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Learning Theology with the Church Fathers + Church History, Volume One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context + Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 8/16/02 edition (August 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830826866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830826865
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher A. Hall is chancellor of Eastern University and dean of the Templeton Honors College. He is also associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

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Customer Reviews

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The language is not an easy read but very good.
R, Schexnaiyder
Probably more books have been written in the last 50 years on "pop theology" in the religious book market than any other type of book.
Mac D. Culver
I recommend this to anyone who is interested in the topic.
marcus jon cleveland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By matt on April 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very useful, but in a rather limited way. While Hall clearly is a master in his field, he falls into the common pitfall of most books of this sort. In a sense this is unavoidable, but then the title should not be taken to mean (or meant to mean) that the book covers all the main themes on a given subject in the fahters. I do not mean the minor opinions of some main fathers either. For example, in his discussion on the human condition, ,Hall fails to represent the Eastern Orthodox tradition in any way. What is represented is the typical Augustine vs. Pelagius dispute with the mediating roman council's declaration on the matter. This misses so much of what the eastern fathers have to say on the matter. Again, this is a great book, but it is not representative of the fathers as a whole. It fails to capture the patristic mind.
I guess my qualm is more with what I expected thebook ot be based upon teh fathers and not with the book as such, but the title should really be something more like "Selected themes from selected fathers". But who, besides geeks like me, would read a book with that title?
Enjoy the read!
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Learning Theology is the second in Christopher Hall's three-volume introduction to patristic theology. The first volume, Reading Scripture with the Fathers, recounts the approaches to biblical exegesis of eight theologians of the catholic tradition. The third proposed volume, Praying with the Church Fathers, will examine the spiritual disciplines and worship of the ancient church. Learning Theology explores the major loci of Christian dogmatics, (for example, the Trinity, Christology, ecclesiology, soteriology) as articulated by major patristic theologians. Hall confesses up front the problematic nature of the division of the trilogy. On the one hand, the Fathers would not have separated dogma from Scripture. On the other hand, theology for the Fathers was never separated from the life of piety. Rather, faithful theology arises only out of the life of spiritual discipline and within the corporate worship of the Church. As a "primer for beginners," Learning Theology must, for pedagogical purposes, operate within this artificial division.
One of the strengths of the book for which Hall deserves commendation is the range of the audience for whom he has written. Although he assumes that it might serve as an introduction for seminary students, it does not replace the classic introductory textbooks on patristics, such as J. N. D. Kelley's Early Christian Doctrine or Francis Young's From Nicaea to Chalcedon. Hall is not interested in explaining the historical development of Christian doctrine.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Glickenhaus on October 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is the second in a three part series surveying the various aspects of early church history.
Book 1 - Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers (examination of various hermeneutical methods, focusing upon the differing schools of Alexandria and Antioch).
Book 3 (forthcoming) - Praying with the Church Fathers (deals with sacramentology and pietism among other things).
This second book details with the basic components of theology, showing how the fathers wrestled through the major issues. HOWEVER, this book does not detail all the major players. Hall instead has opted to take the major names associated with the various positions and deal with those two (or three) in detail, rather than having to paint broad strokes about everyone.
Among the issues are:
(1) Christ the Son, Begotten and Not Made
(2) Mystery and Wonder of the Trinity
(3) Christ Divine and Human
(4) Holy Spirit
(5) Sin, Grace and the Human Condition
(6) Providence
(7) The Sacred Scriptures
(8) One Holy, Apostolic Church
(9) Resurrection and Eternal Life
One of the things I like best about this book is its broad appeal. It not only deals with the heady theological problems, but also seeks to affect the heart as well. Consequently, whether you're well versed in historical theology or not, you should read this book (meditatively) at least once. You will not regret it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent overview of the theological approach to Christian doctrine as practiced by the early Church Fathers. While Hall's previous book in the series lacked some degree of practicality, this book is full of useful historical and doctrinal detail in dealing with how the Church explored issues such as the Trinity, the Divine-Human Nature of Christ, and Original Sin and Human Nature. A must for anyone interested in rediscovering the ancient ways of thinking about the Christian Faith. I can't wait for the third in the series dealing with spirituality, prayer, and the sacraments.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mac D. Culver on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Probably more books have been written in the last 50 years on "pop theology" in the religious book market than any other type of book. Now here is a book on the ancient faith that was delivered to the ancient church.
It is not "easy beliveism" but is rich with the words of the Apostles and those who sat at their feet.
Both comforting and challenging, it is a most valuable resource for a serious seeker.
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