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Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition Hardcover – September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition
  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300093888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300093889
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Credo proves once again - if proof were needed - why Jaroslav Pelikan, learned, passionate, and literate, is the premier historical theologian of our time." Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, The University of Notre Dame

From the Back Cover

"Credo proves once again-if proof were needed-why Jaroslav Pelikan, learned, passionate, and literate, is the premier historical theologian of our time."-Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, The University of Notre Dame

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Customer Reviews

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This book weighs in at a hefty 600+ pages and is chuck full of his elegant and scholarly prose.
matt
Content: CREDO is a comprehensive yet very accessible history of creeds in Christianity, their role, the struggles, and the need for them.
P. M Simon
If you have an interest in how we got our definitions of faith in Christianity, you would be well served to read this book.
P. Hamm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 126 people found the following review helpful By matt on September 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If the words of my title ring a bell, then I assume that you have been saying the main creed of orthodox Christianity for some time. But what you may not know is the fascinating history behind the creed. Whole empires were torn apart in its development over "one iota" about who Christ is, lone theologians fought "contra mundi" for the truth, and political intrigue weighed heavy upon bishops and kings. After Nicea II, several other ecumenical councils were required to delineate the ground upon which theology could be built in reaction to the various challenges both philosophical and cultural that were presented to the faith's expression. Serving as a floor rather than a limiting ceiling, the creeds and the dogmas serve the Church as a sort of map by which we may travel in our faith without getting too lost in the byways of bizarre speculation or individualism.
Before I actually looked at the book, I thought that it would either be a slim volume of original work, owing to Pelikan's age and seemingly fast publishing schedule, or a large tome of primary sources with his insightful notes adding commentary. Oh how I was wrong on my first count! This book weighs in at a hefty 600+ pages and is chuck full of his elegant and scholarly prose. It is not so intellectually lofty that the novice would be intimidated, but perhaps works such as Kelly's "Early Christian Creeds" or Leo Davis' "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils" would serve as good companions. There is always that other fine work, "Beginning to Read the Creeds".
Pelikan is truly the master historian of doctrinal development, and the whole notion of creed is intimately bound to that development.
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83 of 87 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Credo: I believe...
With these words, Christians around the globe and across the millennia have on a regular basis begun their regular recitation of faith. Christianity has been from very early days a faith that has laid heavy emphasis on orthodoxy (right belief) apart from (but not always separate from) orthopraxy (right action) - indeed, Christianity has always hoped that right belief leads to right action, but it has put the focus upon right belief as the foundation.
Jaroslav Pelikan, emeritus professor of History at Yale has written extensively on the history of Christendom, specialising in many of these texts on the history of Christian belief (his masterful five-volume series on this topic is still a standard). Honoured with degrees, awards, and even a post at the Library of Congress, there are few in the same league as Pelikan when it comes to developing the history of Christian thought. This particular volume, 'Credo', is both a stand-alone volume of the basic history of development of the creeds or belief structures of the major strands of Christianity, and also serves as an introductory volume in the larger work 'Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition', a series most likely to find a home in major libraries, but rarely in individuals' homes, save the most serious of scholars. That is not a problem with this volume, however; as it should find a place of honour in the libraries of Christians Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant.
Pelikan, an ecumenically minded scholar but decidedly orthodox Christian, gives an admirably fair overview of the traditions presented here, striving as best he can to preserve the terminology of each tradition as each defines itself.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By P. Hamm VINE VOICE on June 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have an interest in how we got our definitions of faith in Christianity, you would be well served to read this book. It is not a "story" per se, however, and it will only give you an overview of the process as it has occurred over the centuries. Also, Pelikan is VERY academic in his language and presentation, so you might get a little lost from time to time among his lists and examples. However, if you can stick with it, he drives his points home with precision, and rarely is an issue raised with just a single example or reference, so you will get the gist of what he's saying, even if you can't follow everything.
I came away from this work marveling at the surprising UNITY of the very diverse (on the surface anyway) orthodox Christian faith through the centuries, and feeling that it was very hard not to see the hand of God in it. Pelikan knows this subject like (I imagine) no one ever has. He speaks from an authority that is remarkably.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By P. M Simon on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Teaser: If you belong to either of the two largest Christian bodies, Roman or Orthodox, you stand and recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed every Sunday, saying "I believe in One God, the Father Almighty..."

Yet, these two ancient bodies schismed over the addition of just two words to this creed and Christians have never again been a united church.

This alone should give anyone interested in Christian history sufficient reason to read an excellent book about Creeds.

Content: CREDO is a comprehensive yet very accessible history of creeds in Christianity, their role, the struggles, and the need for them. Origins, conflicts, and evolution are all well-addressed.

Level: You can read and enjoy this book, and learn much, regardless of whether you are just exploring what it means when you say "I believe," are up to wondering what the origins of the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed are, or are interested in the subtle nuances of theology behind the filioque clause.

What Creed does your church use? Where did it come from? What is the difference between a statement of belief and a profession of faith? CREDO explains all of this and so much more, and does it clearly and completely.

Well-worth buying! A must for any Christian's library!

Extra Details about the Author: As many have noted, Dr. Pelikan was a professor of Christianity at Yale and an ordained Lutheran minister. He was the leading Christian historian of the 20th century. His books on Luther and Lutheran doctrine and history, written in the 60's, remain touchstones on the topic.

Less known, is that Dr. Pelikan, who fell asleep in the Lord in 2005, retired from the Ministry and Yale and left the Lutheran Church.
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