Christian Thought

Christian Thought : A Brief History

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What does it mean to be a Christian at the dawn of the third millennium? What did it mean to be a Christian at the dawn of the first millennium? Christian Thought: A Brief History charts the path Christian thinkers have taken over the last 2,000 years searching for answers to some of the basic questions concerning existence and creation that have been churning in the minds of great thinkers for years. In 13 chapters, taken from the highly acclaimed Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, written by distinguished theologians and church historians from both sides of the Atlantic, themselves Christian thinkers, the reader is taken from Pre-Constantinian times to the end of the twentieth century. The chapters don't just travel through time, they also chronicle the journey through different traditions of thought - Eastern Orthodox thinking, Armenian and Syriac thought, and Byzantine theology as well as Western traditions. There is not one single strand of thought that can be identified as 'Christian thinking' and there are no observable facts. The history of 'Christian thinking' is made up of many strands which, even though they may be said to converge to the same point, are very distinct in their own right. The chapters in this book do not aim merely to explain or tell the story of 'thought', they reflect the thinking of the scholars who wrote them and aim to provoke the reader into further study.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 129 x 199.6 x 13mm | 158.76g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192802801
  • 9780192802804

Review Text

The history of Christian thought is an enormous thing to get down on paper, particularly in a book no longer than 175 pages. Startlingly, for a work this small, this is no short-stop gallop through 2000 years, either, but a well thought-out and surprisingly user-friendly guide to Christianity's intellectual activity from pre-Constantinian thought to the turn of the 21st century. The book consists of 13 chapters arranged in chronological order, each one forming a stand-alone overview to the period with which it is concerned: each 'essay' is written by an acknowledged expert in his or her period - always clearly, well and with the absence of unnecessary detail vital for such a brief collection. This is not to say that no effort is required of the reader: this is, essentially, a specialist subject, and anyone unfamiliar with the names, places and ideas introduced here will need to pay attention. But it is attention well rewarded: this is a classy, polished introduction to a vast body of work, a brief history culled from the Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, a large-format 800-page monster that offers expansion and substantiation of the ideas expounded here. As a gateway to this or any other in-depth work on the subject, this book is perfect: it shows clearly the path of the major influences and directions in Christian thought throughout the time addressed; and, importantly, it allows the reader to clarify the distinctions between doctrine, dogma and the intellectual processes that have created them. This is Christianity examining itself, recreating itself, urging itself forwards in line with the changing centuries: it is Christian historicism describing the mechanics of theology and the translation of religious tenets into the changing cultures of two millennia. In less than 200 pages, it is a rare thing. (Kirkus UK)show more

About Adrian Hastings

The late Adrian Hastings was Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Leeds. Alistair Mason recently retired as Senior Lecturer in Church History at the University of Leeds. Hugh Pyper is Head of School and Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies, University of Leeds.show more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION BY HUGH PYPER; EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS; ABBREVIATIONS; CHAPTERS I-XIII (SEE CONTRIBUTORS BELOW)show more

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