Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Method in Ecumenical Theology. the Lessons So Far

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Method in Ecumenical Theology. the Lessons So Far

Article excerpt

Method in Ecumenical Theology. The Lessons So Far. By G. R. Evans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. xii + 233 pp. $54.95 (cloth).

This new study by Evans has appeared very soon after her previous book, her magisterial The Church and the churches, which served as an excellent resource for a recent doctoral seminar here at Loyola. The author is an Anglican historian and theologian well-known in the ecumenical world. Consequently, this new book raises great expectations. Its theme and goal are important because the accomplishments of the ecumenical dialogues between and among the churches call for assessment and publicity. It is also important to discern the trajectories of this new discipline of ecumenical theology which has taken shape during this century.

The book's seven chapters cover most of the central issues within this new ecclesial and scholarly enterprise of ecumenical theology. Thus, there are discussions of definition ("What is ecumenical theology?"), dialogue, ecumenical language, historical method, and reception, among other topics. Her observations on the motives and experiences of seasoned ecumenists like herself are illuminating and even moving.

Many of the expectations raised by this book, however, are not met and the book is far less useful than it might have been. It does not move much beyond the state of the question as set out in The Church and the churches. Nor does it contextualize the ecumenical movement's accomplishments accurately and comprehensively, since it adopts a traditional view of ecumenism's methods and goals. It takes little account of the significant new challenges and perspectives that come from the new churches of the Third World. …

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