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Christian Theology: An Introduction 3rd Edition Paperback – February 16, 2001

20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631225287 ISBN-10: 0631225285 Edition: 3rd

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is an extraordinary achievement, a tour de force which will introduce thousands of students to theology as a discipline with a rich heritage, a clear sense of its own methods and norms, and an elusive yet articulate understanding of Christian language." Reviews in Religion and Theology (of the previous edition)<!--end-->

"This publication is a seminal text for the student or teacher of Christian Theology. Its readability and general presentation make it a very accessible text for those with a general interest in this area of academic endeavour. In essence this is a text which would be a useful and valuable resource for the teacher or student of theology. For school-based practitioners it is a very sound teacher reference text. It contains in one volume a very thorough treatment of the key developments in Christian Theology over the past 2000 years." Religious Education Journal of Australia

"At this time when the interest in Christianity has become global and new interpretations are on the horizon, it is good to come across a scholar who is dedicated to the teaching of Theology worldwide to let us all see for ourselves what the great western thinkers said in the past. Having successfully used McGrath’s Introduction to Christian Theology, I am pleased to see a reader of this kind allowing for the teaching of a more advanced courses where primary sources make a difference." Isabel Mukonyora, Western Kentucky University

About the Author

Alister E. McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. He is one of the world’s leading theologians and the author of numerous popular theology textbooks, including The Christian Theology Reader (second edition, 2001), Christian Literature: An Anthology (2000), Christian Spirituality (1999), Reformation Thought (third edition, 1999), Historical Theology (1998), and An Introduction to Christianity (1997), all available from Blackwell. He is also author of A Brief History of Heaven (2003), and co-editor of The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism (2003).


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition (February 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631225285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631225287
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alister E. McGrath is a historian, biochemist, and Christian theologian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A longtime professor at Oxford University, he now holds the chair in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London. He is the author of several books on theology and history, including Christianity's Dangerous Idea, In the Beginning, and The Twilight of Atheism. He lives in Oxford, England, and lectures regularly in the United States.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on March 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alister McGrath has become a publishing industry. He churns out books and articles, popular as well as scholarly, at a dizzying pace. His outpouring of words speaks to his evangelical zeal. He's a man on a mission, intent on revitalizing Anglicanism in particular and Christianity in general. Whether one totally agrees with his own theological perspective, this is an admirable aim. Moreover, he carries around an incredibly wealth of theological knowledge. But the swiftness with which he publishes also makes for a certain amount of sloppiness. His books tend to be poorly proofed and highly repetitious.
The third edition of McGrath's _Christian Theology_ reflects all of these characteristics. McGrath's target audience is clearly seminarians, the very people he hopes will evangelically enliven the Church. It is breathtaking in its sweep. One can't but admire the incredible learning displayed by McGrath. And it is poorly proofed and at times tediously repetitious.
In all fairness to McGrath, the book really does fill a much-needed need for a single-volumed overview of Christian theology that isn't overtly sectarian. McGrath's book is roughly divided into two sections: historical and systematic theology. In the first section, he gives an overview of the historical roots and development of Christian doctrine. In the second section, he systematically discusses all the topics one would expect, ranging from the Trinity to eschatology.
As an Anglican evangelical, McGrath has obviously been terribly influenced by the Reformed tradition, and the authors he most frequently cites in the book are in that camp, from Luther and Calvin to Barth and Moltmann. But in this edition, he's gone out of his way to also discuss Roman Catholic and Orthodox perspectives.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best single-volume broad-scope introductions to Christian theology available today. Currently in its second edition, it will most likely have more editions, and there are frequent reprintings of the edition as it continues to be a field-specific best seller in the English speaking academic and seminary communities.
One of the things that makes this book such a useful text for teaching, reference and study is that is contains three primary sections that deal with the foundation issues of all subsequent Christian theology: one must be aware of the history and what has been done before; one must know the how, where and why of theology; and one must have a basic outline, pattern or understanding from which to begin.
Landmarks: Periods, Themes, and Personalities
The pattern of historical development on Christianity is presented in a fairly objective manner by McGrath. He deals with a broad overview of the major periods, looking at key theological developments as well as key persons, events and geographic groupings and distinctions. Most chapters follow the same pattern of setting out a clarification of terms, a brief overview historically, a presentation of key theologians, an examination of key theological developments, a section on key names, word and phrases, and a section of questions and further suggested readings.
The Patristic Period is the time of the Church Fathers, post-apostolic but while `the world' was still a Roman world. Key in this period is the fixing of creedal formulations of doctrine, the establishment of the biblical canon, and various issues of church, grace, and tradition. Key figures McGrath highlights are Justin Martyr, Ireneaus of Lyon, Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Augustine.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Gilbert on June 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Alister McGrath has written an excellent, helpful volume in this introduction text to Christian Systematic Theology. Here's a quick partial listing of what the book includes and how it's structured:
Part 1: Landmarks: Periods, Themes, and Personalities of Christian Theology
-includes chapters on The Middle Ages, Refomation, Modern Period, et. al.
Part 2: Sources and Methods
-includes chapters on Preliminaries, Sources of Theology, Knowledge of God (Natural and Revealed), Philosophy and Theology, et. al.
Part 3: Christian Theology
-includes chapters on the Doctrine of God, Doctrine of the Trinity, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, the Doctrine of Salvation in Christ, Christianity and World Religions, et. al.
Overall, the book is an excellent starting point for coming to an understanding of Christian theology. McGrath is suprisingly unbiased in his overviews of all the topics in the book: only on occasion is it possible to see his own opinions peeking out through the wealth of information provided.
McGrath's book is fair because it has such a huge breadth to it: it would be hard to claim that any one group or believe in particular has been short sighted.
In addition, because of the book's highly structured layout, this serves as an excellent reference book for nearly any area of theology for at least a basic overview. Furthermore, each chapter ends with a secion for "Further Reading" in which McGrath provides a listing of other works on the individual topics presented in each chapter.
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