Symbols of Jesus: A Christology of Symbolic Engagement / Edition 1

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Symbols of Jesus is a systematic theology focusing on what makes Jesus important in Christianity. It studies six families of symbols about Jesus and shows how they are true for some people, not true for others, and not meaningful for a third group. Divine creation is analyzed in metaphysical as well as symbolic terms, and religious symbolism is shown to be wholly compatible with a late-modern scientific world view.

Robert Cummings Neville here presents and illustrates a theory of religious symbols according to which God is directly engaged in symbolically shaped thinking and practice. Symbols are not distancing substitutes for God. Theology of symbolic engagement is defended as an alternative to doctrinal or descriptive theology.

This major work re-shapes the way we think about Jesus, and will be of value to students, academics, clergy with theological training, and others grappling with the meaning and importance of religious symbols in our age.

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"An essential volume for students, scholars, and clergy." Interpretation
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521003537
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 318
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cummings Neville is Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Boston University and Dean of the Boston University School of Theology. He is ordained in the ministry of the United Methodist Church. Neville has authored sixteen books, including God the Creator: On the Transcendence and Presence of God (1968; new edition 1992), Creativity and God: A Challenge to Process Theology (1980), Behind the Masks of God (1991), and The Truth of Broken Symbols (1996); and has edited a further seven.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations xi
Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xvi
Prologue xvii
Introduction 1
A theology of symbolic engagement 1
Supernaturalism and metaphysics 6
A theory of religious symbols 10
The Christological symbols 18
1 God the Father 24
The God of Jesus and metaphysical ultimacy: historical considerations 24
A contemporary theory of God as Creator 32
Eternity, time, and incarnation 44
The Logos and the Holy Spirit 55
2 Jesus the Lamb of God: blood sacrifice and atonement 60
The eucharistic sacrifice 61
The need for the blood of the Lamb 68
Resurrection 79
The Church as ritual sustenance 86
3 Jesus the Cosmic Christ 93
The Cosmic Christ: biblical roots 95
Cosmos and habitation: homelessness 102
Logos 105
Coming home 115
4 Jesus Christ the Trinitarian Person 126
Trinitarian symbols 128
The image of God 134
Growing into God 142
Jesus Christ our communion with God 150
5 The historical Jesus and the Incarnate Word 159
The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith 159
Existential location: Jesus Christ and cultural pluralism 171
Justice: Jesus Christ and distributive, retributive, and reparative justice 180
Piety: Jesus Christ and nature 185
6 Jesus as friend 192
The religious quest 192
Jesus the personification of divine love 198
Imaginative friendship 206
Loneliness, the Cross, and the Abyss 217
7 Jesus as Savior: the Eschaton 224
Jesus the Redeemer 229
Jesus the Way 236
Jesus the Truth 242
Jesus the Life 250
8 Epilogue: "And the Holy Spirit" 257
Bibliography 262
Index of biblical passages 271
General index 275
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