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Christology: A Global Introduction 6.1.2003 Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
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; 6.1.2003 edition (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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Taking two thousand years of Christian theology and surveying it in fewer than three hundred pages is no small feat, especially when one includes the complexities of world religions. Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen has engaged these diverse theological strands and offers students of theology an inclusive and largely successful survey on the person and work of Jesus Christ. He does this in four distinct parts.

Part one includes a survey of the New Testament witness to Christ, beginning with the various Christological titles employed to describe Jesus. Titles such as κύριος and Χριστός—among many others—are expounded upon, thanks to the previous scholarship of James D.G. Dunn, yielding a unity and diversity of Christological viewpoints within the New Testament. Kärkkäinen’s presentation is helpful and succinct because he draws upon current scholarship and is quick to inform the student about the complex theological titles for Jesus. He then turns to Jesus and the Gospels, where the great themes are briefly elucidated: for Mark, suffering and servanthood; for Matthew, kingship and Jewish identity; for Luke, inclusion; for John, the word as life. However, one can always press for more detail: for example, the Lukan theme of ‘eschatological reversal’ is not mentioned, and would have strengthened Kärkkäinen’s contention for inclusion, as Mary’s Magnificat praises YHWH for “bringing down the powerful” and as the one who has “lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:46-55). The inclusion of women, gentiles and the poor in Luke’s rendering of Christ’s ministry would have helped flesh out this vital contention, as it is a dominant Luke motif.
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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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