The Christian Theology Reader / Edition 3

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The most comprehensive book of its kind, the new edition of the Christian Theology Reader collects more than 360 readings that illuminate the key doctrines, point of views, intellectual developments, and theologies from various factions of Christian history.
  • Contains 361 readings, drawn from 233 different sources, spread throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history.
  • Exceptionally user-friendly: every reading is accompanied its own introduction, commentary, and study questions.
  • Now includes increased representation of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and women writers.
  • A new section provides a “bird’s-eye” view of the historical development of Christian theology, allowing users to locate a reading against its historical context.
  • Additional lecturer resources are available at the accompanying website:
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Those who have found [McGrath’s] Introduction a significant resource will undoubtedly also want to use his companion set of readings. Its great strength is the breadth of figures and topics treated, and we can hope that students who become acquainted with the riches in these brief selections will want to return to engage the primary sources in their fullness. Such engagements could offer an important sign of hope for Christianity's future." L. Gregory Jones, Duke University (of a previous edition)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405153584
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/18/2006
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 792
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Alister E. McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, and Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. He is a world-renowned theologian, and is the author of numerous bestselling titles available through Blackwell Publishing, including The Christian Theology Reader 3rd edition (2007), Theology: The Basics (2004), Christianity: An Introduction 2nd edition (2006), A Brief History of Heaven (2003), and Dawkins’ God (2004).
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Table of Contents

Mission Statement.


Approaching the Readings.

To the Student: How to Use this Work.

To the Teacher: How to Use this Book.

The Development of Christian Theology: An Historical Overview.


Editor’s Note.

1 Getting Started: Preliminaries.


1.1 Justin Martyr on Philosophy and Theology.

1.2 Clement of Alexandria on Philosophy and Theology.

1.3 Tertullian on the Relation of Philosophy and Heresy.

1.4 Augustine on Philosophy and Theology.

1.5 The Nicene Creed.

1.6 The Apostles’ Creed.

1.7 Anselm of Canterbury’s Proof for the Existence of God.

1.8 Gaunilo’s Reply to Anselm’s Argument.

1.9 Thomas Aquinas on Proofs for the Existence of God.

1.10 Thomas Aquinas on the Principle of Analogy.

1.11 William of Ockham on Proofs of God’s Existence.

1.12 Martin Luther on the Theology of the Cross.

1.13 John Calvin on the Nature of Faith.

1.14 The Heidelberg Catechism on Images of God.

1.15 John Locke on the Formation of the Concept of God.

1.16 René Descartes on the Existence of God.

1.17 Blaise Pascal on Proofs for the Existence of God.

1.18 Blaise Pascal on the Hiddenness of God.

1.19 Immanuel Kant on Anselm’s Ontological Argument.

1.20 Søren Kierkegaard on the Subjectivity of Truth.

1.21 The First Vatican Council on Faith and Reason.

1.22 John Henry Newman on the Grounds of Faith.

1.23 Adolf von Harnack on the Origins of Dogma.

1.24 Karl Barth on the Nature and Task of Theology.

1.25 Ludwig Wittgenstein on Analogy.

1.26 Ludwig Wittgenstein on Proofs for the Existence of God.

1.27 Vladimir Lossky on Apophatic Approaches to Theology.

1.28 Dietrich Bonhoeffer on God in a Secular World.

1.29 Paul Tillich on the Method of Correlation.

1.30 Sallie McFague on Metaphor in Theology.

1.31 Gustavo Gutiérrez on Theology as Critical Reflection.

1.32 Brian A. Gerrish on Accommodation in Calvin’s Theology.

1.33 George Lindbeck on Postliberal Approaches to Doctrine.

1.34 Dumitru Staniloae on the Nature of Dogma.

For Further Reading.

