Christian Community in History, Volume 3
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
The first 2 volumes of Roger Haight's Christian Community in History received enormous critical attention. Of volume 2, a reviewer in the Anglican Theological Review wrote: "This work is worthy of celebration...anyone who cares about the theology of the church must read it." Those volumes of Christian Community in History described the historical diversity of the church across its history (up to the Reformation in vol. 1) and among the churches (since the Reformation in vol. 2). By contrast, vol. 3 is an attempt to describe what the churches possess in common, i.e., to retrieve ecclesiological constants from history reaching back to scriptural origins in order to construct and portray the common ecclesial existence shared by the churches. In more traditional terms, it aims to find the apostolicity, the catholicity, and the unity amidst the plurality of the churches.
With Ecclesial Existence, Roger Haight has completed the impressive trilogy Christian Community in History. Drawing on an impressive knowledge of how the Church has been understood through the ages, Haight moves beyond history to probe the essence of the Church in all its diversity. The heart of the Church is a spirituality that is shared by all parts of divided Christendom. This major contribution to the study of the Church and its unity is essential reading for students and teachers of theology and all engaged in the ecumenical enterprise. A crowning achievement. -- Paul Avis, General Secretary: The Council for Christian Unity of the Church of England "Roger Haight here completes his distinguished ecclesiological trilogy with a brilliant third volume challenging regnant conceptions of the search for unity among the different communions. His notion of "ecclesial existence" as an already-shared apostolic reality across all the different expressions of "church" leads him to ask if some form of "partial communion" among our diverse ecclesial cultures might now be a reachable ecumenical goal. This proposal is backed with detailed and painstaking scholarship. It is well worth considering from local congregations to the highest levels of ecclesiastical authority. It could help to break up the current ecumenical logjam and get the Faith and Order juices flowing again." - Lewis S. Mudge, Robert Leighton Stuart Professor of Theology, Emeritus, San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley "This 'transdenominational ecclesiology' by a master theologian will help Christians better understand the distinctiveness of their own ecclesial adherences. Brilliantly drawing upon recent ecumenical consensus statements, