contemporary trends in the ongoing task of reconstruction. For those who are interested in diving more deeply into particular aspects of the doctrine, this overview is supplemented by an annotated bibliography of English language resources in Part ii.

This introduction provides an overview of the significance of our theme in the biblical witness and outlines some of the concerns that shape pneumatological discourse. This contribution to the Eerdmans Guides to Theology series is about the Guide of theological inquiry.

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