2 The Sources of Theology.


2.1 The Muratorian Fragment on the New Testament Canon.

2.2 Irenaeus on the Role of Tradition.

2.3 Hippolytus on Typological Interpretation of Scripture.

2.4 Clement of Alexandria on the Fourfold Interpretation of Scripture.

2.5 Tertullian on Tradition and Apostolic Succession.

2.6 Origen on the Three Ways of Reading Scripture.

2.7 Cyril of Jerusalem on the Role of Creeds.

2.8 Augustine on the Literal and Allegorical Senses of Scripture.

2.9 Jerome on the Role of Scripture.

2.10 Vincent of Lérins on the Role of Tradition.

2.11 Bernard of Clairvaux on the Allegorical Sense of Scripture.

2.12 Stephen Langton on the Moral Sense of Scripture.

2.13 Ludolf of Saxony on Reading Scripture Imaginatively.

2.14 Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples on the Senses of Scripture.

2.15 Martin Luther on the Fourfold Sense of Scripture.

2.16 Martin Luther on Revelation in Christ.

2.17 John Calvin on the Natural Knowledge of God.

2.18 John Calvin on the Relation between Old and New Covenants.

2.19 The Council of Trent on Scripture and Tradition.

2.20 The Gallic Confession on the Canon of Scripture.

2.21 The Belgic Confession on the Book of Nature.

2.22 Melchior Cano on the Church as Interpreter of Scripture.

2.23 The Formula of Concord on Scripture and the Theologians.

2.24 King James I on the Relation of Old and New Testaments.

2.25 Roberto Bellarmine on Protestant Biblical Interpretation.

2.26 The King James Translators on Biblical Translation.

2.27 Sir Thomas Browne on the Two Books of Revelation.

2.28 Francis White on Scripture and Tradition.

2.29 Philip Jakob Spener on Scripture and the Christian Life.

2.30 Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf on Reason and Experience.

2.31 Jonathan Edwards on the Beauty of Creation.

2.32 William Paley on the Wisdom of the Creation.

2.33 Johann Adam Möhler on Living Tradition.

2.34 John Henry Newman on the Role of Tradition.

2.35 Archibald Alexander Hodge on the Inspiration of Scripture.

2.36 Benjamin Jowett on the Interpretation of Scripture.

2.37 Gerard Manley Hopkins on God’s Grandeur in Nature.

2.38 Charles Gore on the Relation of Dogma to the New Testament.

2.39 James Orr on the Centrality of Revelation for Christianity.

2.40 Wilhelm Herrmann on the Nature of Revelation.

2.41 Karl Barth on Revelation as God’s Self-Disclosure.

2.42 Emil Brunner on the Personal Nature of Revelation.

2.43 Rudolf Bultmann on Demythologization and Biblical Interpretation.

2.44 Karl Rahner on the Authority of Scripture.

2.45 Phyllis Trible on Feminist Biblical Interpretation.

2.46 Donald G. Bloesch on Christological Approaches to Biblical Hermeneutics.

2.47 John Meyendorff on Living Tradition.

2.48 James I. Packer on the Nature of Revelation.

2.49 Thomas F. Torrance on Karl Barth’s Criticism of Natural Theology.

2.50 The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Scripture and Tradition.

For Further Reading.

3 The Doctrine of God.


3.1 Athenagoras of Athens on the Christian God.

3.2 Irenaeus on the Origin of Evil.

3.3 Irenaeus on the Trinity.

3.4 Tertullian on Creation from Pre-existent Matter.

3.5 Origen on Creation from Pre-existent Matter.

3.6 Origen on the Relation of God and Evil.

3.7 Origen on the Suffering of God.

3.8 Origen on the Changelessness of God.

3.9 Gregory of Nyssa on Human Analogies of the Trinity.

3.10 Basil of Caesarea on the Work of the Holy Spirit.

3.11 Gregory of Nazianzus on the Gradual Revelation of the Trinity.

3.12 Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity.

