The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology

The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology

The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology

The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology


Covering everything from "Abba" to "Zwingli," The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology offers a comprehensive account of a wide sweep of topics and thinkers in Christian theology. Written entirely by eminent scholar Anthony Thiselton, the book features a coherence lacking in most multiauthored volumes.

Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge, gained from fifty-plus years of study and teaching, Thiselton provides some six hundred articles on various aspects of theology throughout the centuries. The entries comprise both short descriptive surveys and longer essays of original assessment on central theological topics -- such as atonement, Christology, God, and Holy Spirit -- and on such theologians as Aquinas, Augustine, Barth, Calvin, Küng, Luther, Moltmann, and Pannenberg. The book also includes a helpful time chart dating all of the theologians discussed and highlighting key events in Christian history; select reading suggestions conclude each of the longer entries.

Equally valuable for research and teaching, The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology will be a go-to reference for pastors, students, teachers, and theologians everywhere.


Several features of this Companion to Christian Theology are distinctive. First, a single author has written the 6oo-plus articles in this book. This has the advantage of coherence, and avoids the danger of presenting an uneven work, which often becomes the fate invited by a multiauthored volume. a single author provides a single judgment, in this case gained from fifty years of teaching and research. It also ensures that the entries receive the word length that each subject or thinker genuinely needs, rather than one imposed in advance by a general editor or format.

Second, a judicious balance between research material and a tool for teaching has been reached in the work. I originally conceived of this work as a teaching tool comparable to my Concise Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford: One World, 2002; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005). As I wrote, however, it became clear that many topics deserved long, thoughtful essays, which drew on research, evaluation, and careful judgment. the articles on God, Christology, and the Holy Spirit, for example, vary between 20,000 words and 28,000 words apiece. Similarly, the entry on the atonement merits 16,000 words. These are all subdivided into biblical and historical sections, and are often divided topically, for the sake of convenience and readability. Each section has its separate bibliography. Hence this work combines some shorter articles, which sometimes constitute explanatory teaching tools of 50-100 words, with longer articles that embody reflection and research. Some 122 articles exceed 1,000 words; over 480 are shorter articles.

I must bear full responsibility for the length and selection of each article, and I readily confess to the difficulty of choosing some subjects over others among 600 articles. There are bound to be mistakes. the length accorded to specific theologians varies enormously, depending on their creative originality and influence, and the confines of space. Wolfhart Pannenberg, for example, receives more than 8,000 words, and Karl Barth and Martin Luther some 6,000 words each. Augustine, Bultmann, Balthasar, Calvin, Küng, Moltmann, and Rahner receive 5,000, or a little less. On the other hand, numerous theologians receive less than 100 words, to explain their date and significance as briefly as possible.

Third, although I have made every effort to be scrupulously fair and accurate, I have often added my own value judgment or comment. This may be reflected even in some of the recommended reading. the average length of article is 700 . . .

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