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Christology: A Global Introduction

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ISBN-13: 978-0801026218
ISBN-10: 0801026210
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Veli-Matti Karkkainen (D. Theol., University of Helsinki) is associate professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and also holds teaching posts at the University of Helsinki and Iso Kirja College in Finland. He is the author of Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective and An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical, and Global Perspectives.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801026210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801026218
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By G. Gilbert on May 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Karkkainen's book has very pertinant material in it, but this book is clearly not for everyone...I really wouldn't recommend this book as an introduction to Christianity - it would be far too confusing. However, for someone who's interested in discovering how Jesus/the Christ is viewed around the world, this book is perfect.
The title is clear enough: this book contains ideas from around the world and across the theological spectrum looking at that ever important question: what was Christ's purpose? This book is designed as a survey, and therefore does not cover every little detail of every little belief about who and what Christ was. However, it does serve as an excellent introduction to these issues.
The book is broken into four different sections: Christ in the Bible, Christ in History, Christ in Contemporary World: Western Christologies, and Christ in the Contemporary World: Contextual Christologies. Some of the theologians/theologies that are looked at include but are not limted to: Karl Barth - Dialectical Christology; Rudolf Bultmann - Mythological Christology; Paul Tillich - Existentialist Christology; Jurgen Moltmann - Messianic Christology; John Hick - Universalist Christology; Jon Sobrino - Christ as Liberator; and Benezet Bujo - Christ as Ancestor.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kathy F. Cannata on December 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Karkkainen is Finnish, teaching occasionally at Fuller Seminary, I gather. Don't let the Fuller connection (or the blurp from Roger Olson - uptight postevangelical) scare you off. Karkkainen's own view point may seem less orthodox than many would like (including this reader),

but this is a WONDERFUL survey of all the streams of thought throughout

Church history and across the globe. I really wish I had this when I was in

the intro. courses at seminary. It is INCREDIBLY ACCESSIBLE and lucid. He

will summarize the unique contribution and distinctiveness of say Locke or

Pannenberg in one sentence, without oversimplifying. Its stunning how

good this guy is at summarizing ideas and contrasting them with others. It

is very irenic too.

Karkkainen is comfortable in his own skin and just unapologetically revels in his ecumenical neo-orthodoxy.

A great read for those secure and mature in their own theology and not looking to adopt Karkkainen's views, but to use him to understand other positions.

See the review preceding this one for a list of topics covered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
"it seems that Kärkkäinen's real subject matter is not Christology so much as the whole of Christian theology, viewed from a Christological vantage point. ... Kärkkäinen observes that dividing Christology into considerations of Christ's 'person' and 'work' is to some extent artificial. " Ch. Hefling

Christology is defined by the Webster Dictionary as "the study of the work and person of Jesus Christ." The Chalcedonian definition failed to resolve the disagreements between Alexandria and Antioch in their approach and theological treatment. Its criticism arose from within the church since the Enlightenment and peaked during early twentieth century. The council of Chalcedon declared that Christ's humanity was 'consubstantial' with ours, but this boundary definition, was short of a concrete understanding of Christ's human nature. Such speculative interpretation, was approached and expounded differently by various theologians.

Kärkkäinen whose ecumenical Christology, was summarized in salvation as union, exposed in his more recent book, "One with God." The author provides a comprehensive review of the topic in which he articulated three basic scopes on Christology. His compressed overview of biblical and historical narratives summarizes studies in Christology over the church history. Inevitably his treatment is selective, causing a gap between the third council and the Reformation. The heart of his ecumenical Christology is his compelling discussion of ten Western Christologies from eminent contemporary theologians including Barth, Grenz, Moltmann, Rahner, Tillich and Zizioulas.

I agree with the informed reviewer that the book is, "A great read for those secure and mature in their own theology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. M. S. on December 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
"Kärkkäinen is correct in his desire not to suppress the plurality of approaches to the person and work of Christ. Many of the Christologies presented in the book contain legitimate and relevant applications of Jesus. However, this plurality must recognize a common basis for acknowledging the significance of studying Christ, namely the conviction that Jesus is the unique manifestation of God to humanity. From an evangelical perception, the book requires substantial supplemental material in critical areas concerning the orthodoxy and biblical soundness of many of the approaches. Therefore, Kärkkäinen’s Christology is not recommended for the average layperson and should only be read alongside other materials that present a biblically-oriented, orthodox Christology."

For a complete and scholarly review of this book, please visit:

liberty.academia.edu/DarrenSlade/Book-Reviews
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