3.13 Augustine on the Trinity.

3.14 Augustine on the Relation of God and Evil.

3.15 Augustine on the Holy Spirit.

3.16 Epiphanius of Constantia on Sabellianism.

3.17 Cyril of Alexandria on the Role of the Holy Spirit.

3.18 Fulgentius of Ruspe on the Holy Spirit and Eucharist.

3.19 John of Damascus on the Holy Spirit.

3.20 The Eleventh Council of Toledo on the Trinity.

3.21 Anselm of Canterbury on the Compassion of God.

3.22 Richard of St Victor on Love within the Trinity.

3.23 Alexander of Hales on the Suffering of God in Christ.

3.24 Thomas Aquinas on Divine Omnipotence.

3.25 Bonaventure on the Origin of Evil.

3.26 Julian of Norwich on God as our Mother.

3.27 William of Ockham on the Two Powers of God.

3.28 Thomas à Kempis on the Limits of Trinitarian Speculation.

3.29 John Owen on the Sovereignty of God.

3.30 Benedict Spinoza on the Impassibility of God.

3.31 F. D. E. Schleiermacher on the Trinity.

3.32 Karl Barth on the “Otherness” of God.

3.33 Jürgen Moltmann on the Suffering of God.

3.34 Richard Swinburne on God as Creator.

3.35 Leonardo Boff on the Trinity as Good News for the Poor.

3.36 Robert Jenson on the Trinity.

3.37 Hans Küng on the Immutability of God.

3.38 Eberhard Jüngel on the Crucified God.

3.39 Jacques Ellul on the Theology of Icons.

3.40 Walter Kasper on the Rationality of the Trinity.

3.41 Paul Jewett on Noninclusive Language and the Trinity.

3.42 Anne Carr on Feminism and the Maleness of God.

3.43 Sarah Coakley on Social Models of the Trinity.

For Further Reading.

4 The Person of Christ.


4.1 Ignatius of Antioch on Docetism.

4.2 Irenaeus on Gnosticism in Christology.

4.3 Tertullian on Patripassianism.

4.4 Tertullian on the Incarnation.

4.5 Novatian on the Divinity of Christ.

4.6 Origen on the Two Natures of Christ.

4.7 Arius on the Status of Christ.

4.8 Athanasius on the Two Natures of Christ.

4.9 Apollinarius of Laodicea on the Person of Christ.

4.10 Gregory of Nazianzus on Apollinarianism.

4.11 Theodore of Mopsuestia on the “Union of Good Pleasure”.

4.12 Nestorius on the Term “Theotokos”.

4.13 Cyril of Alexandria on Nestorius’s Christology.

4.14 Cyril of Alexandria on the Incarnation.

4.15 Cyril of Alexandria on Mary as the Mother of God.

4.16 Leo the Great on the Two Natures of Christ.

4.17 The Chalcedonian Definition of the Christian Faith (451).

4.18 The Emperor Zeno on the Natures of Christ.

4.19 The Monophysites on the Natures of Christ.

4.20 John of Damascus on the Incarnation and Icons.

4.21 Honorius of Autun on the Cause of the Incarnation.

4.22 Thomas Aquinas on the Necessity of the Incarnation.

4.23 Gregory Palamas on the Divine Condescension in the Incarnation.

4.24 Martin Luther’s Critique of Nestorianism.

4.25 François Turrettini on the Threefold Office of Christ.

4.26 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing on the Ditch of History.

4.27 F. D. E. Schleiermacher on the “Natural Heresies” of Christianity.

4.28 A. B. Ritschl on the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

4.29 Martin Kähler on the Historical Jesus.

4.30 George Tyrrell on the Christ of Liberal Protestantism.

4.31 Albert Schweitzer on the Failure of the “Quest of the Historical Jesus”.

4.32 Peter Taylor Forsyth on the Person of Christ.

4.33 Ernst Troeltsch on Faith and History.

4.34 Dorothy L. Sayers on Christology and Dogma.

4.35 Paul Tillich on the Dispensability of the Historical Jesus.

4.36 Wolfhart Pannenberg on the Indispensability of the Historical Jesus.

4.37 Thomas F. Torrance on the Incarnation and Soteriology.

4.38 Rosemary Radford Ruether on the Maleness of Christ.

4.39 Daphne Hampson on the Possibility of a Feminist Christology.

4.40 Morna D. Hooker on Chalcedon and the New Testament.

4.41 N. T. Wright on History and Christology.

For Further Reading.

