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The College Student's Introduction to Christology Paperback – December 1, 1996
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Why did some people want Jesus dead, while others came to honor him as the Christ? What does it mean to say that he was raised," and how did this belief get started? What about the classical expressions of Jesus' religious significance? Where did they come from and what do they mean? What does belief in Jesus have to do with justice for the poor, the women's movement, concern for the environment, and respect for other world religions? These are just a few of the questions that have given Christology a whole new shape in recent years. Through the process of inquiry, conversation, and debate, students, clergy, and other professional ministers receive a complete introduction into the current thinking about Jesus' religious significance the present stage of Christology.
In The College Student's Introduction to Christology, Loewe focuses on Christology today, especially the religious significance of Jesus for culture and society. By surveying Jesus' life in light of the Easter experience and by tracing the Christological process the process whereby Christians seek to capture and communicate in words Jesus' salvific impact this work grasps current Christian, and especially Catholic, theological reflection on the significance of Jesus.
Loewe focuses on becoming familiar with issues regarding how people discuss Jesus today; grasping the historical and cultural background from which these issues emerged; and developing an understanding of the methods for resolving them.
Part One deals with the question of the historical Jesus, Part Two examines the origin and meaning of Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection, and Part Three uncovers the Christological process as it unfolds through the New Testament, classical patristic dogma, and today.
The ways in which Christians have sought to express Jesus' religious significance offer insight for what those exThe College Student's Introduction to Christology offers individuals a method for encountering Christ in the world.
William P. Loewe, Ph.D., is associate professor and former chair of the Department of Religion and Religious Education at The Catholic University of America. His teaching and writing focus on Christology, soteriology, and Lonergan studies."
Professor Loewe has done undergraduate students and teachers a service. Well familiar with the outlook and questions of college people, he meets them where they are in exploring with them the mystery of Jesus Christ. The task is not easy but he does it well.Gerard Sloyan, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Temple University
The clarity of explanation that Loewe achieves is laudable. An excellent book for the undergraduate classroom.Religious Studies Review
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- Publisher : Liturgical Press (December 1, 1996)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 081465018X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0814650189
- Item Weight : 13 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Questions of the nature, person, and purpose of Jesus Christ, not to mention the sources available to us, demand the most critical application, particularly among those with hopes of an afterlife. Writing a Christology text for college students who believe they will live forever is no mean feat, and William P. Loewe carries a wry smile throughout the work in acknowledgement that he is asking his reader to stretch theological imagination and parochial upbringing to new boundaries. He respects and trusts his audience without compromise of his tradition and sources; it is not a "preachy" book in the pejorative sense of the word, and the author engages in his own metaphor to unpack the meaning of terms such as "The Kingdom of God.'"
Loewe treats of his subject in three major segments: the question of the historical Jesus, belief in the Resurrection, and "the Christological process." Section one casts a broad net and probably would be better divided again. Loewe begins with the late Enlightenment enthusiasm to recover, by scientific [i.e., historical] method, the life and times of Christ, beginning with Hermann Reimarus [d. 1768]. Prior to Reimarus the substance of the life of Jesus of Nazareth was a matter of faith, with the Four Gospels accepted as historical documents. Loewe traces the "Quest of the Historical Jesus," as it has come to be called, to its crashing halt in 1906 when Albert Schweitzer demonstrated how bizarre and off track this research and speculation was becoming.
The twentieth century study of Jesus took a different turn as Protestant biblical scholars, notably Rudolf Bultmann, put forward the first principles of Biblical analysis or criticism in use today. By the 1950's scholars had come to understand that Gospel evangelists were, first and foremost, inspired theologians and their Gospels were theological documents of meaning. Loewe goes on to unpack the significance of Jesus' deeds, but also of his proclamation of "The Kingdom of God," the various titles he ascribed [and did not ascribe] to himself, and the parables. Chapter Six is a particularly well crafted presentation on Jesus' call to repentance--the response to the arrival of the kingdom--and an effort to draw from modern psychology the degree and kind of moral change that Jesus was exhorting.
Loewe's second section treats of the Resurrection. Modern scholarship has identified two distinct biblical types: the empty tomb stories, and the appearance stories. The author explains how each evangelist has depicted appearances of the living Christ in harmony with the unique purpose of the Gospel overall. Luke, for example, depicts Jesus sending his disciples forth from Jerusalem, to continue the theme of Jerusalem Mother Church that will carry into Luke's narrative in the Acts of the Apostles. Mathew, by contrast, portrays this post-Easter missionary dismissal in Galilee, for reasons explained by the author. Chapter Eleven draws out the connection between the Resurrection and eternal destiny as understood by New Testament authors.
The final segment is the unfolding of what we might call the science of Christology. With the death of the apostles speculation over the meaning of New Testament events, and particularly over the nature of Jesus, became widespread over the four centuries after Jesus' death. In truth, the Christian Church itself, led by its bishops and influenced by its multicultural expanse, wrestled to define a precise formulation for a multitude of questions raised in the Scriptures themselves as well as philosophers of the time.
This is the so-called era of the Christological Councils [Nicaea, Ephesus, Chalcedon] that met between 325 and 451 CE. Chapter Fifteen explains what the Church has been able to define as matter of revealed Faith, and in some instances, what it has not. Pastorally speaking, the results of Chalcedon defined the presence of united divine and human natures in Christ, but it never went further to teach definitively on the consciousness of Christ. The Christian Church wisely adhered to the Pauline dictum that Christ was "like us in all things but sin" and the advice of Church fathers that "what is not assumed is not saved" [i.e., if Jesus had not shared the human experience completely--limited knowledge, confines of space and time, etc.--the human race would not have been saved. ] Such theological realities are sometimes heard as denials of Christ's divinity--let the teacher beware.
In the final analysis this work achieves what it set out to do: introduce the student to the Jesus of Nazareth through an understanding of his Jewish setting, the historical/theological sources by which he is known, and the manner in which his followers have attempted to revivify his meaning in each successive generation. Whether every generation was or is consoled by the attemps....that is beyond my pay grade. Tread carefully.