Theology: The Basics / Edition 1

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The second edition of this book, written by internationally-acclaimed theologian and author Alister E. McGrath, has been completely updated in response to feedback from readers. It retains the clarity and accessibility that made the first edition so popular, whilst expanding its coverage of a range of issues.
  • Includes a major new chapter on sacraments and new sections on core topics, including the problem of suffering, the theology of sin, concepts of heaven, and views of the millennium
  • Uses the Apostle’s Creed as a framework to introduce readers to key theological issues, such as God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, creation, salvation, atonement, religious history and heaven
  • Contains within each chapter an overview of one of these themes, presents relevant biblical passages, and summarizes the contribution of one major theologian
  • Written by one of the world’s leading theologians for anyone taking a first short course in Christian theology
  • Can be used alongside McGrath's Theology: The Basic Readings for a complete overview of the field
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“McGrath’s approach is creedal and biblical. The chapters are lucid, engaging, and thought-provoking in so far as they serve as gateways into a complex (if not at times convoluted) field of study.” (Religious Studies Review, March 2009)

"The publisher's blurb reports that the first edition was 'an international best seller' … .It deserves this success. Students need such a clearly presented, sure-footed account of the theological basics." (Theological Book Review, 2008)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781444300987
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/16/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (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 the author of numerous popular theology textbooks, including Christian Theology, fourth edition and The Christian Theology Reader, third edition. Readers may wish to use this book in order to make the transition to these more challenging texts.
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Table of Contents

How to use this book.

Engaging a reading.

Christian theology: An historical overview.

1 Faith.

1.1 Augustine on theology and secular philosophy.

1.2 Vincent of Lerins on Tradition and Theology.

1.3 John Calvin on the Nature of Faith.

1.4 Karl Barth on revelation and the Word of God.

1.5 Emil Brunner on faith and reason.

1.6 Paul Tillich on the nature of theology.

1.7 C. S. Lewis on myths in Theology.

1.8 John Paul II on faith and Reason.

2 God.

2.1 Athenagoras of Athens on the Christian God.

2.2 Thomas Aquinas on analogies of God.

2.3 Jürgen Moltmann on the Suffering of God.

2.4 Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Glory of God.

2.5 Elizabeth A. Johnson on Female Analogies for God.

2.6 Sarah Coakley on Vulnerability and God.

3 Creation.

3.1 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

3.2 Jonathan Edwards on the beauty of creation.

3.3 William Paley on the contrivance of nature.

3.4 John Henry Newman on natural religion.

3.5 G. K. Chesterton on the doctrine of creation.

3.6 Dorothy L. Sayers on creation and evil.

4 Jesus.

4.1 Athanasius of Alexandria on the incarnation.

4.2 Martin Kähler on the "Jesus of History".

4.3 George Tyrrell on modern views of Jesus.

4.4 Austin Farrer on the incarnation and suffering.

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

4.6 N. T. Wright on Jesus and the identity of God.

5 Salvation.

5.1 Rufinus of Aquileia on Christ’s death as a victory.

5.2 Anselm of Canterbury on satisfaction for sin.

5.3 F. D. E. Schleiermacher on Christ as redeemer.

5.4 Bernard Lonergan on the rationality of salvation.

5.5 Colin Gunton on the language of salvation.

5.6 Rosemary Radford Ruether on suffering and redemption.

6 Trinity.

6.1 Irenaeus of Lyons on the Trinitarian faith.

6.2 The Eleventh Council of Toledo on the Trinity.

6.3 Henry Barclay Swete on the Holy Spirit and the Trinity.

6.4 Karl Rahner on the economic Trinity.

6.5 John Macquarrie on the function of the Trinity.

6.6 Robert Jenson on the Trinity as God’s name.

7 Church.

7.1 Martin Luther on the nature of the church.

7.2 Lesslie Newbigin on a missionary ecclesiology.

7.3 The Second Vatican Council on the Church.

7.4 George Dragas on Orthodox ecclesiology.

7.5 Stanley Hauerwas on the church and the Christian story.

7.6 Leonardo Boff on the reinvention of the Church.

8 Sacraments.

8.1 Cyril of Jerusalem on the meaning of baptism.

8.2 Huldrych Zwingli on the real presence.

8.3 The Council of Trent on transubstantiation.

8.4 The World Council of Churches on baptism.

8.5 Rowan Williams on the sacraments as signs.

8.6 Benedict XVI on the Eucharist.

9 Heaven.

9.1 Cyprian of Carthage on the hope of heaven.

9.2 Methodius of Olympus on the resurrection body.

9.3 John Wesley on the final restoration of nature.

9.4 The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the resurrection.

9.5 Wolfhart Pannenberg on eschatology and evil.

9.6 Kathryn Tanner on eternal life.

A brief glossary of theological terms.

Sources of readings.



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