Christianity: Essence, History and Future


"A big book on a big subject by the biggest name in contemporary theology ... Anyone ... interested in Christanity would find Kung's latest masterpiece a permanent enrichment of the mind."
—Church Times

"Kung is brilliant and exciting."
—Christian Century

"A dazzling display of scholarship."
—Library Journal

"The best yet from one of the world's premier teachers ... ...

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"A big book on a big subject by the biggest name in contemporary theology ... Anyone ... interested in Christanity would find Kung's latest masterpiece a permanent enrichment of the mind."
—Church Times

"Kung is brilliant and exciting."
—Christian Century

"A dazzling display of scholarship."
—Library Journal

"The best yet from one of the world's premier teachers ... Breathtaking in scope and analytical power. Excellent layout, helpful graphics ... A "must" for every serious library."

"Mammoth and important."
—Kirkus Reviews.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826408846
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1996
  • Pages: 968
  • Sales rank: 490,695
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Kung is Emeritus Professor of Ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen and President of the Global Ethic Foundation. He is the author of numerous best selling books including On Being a Christian (Harper Collins).

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Table of Contents

The Aim of This Book
I The Essence and Perversion of Christianity 1
1 The ideal picture 1
2 The hostile picture 4
3 The real picture: a twofold dialectic 7
II 'Christianity' in Dispute 12
1 The essence of Christianity - can it be identified by philosophers? 12
2 The essence of Christianity - can it be reconstructed by historians? 15
3 'Christianity' - called by its name 17
I Basic Form and Original Motif 21
1 What is common to the foundation documents of Christianity 21
2 What holds Christian history together 24
II The Central Structural Elements 28
1 Belief in the one God 28
2 Discipleship of Christ 33
3 The activity of the Holy Spirit 41
4 What makes a person a Christian? 45
I The Jewish Apocalyptic Paradigm of Earliest Christianity 61
1 The need for a basic orientation 61
2 The earliest community 65
3 The Christian centre - with an abiding Jewish stamp 71
4 The foundation of a church? 77
5 The first great conflicts 83
6 What Jewish Christians believe 94
7 The fate of Jewish Christianity 98
8 Jewish Christianity and the Quran 105
II The Ecumenical Hellenistic Paradigm of Christian antiquity 111
1 Paul: the initiator of the paradigm shift 111
2 The origin of the hierarchical church 116
3 Persecution of Christians and dispute over faith 131
4 Are Christians different? 149
5 Paradigm shift in christology 162
6 The shift under Constantine and the christological dispute 176
7 Byzantium - birthplace of Orthodoxy 196
8 The mark of the Eastern church: monastic rule and the cult of icons 216
9 The Slavs between Byzantium and Rome 236
10 How the split between the Eastern and Western churches came about 243
11 The Third Rome: Moscow 257
12 The October Revolution - and the Orthodox Church? 274
III The Roman Catholic Paradigm of the Middle Ages 283
1 The change in mediaeval scholarship 283
2 Augustine: the father of the new paradigm of theology 288
3 The Bishop of Rome's claim to power 308
4 Constants, variables and the shift from East to West 323
5 The great counter-force: Islam 340
6 Elements of the mediaeval Western paradigm 348
7 Romanization at the expense of Catholicity 364
8 Characteristics of the Roman system 390
9 The great theological synthesis: Thomas Aquinas 415
10 Christian Middle Ages? 434
11 The crisis of the Roman Catholic paradigm 458
12 Counter-Reformation? Back to the mediaeval paradigm 477
13 From anti-Protestantism to anti-Modernism 500
IV The Protestant Evangelical Paradigm of the Reformation 524
1 A changed image of Luther 524
2 The basic question: how is one justified before God? 527
3 The return to the gospel 535
4 Continuity despite all the discontinuity 544
5 The problematical results of the Lutheran Reformation 549
6 The consistent Reformation: 'Reformed' Protestantism 566
7 The third way: Anglicanism between the extremes 589
8 The hybrid position of women in the course of the Reformation 604
9 The Reformation goes on 614
10 The two faces of fundamentalism 635
V The Paradigm of Modernity, Orientated on Reason and Progress 650
1 The beginning of modernity 650
2 The new political constellation in Europe 655
3 The revolutions in science and philosophy 666
4 The revolutions in culture and theology 674
5 Theology in the Spirit of Modernity: Friedrich Schleiermacher 694
6 The revolutions in state and society 718
7 The revolutions in technology and industry 735
8 The crisis of modernity 765
9 Tasks for an analysis of postmodernity 773
Not an epilogue 792
Notes 799
Index of diagrams and maps 914
Index of persons 915
A word of thanks 935
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