5 Salvation in Christ.


5.1 Irenaeus on the “Ransom” Theory of the Atonement.

5.2 Irenaeus on “Recapitulation” in Christ.

5.3 Clement of Alexandria on Christ’s Death as an Example of Love.

5.4 Athanasius on the Death of Christ.

5.5 Athanasius on the Relation of Christology and Soteriology.

5.6 Pseudo-Hippolytus on the Cosmic Dimensions of the Cross.

5.7 Rufinus of Aquileia on the “Fish-hook” Theory of the Atonement.

5.8 An Ancient Liturgy on Christ’s Descent into Hell.

5.9 Theodoret of Cyrrhus on the Death of Christ.

5.10 Augustine on Redemption in Christ.

5.11 Maximus of Constantinople on the Economy of Salvation.

5.12 Simeon the New Theologian on Salvation as Deification.

5.13 Anselm of Canterbury on the Atonement.

5.14 Peter Abelard on the Love of Christ in Redemption.

5.15 Hugh of St Victor on the Death of Christ.

5.16 Rupert of Deutz on the Incarnation as God’s Response to Sin.

5.17 Thomas Aquinas on the Satisfaction of Christ.

5.18 Nicholas Cabasilas on the Death of Christ.

5.19 John Calvin on the Grounds of Redemption.

5.20 The Socinian Critique of the Idea of Satisfaction.

5.21 John Donne on the Work of Christ.

5.22 George Herbert on the Death of Christ and Redemption.

5.23 Charles Wesley on Salvation in Christ.

5.24 F. D. E. Schleiermacher on Christ as a Charismatic Leader.

5.25 F. D. E. Schleiermacher on Christology and Soteriology.

5.26 Charles Gore on the Relation of Christology and Soteriology.

5.27 Hastings Rashdall on Christ as a Moral Example.

5.28 James Denney on Atonement and Incarnation.

5.29 Gustaf Aulén on the Classic Theory of the Atonement.

5.30 Vladimir Lossky on Redemption as Deification.

5.31 Bernard Lonergan on the Intelligibility of Redemption.

5.32 Wolfhart Pannenberg on Soteriological Approaches to Christology.

5.33 James I. Packer on Penal Substitution.

5.34 Dorothee Sölle on Suffering and Redemption.

5.35 Colin E. Gunton on the Language of Atonement.

For Further Reading.

6 Human Nature, Sin, and Grace.


6.1 Irenaeus on Human Progress.

6.2 Tertullian on the Origin of Sin.

6.3 Tertullian on Inherited Guilt.

6.4 Tertullian on the Image of God.

6.5 Origen on the Image of God.

6.6 Origen on Inherited Sin.

6.7 Lactantius on Political Aspects of the Image of God.

6.8 Ambrose on the Unmerited Character of Salvation.

6.9 Ambrosiaster on Original Sin.

6.10 Gregory of Nyssa on Human Longing for God.

6.11 Augustine on the Divine Election.

6.12 Augustine on the Nature of Predestination.

6.13 Augustine on Fallen Human Nature.

6.14 Augustine on Human Freedom.

6.15 Augustine on Irresistible Grace and Perseverance.

6.16 Pelagius on Human Responsibility.

6.17 Pelagius on Human Freedom.

6.18 Pelagius’s Rejection of Original Sin.

6.19 The Council of Carthage on Grace.

6.20 The Synod of Arles on Pelagianism.

6.21 The Second Council of Orange on Grace and Freedom.

6.22 John Scotus Eriugena on the Nature of Paradise.

6.23 Hildegard of Bingen on the Creation of Man and Woman.

6.24 Alan of Lille on Penitence as a Cause of Grace.

6.25 Francis of Assisi on the Creation.

6.26 Thomas Aquinas on the Nature of Grace.

6.27 Mechthild of Magdeburg on Humanity’s Longing for God.

6.28 John Duns Scotus on the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

6.29 Gregory of Rimini on Predestination.

6.30 Gabriel Biel on Merit and Justification.

6.31 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola on Human Nature.

