Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ford, David F. (2000): Theology: A Very Short Introduction

What is it about?

The book provides a short (about 180 pages) overview of theology: what it is about, what "camps" there are, and what key questions theology answers or seeks to answer.

In addition, the book closes with the final chapter discussing whether and how theology is relevant in the 21st century (or the "third millennium" as the author has put it).

The book discusses the focal questions with Christianity as the "case religion". This makes the book quite accessible to a representative of a contemporary Western culture with cultural roots in Christianity.

Was it good?

I would say that the book fulfilled expectations, but did not exceed them. In other words, the book seeks like a quite solid introductory text on theology. I'm, however, perhaps not the best judge here, having very little knowledge about the field. But then again, I'm perhaps a good representative of the intended audience for a "very short introduction" in the field.

In any event, the book does a good job in depicting the - quite surprising - diversity of the field, especially with regard to different "schools of thought" or "camps" with respect to conceivable basic stances towards theology, from outright dismissal of such questions to unquestioning scriptural literalism, including a diverse spectrum between these extremes.

The main take-away for me?

The main take-away for me was perhaps the richness of tradition in theology: very bright people have throughout centuries expended great energy and a lot of time in thinking and arguing about theological questions (which some modern people might perceive as not worthy of any thinking at all), resulting in an astonishingly wide range of theological positions with apparently rigorous reasoning behind them.

Who should read the book?

The book would be beneficial to basically anyone, especially those with no significant connection to theological questions. However, I presume that enjoying the book requires quite a bit of interest - academic or otherwise - in such questions.

The book on Amazon.com: Theology

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