On Being a Christian

On Being a Christian

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An international bestseller by one of this century's most prominent theologians, On Being a Christian is a work of exhaustive scholarship, born of the author's passionate belief in Jesus Christ as the center of existence. Hans Kung here assesses the impact of other world religions, humanism, science, technology, and political revolutions; and sifting through the theological controversies within the Christian community itself, he affirms the vitality and uniqueness of Christianity by tracing it back to its roots -- the reality of the historical Christ.

But more than history or theology, On Being a Christian reexamines what it means to be a Christian today: the role of Christian ethics in a social and political context, the relationship between Christians and Jews, the organization of a community of believers, and practical suggestions for dealing with personal crises of faith. This Image Books edition will reach even larger segments of the population for whom the book was written. Kung defines his audience as those: who do not believe, but nevertheless seriously inquire; who did believe, but are not satisfied with their unbelief; who do believe, but feel insecure in their faith; who are at a loss, between belief and unbelief; who are skeptical, both about their convictions and about their doubts; who are Christians and atheists, Gnostics and agnostics, pietists and positivists, lukewarm and zealous Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox.

A landmark work, for both scholars and educated laity, On Being a Christian has become a small "Summa" of the Christian faith. "This is not another gospel," Kung contends, "but the same ancient gospel rediscovered for today!"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385192866
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/19/1984
Edition description: Complete & Unabridged
Pages: 720
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.68(d)

About the Author

Hans Kung is a prominent Catholic Theologian, respected by thinkers of all denominations. He is well known around the world and has been Professor of Dogmatic and Ecumenical Studies at the University of Tubingen, Germany, as well as Visiting Professor at Chicago University and at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He holds honorary degrees from several American universities and has lectured at various universities in Europe, America, and Asia.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations15
Translator's Foreword17
Those for whom this book is written19
A.The Horizon23
I.The Challenge of Modern Humanisms25
1.Turning to man26
Secular world26
Opening out of the Churches28
2.Christianity for sale?31
Has Christianity lost its soul?31
No return35
3.No abandonment of hope37
Humanity through technological evolution?38
Humanity through politico-social revolution?43
Between nostalgia and reformism51
II.The Other Dimension57
1.Approach to God57
The future of religion60
Proofs of God?64
More than pure reason68
2.The reality of God69
The hypothesis70
Ambiguity of the concept of God79
The task of theology83
III.The Challenge of the World Religions89
1.Salvation outside the Church89
Revalued religions89
Wealth of the religions91
2.Bewildering consequences97
Anonymous Christianity?97
Superior ignorance?99
3.Challenge on both sides100
No leveling down100
Helpful diagnosis104
4.Not exclusiveness, but uniqueness110
Christian existence as critical catalyst110
Common quest for truth112
B.The Distinction117
I.What Is Special to Christianity?119
1.The Christ119
Dangerous memory119
Taking concepts at their face value122
2.Which Christ?126
The Christ of piety?126
The Christ of dogma?129
The Christ of the enthusiasts?133
The Christ of literature?138
II.The Real Christ145
1.Not a myth145
In time and place146
2.The documents150
More than a biography150
Committed testimonies153
3.History and faith's certainty155
Counterquestions about Jesus156
Justifiable faith161
Historical criticism--an aid to faith?163
III.Christianity and Judaism166
1.The sufferings of the past166
Jesus the Jew167
A history of blood and tears168
2.Future possibilities169
Increasing understanding169
Diseussion about Jesus?172
C.The Program175
I.The Social Context177
The religio-political system177
Neither priest nor theologian178
Not with the rulers179
Radical change180
The revolutionary movement183
Hope of a liberator185
Not a social revolutionary187
Non-violent revolution189
Apolitical radicalism192
Not a religious195
Not for the elite, but for all200
The devout202
Moral compromise204
Not a pious legalist206
Against self-righteousness209
Provocative on all sides211
II.God's Cause214
1.The Center214
God's kingdom214
Apocalyptic horizon216
Demythologizing inevitable218
Between present and future220
God is ahead223
Concealing embarrassment226
What really happened229
What was transmitted231
Christian science233
Indications, not proofs236
3.The supreme norm238
No natural law238
No revealed law240
God's will instead of legalism241
The meaning of the Sermon on the Mount244
III.Man's Cause249
1.Humanization of man249
The changed awareness249
What God wills251
Relativized traditions, institutions, hierarchs252
Both God and man255
The person who needs me here and now256
Even enemies258
True radicalism262
Partisan for the handicapped266
Which poor?267
The moral failures271
The law of grace273
IV.The Conflict278
1.The decision278
Those who were for him278
A Church?283
Without office or dignity286
The advocate291
2.The debate on God295
Not a new God295
The God with a human face300
The God with qualities304
Revolution in the understanding of God309
Not an obvious form of address314
3.The end318
In face of death319
A last meal322
In vain?339
V.The New Life343
1.The beginning343
The ultimate reality356
Origin of faith370
2.The criterion381
Honorific titles384
The definitive standard392
3.The ultimate distinction396
Beyond fanaticism and rigidity399
By faith alone402
No other cause406
1.Discriminating interpretation411
Limits to demythologization412
Truth is not simply facticity415
Narrative presentation and critical reflection416
2.Interpretations of death419
No uniform theory419
Slain for us421
God and suffering428
3.Interpretations of the origin436
Become man436
Deification or humanization?440
True God and true man444
Born of a woman450
VII.Community of Faith463
1.Inspired and inspiring word463
Word of God?466
2.The one Spirit468
Unholy and holy Spirit468
3.The pluriform Church478
Assembly, congregation, Church478
Community in liberty, equality, fraternity481
Charisms, offices, ministries484
The diverse constitutions488
A Petrine ministry?494
4.The great mandate502
Provisional Church504
Serving Church505
Guilty Church507
Determined Church508
I.The Practice of the Church514
1.Decision for faith514
A personal decision514
Criticism of the Church517
2.Decision for the Church521
Why stay?522
Practical suggestions525
Against discouragement527
Why can we hope?529
II.Being Human and Being Christian530
1.Norms of the human530
Human autonomy531
Man's theonomy534
The unconditioned in the conditioned536
Uncertainty of norms539
2.The criterion for deciding what is Christian540
Specifically Christian norms?541
Concrete person instead of abstract principle544
The distinctive Christian element in ethics549
The basic model551
III.Being Christian as Being Radically Human554
1.Social relevance554
No political short cuts555
Social consequences558
Commitment to liberation562
No uncritical identifications565
2.Coping with the negative side570
Misused cross571
Misunderstood cross573
Understood cross576
3.Liberated for freedom581
Justification or social justice?581
What is not ultimately important583
What is ultimately important586
Freedom in the legal order590
Freedom in the struggle for power593
Freedom from the pressure of consumption595
Freedom to serve598
Human existence transfigured in Christian existence601
Basic Theological Literature603
Section A607
Section B620
Section C630
Section D678

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