Key Thinkers in Christianity

Key Thinkers in Christianity

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Man is a born philosopher and since the beginning of existence he has been searching for a meaning to life. Key Thinkers in Christianity introduces some of the most brilliant minds we have known and shows the capacity of their ideas to endure the test of time and shape the way philosophy and Christianity have developed throughout history. From Irenaeus in the 2nd century to Hans Urs von Balthasar in the 20th century, this short selection links together some of the most profound ideas of all time, taking the reader on a journey through a history of thought, relevant for both Christian and non-Christian thinkers of the future. Some of the thinkers in this volume were not chosen purely for their insights and observations, but for the fact that other thinkers since have gone back to their ideas, others represent an age or a way of thinking. Although these thinkers are no longer alive, their observations and ideas remain important and their throughts are still the subject of study today. How relevant are the writings of Origen to the aspirations of modern day Christians? To what extent was Athanasius influenced by the thoughts of Origen? What impact did Martin Luther have on Christianity in Northern Europe during the Renaissance? What did Immanuel Kant have to say about Christian thinking? Why has there been a recent resurgence in interest in Kierkegaard's work? Why has there been a recent decline in interest in Bultmann's work? Was Karl Barth the greatest theologian of the 20th century? What did Karl Rahner think of Hans Urs von Balthasar's ideas?show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 202 pages
  • 131.1 x 199.6 x 14mm | 172.37g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192802798
  • 9780192802798
  • 1,985,878

About Adrian Hastings

The late Adrian Hastings was Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Leeds and a founder member of the Alliance to Defend Bosnia-Herzegovina. 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 more

Review Text

Christianity is so often depicted as a religion based on faith rather than reason that it's easy to forget just how much intellectual work has gone into the development of its complex theology over the last two thousand years. For this excellent short book, the editors have selected 23 brief essays from the Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, each summarising the work of one of the great thinkers, from Irenaeus in the second century to Hans Urs von Balthasar in the 20th. In Irenaeus's time Christianity was still persecuted and under continual pressure from pagans and Jews, but even in these earliest days there was a core of Christian thinkers determined to make the new religion as coherent and intellectually rigorous as possible. In the following centuries thinkers as profound as Origen and St Augustine hammered out the central doctrines of the religion, often doing their greatest work in the attempt to define orthodox Christianity against the so-called heresies of men like Arius and Pelagius. In the Middle Ages theologians turned their attention to even wider arguments - St Anselm's ontological argument and Thomas Aquinas's cosmological argument for the existence of God were fundamental to Christian thought for many centuries to come. With the Reformation theology again became crucial to political development as Martin Luther and his successors challenged the basics of Catholic theory and practice. Euan Cameron describes Luther's thought with clarity, explaining how he saw the process of justification and how his views threatened to destroy traditional religious practices and redraw the map of Europe. In the next centuries the insights of the Enlightenment were incorporated in Christian thought by philosophers like Hegel and Kierkegaard, and more recently theologians like Karl Barth have engaged with social and economic issues such as the relationship between Christianity and capitalism. These summaries are not for those new to theology; although there are useful mini-biographies of the thinkers in question, the essays are focused on the details of their work, and assume some knowledge of academic theology and its vocabulary. But students and serious amateurs of Christian doctrine will find this an invaluable reference book, and it certainly bears testimony to the vitality and intellectual rigour of Christian thought through the ages. (Kirkus UK)show more

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