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Systematic Theology: The Complete Three Volumes Kindle Edition
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Though there remain a few quite minor formatting flaws in this edition, the editor completed a daunting task to make this complex work conveniently available for Kindle, and at a wonderful price.
Many, many thanks!
I think Hodge spent too much time talking about the viewpoints he didn't believe in which take up too much space in this work.
I once worked for a supervisor of whom was said "ask him what time it is, and he'll tell you how to build a watch". If you asked Hodge how to be saved, he may give you a 60+ page dissertation on the meaning of the word faith (he does in this work). At times I think he's too wordy.
Another thing that caught me off guard is all the Latin in this book. It's in important places, too. He may refer to the work of a by gone Biblical scholar to make a point, but the quote is in Latin. I'm sure if I would have been in his classes at Princeton, I'd have known Latin. I'm not going to learn it now.
In my opinion if you want a great Systematic Theology, get Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer's. There's none that can top it. Dr. Chafer does quote Hodge several times in his work.
I think Hodge's work is an important part of my library.
This masterpiece excels in two areas. First, he takes seriously the thoughts of so many great theologians from the 16th-20th centuries. And not just Lutherans. Though of course he does justice to the giants of Lutheran thought, going back to Luther and Melanchthon. But the list includes Althaus, Barth, E. & P. Brunner, Bultmann, Ebeling, Harnack, Hegel, Jungel, Kant, Kasper, Koch, Kretschmar, Kuhn, Lehmann, Moltmann, Pottmeyer, Rahner, Ratzinger, Ritschl, Schleiermacher, Stein, Tillich, Troeltsch, Weiss, Wilckens, and Zizioulas. And if you know the names you're seeing some Roman Catholics, Reformed, and Orthodox!
Anyone considering buying this should study the Table of Contents, to see what all he covers, and the Index, to see all the authorities cited. And while the work is learned and geared toward theologians, it is accessible enough to a layman like myself, one without formal theological training. Just make sure to have a good dictionary available at times for certain words (e.g., aorist or preterite) and concepts (e.g., ontic, Nous, perichoresis).
Of course, the footnotes and citations are worth the price of admission alone. Every page is worth studying.
But please do NOT expect to agree with everything he writes. He opines about so many things. The key is to listen to the thought and then decide for yourself. For example, I found his arguments in support of women's ordination weak! But I still pondered them. And his thoughts on homosexuality, while orthodox, aren't very strong. And being Orthodox, I was pleasantly surprised to see his arguments against the filioque. His discussions about ministry and apostolic succession are most rewarding to all concerned.
The real joy of this work is his ecumenical perspective. There is no other work of systematic theology that both engages the Roman Catholic-Lutheran-Orthodox worlds as well, nor which then ends up integrating them to their maximal congruence. I think he makes the case for valid Lutheran orders (as economia due to the circumstances of the 16th ban by Rome to ordain evangelical ministers) as well as a papal primacy (but not supremacy or infallibility) and councils (the process of reception over time by the laity).
Keep in mind at all times that Pannenberg has one overriding consistency to his theology, one that he attempts to apply wherever and whenever he can. To him, all Christian life and theology has to take into account the eschaton, the final consummation of our current life into our resurrected eternal life. This has radical implications for so much. And it was so refreshing to have this perspective come to the fore. We think too much about the theology of the now, rather than the world to come, which is without end.
My only wish, why couldn't there be a picture of the author?!?! As well as a biographical page and a complete citation of his major works. The footnotes essentially substitute for any bibliography. But you can't have it all.
Now as to Kindle editions. Don't buy this one. For a systematic theology to be helpful, it has to have a Linked Table of Contents. The three separate $0.99 editions (Volumes 1, 2, and 3) do not. For $1.99 you can get "Systematic Theology (With Active Table of Contents) [Kindle Edition]" which is a working electronic edition in one combined volume.