6.32 Martin Luther’s Discovery of the “Righteousness of God”.

6.33 Martin Luther on Justifying Faith.

6.34 Martin Luther on Sin and Grace.

6.35 Philip Melanchthon on Justification by Faith.

6.36 John Calvin on Predestination.

6.37 John Calvin on Faith and the Promises of God.

6.38 John Calvin on the Concept of Justification.

6.39 The Council of Trent on Justification.

6.40 Theodore Beza on the Causes of Predestination.

6.41 John Donne on the Bondage of the Human Will.

6.42 James Ussher on the Grounds of Assurance.

6.43 The Westminster Confession of Faith on Predestination.

6.44 Anne Bradstreet on Flesh and Spirit.

6.45 Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf on Saving Faith.

6.46 Friedrich Christoph Oetinger on Conversion.

6.47 Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin.

6.48 John Wesley on Justification.

6.49 Richard Watson on Regeneration and Sanctification.

6.50 Emil Brunner on the Image of God.

6.51 Karl Barth on Election in Christ.

6.52 Emil Brunner on Barth’s Doctrine of Election.

6.53 Reinhold Niebuhr on Original Sin.

6.54 The Second Vatican Council on Human Nature.

6.55 Daphne Hampson on Feminist Approaches to Sin.

6.56 Mary Hayter on Human Sexuality and the Image of God.

For Further Reading.

7 The Church.


7.1 Irenaeus on the Function of the Church.

7.2 Origen on the Church and Salvation.

7.3 Cyprian of Carthage on the Unity of the Church.

7.4 Cyril of Jerusalem on the Catholicity of the Church.

7.5 Petilian of Cirta on the Purity of Ministers.

7.6 Augustine on the Mixed Nature of the Church.

7.7 Leo the Great on Ministry within the Church.

7.8 Innocent III on the Church and State.

7.9 Thomas Aquinas on the Catholicity of the Church.

7.10 Boniface VIII on Papal Primacy: Unam Sanctam.

7.11 Jan Hus on the Church.

7.12 Martin Luther on the Marks of the Church.

7.13 Martin Luther on Priests and Laity.

7.14 Philip Melanchthon on the Nature of Catholicity.

7.15 Sebastian Franck on the True Church.

7.16 The First Helvetic Confession on the Nature of the Church.

7.17 John Calvin on the Marks of the Church.

7.18 Richard Hooker on the Purity of the Church.

7.19 The Westminster Confession of Faith on the Church.

7.20 John Owen on the Nature of a Gospel Church.

7.21 F. D. E. Schleiermacher on the Church as a Fellowship of Believers.

7.22 The First Vatican Council on Papal Primacy in the Church.

7.23 Henry Barclay Swete on the Apostolicity of the Church.

7.24 The Barmen Confession on the Identity of the Church.

7.25 Yves Congar on the Hierarchy of the Church.

7.26 The Second Vatican Council on the Nature of the Church.

7.27 John D. Zizioulas on Local and Universal Churches.

7.28 Leonardo Boff on the Nature of Local Churches.

7.29 Avery Dulles on the Meanings of “Catholicity”.

7.30 Stanley Hauerwas on the Importance of the Church.

For Further Reading.

