Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Taking the Long View: Christian Theology in Historical Perspective

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Taking the Long View: Christian Theology in Historical Perspective

Article excerpt

Taking the Long View: Christian Theology in Historical Perspective. By David C. Steinmetz. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, Pp. ix, 187. $21.95.)

Taking the Long Vieiu is a collection of the theologically-oriented lectures and essays by the Reformation Church historian David Steinmetz. In this short work, Steinmetz discusses the consequences of Church history for the life of the Christian community.

The first essays in the book deal with the question of hermeneutics. Steinmetz favors a reevaluation of the privileged position held by postEnlightenment historical criticism. The historical-critical method assumes that the single correct meaning of the text is the one intended by the original human author. Steinmetz argues in two essays that pre-critical Christian exegesis was superior because of it recognized the possibility of multiple levels of meaning in the text of scripture. This being said, the historical interpretation of the texts is valuable, but it does not exhaust the possibilities of meaning that the Christian community can responsibly recognize.

In other essays, Steinmetz deals with theological issues debated by the Protestant reformers and their opponents. For example, in one essay Steinmetz discusses Marian dogmas and their significance. In a respectful tone, Steinmetz describes the role of Mary in medieval and contemporary Roman Catholic piety and provides a Protestant critique. …

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