Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Christian Community in History. Vol. 1: Historical Ecclesiology

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Christian Community in History. Vol. 1: Historical Ecclesiology

Article excerpt

General Christian Community in History. Vol. 1: Historical Ecclesiology. By Roger Haight. (New York: Continuum. 2004. Pp. x, 438. $34.95.)

The prior decade, but especially the last few years, has seen a short but rich shelf of books on ecclesiology from both established and emerging scholars (Joseph Komonchak, Thomas Rausch, Richard Gaillardetz, Bernard Prusak, Gerard Mannion, Christopher Ruddy, et al.). This research represents a natural summation, re-evaluation, and reconfiguring of the generation of scholarship sparked by Vatican II's promulgation of Lumen gentium and Gaudium et spes, now just over forty years ago. Roger Haight's Historical Ecclesiology joins this company as the first of his two-volume Christian Community in History. (Volume 2: Comparative Ecclesiology covering the Reformation through contemporary developments, appeared in 2005.) Haight intends Christian Community in History to form a sort of trilogy with his Dynamics of Theology (1990, 2001) and Jesus Symbol of God (1999).

Haight begins with a discussion of what he defines as historical ecclesiology: an exploration of a lived rather than a theoretical ecclesiology, despite the fact that the study must attend to theories of the nature and function of the Church in addition to her actual experiences. He explains that he intends the phrase "historical ecclesiology" to mean ecclesiology "from below" as opposed to "from above "or an abstract and ahistorical approach. Indeed, a "from above" approach has not been characteristic of the most recent studies in the field, although Haight's date of publication indicates that he was probably unable to engage some of the newly-published scholarship of his colleagues who have likewise been pairing ecclesiological concepts with the difficult realities and diverse contexts of church history.

Haight "intends to do more than simply lay out the various ecclesiologles that have been generated in the course of history. …

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