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Theology: A Very Short Introduction by David…

Theology: A Very Short Introduction (1999)

by David F. Ford

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After a couple of introductory chapters in which Ford clarifies that he is going to talk about Christian theology rather than a general study of comparative religion, he goes to on to show what he thinks are the key issues in theology in a book that raises questions rather than attempts to answer them. The main issues he highlights are God, worship and ethics, evil, Jesus, and salvation. He rounds off with some examples of how to do theology -- its roots in history and epistemology and hints of its inter-relation with many other subjects. Not bad going for 175 pages. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Dec 14, 2012 |
I primarily judge the books in the Very Short Introduction series by two criteria. First, how well does the author cover the topic. Second, does the author write with a distinct point of view. The second being more important than the first as only a clear perspective can keep such a short overview from being completely dry.

In part II of this work, David Ford does an excellent job based on these criteria. First, he limits himself to Christianity, as a broader scope would completely dilute the discussion. Then he delves into the ways Christian theology deals with God, morality and ethics, evil, Christ, and salvation. His style is to frame the questions and describe the types of answers that are possible. His view are present but he gives credence to a range of approaches. The writing is clear and concise.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book was aimed very narrowly at beginning students in seminary or university theology programs. The book opens with a discussion of the appropriate relationship between those institutions. Part III is a freshman overview of hermeneutics and epistemology, and the book closes with a dean's oration on the value of theology in the modern world.

Although I don't doubt that the VSI series is used in introductory college classes, it also has a wider readership and a greater respect for that audience could have broadened the range of theological issues addressed. ( )
3 vote eromsted | Nov 12, 2006 |
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Theology at its broadest is thinking about questions raised by and about the religions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192853848, Paperback)

This book offers a concise and original introduction to the whole of the theological discipline. Writing with a focus on Christianity, David Ford provides a trenchant and balanced discussion of the study of faith and religion. He describes the development of the field of theology, and explores such issues as knowledge, community, worship, salvation, God, prayer, and evil. Ford also weaves the idea of the quest for wisdom into the entire fabric of his discussion, and concludes with a look ahead to the theology of the next century. Theology: A Very Short Introduction tackles the questions raised by and about religion in a thought-provoking and engaging manner.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

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