8 The Sacraments.


8.1 Clement of Alexandria on Faith as Feeding on Christ.

8.2 Clement of Alexandria on the Results of Baptism.

8.3 Cyprian of Carthage on Heretical Baptism.

8.4 Cyril of Jerusalem on the Meaning of Baptism.

8.5 Cyril of Jerusalem on the Body and Blood of Christ.

8.6 Hilary of Poitiers on the Effects of Baptism.

8.7 Augustine on Donatist Approaches to the Sacraments.

8.8 Augustine on the “Right to Baptize”.

8.9 John of Damascus on the Holy Spirit and Eucharist.

8.10 Paschasius Radbertus on the Real Presence.

8.11 Ratranmus of Corbie on the Real Presence.

8.12 Candidus of Fulda on “This is My Body”.

8.13 Lanfranc of Bec on the Mystery of the Sacraments.

8.14 Hugh of St Victor on the Definition of a Sacrament.

8.15 Peter Lombard on the Definition of a Sacrament.

8.16 Thomas Aquinas on Transubstantiation.

8.17 Martin Luther on the Number of Sacraments.

8.18 Martin Luther on the Doctrine of Transubstantiation.

8.19 Martin Luther on the Bread and Wine as a Testament.

8.20 Martin Luther on Baptism.

8.21 Philip Melanchthon on Sacramental Signs.

8.22 Kornelius Hendriks Hoen on “This is My Body”.

8.23 Huldrych Zwingli on “This is My Body”.

8.24 Huldrych Zwingli on the Nature of Sacraments.

8.25 The First Helvetic Confession on the Efficacy of the Sacraments.

8.26 John Calvin on the Nature of Sacraments.

8.27 Martin Bucer on the Sacraments.

8.28 The Council of Trent on Transubstantiation.

8.29 Theodore Beza on Sacramental Signs.

8.30 John Wesley on the Eucharist and Salvation.

8.31 The Second Vatican Council on the Eucharist.

8.32 Edward Schillebeeckx on Understanding the Real Presence.

8.33 The World Council of Churches on Baptism.

8.34 Alexander Schmemann on the Eucharist.

8.35 Rowan Williams on the Nature of a Sacrament.

8.36 John Paul II on the Eucharist as a Sign of Hope.

For Further Reading.

9 Christianity and World Religions.


9.1 Justin Martyr on Christianity before Christ.

9.2 Ludwig Feuerbach on the Origins of Religion.

9.3 Karl Marx on Feuerbach’s Views on Religion.

9.4 Karl Barth on Christianity and Religion.

9.5 C. S. Lewis on Myth in Christianity and Other Faiths.

9.6 Karl Rahner on Christianity and the Non-Christian Religions.

9.7 The Second Vatican Council on Non-Christian Religions.

9.8 Clark Pinnock on Pluralists and Christology.

9.9 John Hick on Complementary Pluralism.

9.10 C. S. Song on the Cross and the Lotus.

9.11 John B. Cobb Jr, on Religious Pluralism.

9.12 Lesslie Newbigin on the Gospel in a Pluralist Culture.

For Further Reading.

10 The Last Things.


10.1 Irenaeus on the Final Restoration of Creation.

10.2 Theophilus of Antioch on Conditional Immortality.

10.3 Tertullian on Hell and Heaven.

10.4 Tertullian on the Millennium.

10.5 Origen on the Resurrection Body.

10.6 Methodius of Olympus on the Resurrection.

10.7 Cyril of Jerusalem on Prayers for the Dead.

10.8 Gregory of Nyssa on the Resurrection Body.

10.9 John Chrysostom on Prayers for the Dead.

10.10 Augustine on the Christian Hope.

10.11 Gregory the Great on Purgatory.

10.12 Peter Lombard on the Appearance of Humanity in Heaven.

10.13 Benedict XII on Seeing God in Heaven.

10.14 Catherine of Genoa on Purgatory.

10.15 John Donne on the Resurrection.

10.16 Jeremy Taylor on Death and Heaven.

10.17 Jonathan Edwards on the Reality of Hell.

10.18 John Wesley on Universal Restoration.

10.19 Rudolf Bultmann on the Existential Interpretation of Eschatology.

10.20 Helmut Thielicke on Ethics and Eschatology.

10.21 Richard Bauckham on Jürgen Moltmann’s Eschatology.

10.22 Hans Urs von Balthasar on Hell.

10.23 Gabriel Fackre on the Last Things.

10.24 Philip E. Hughes on Everlasting Death.

10.25 Kathryn Tanner on Eternal Life.

For Further Reading.

Details of Theologians.

A Glossary of Theological Terms.

Sources of Readings.

For Further Study: Additional Collections of Readings

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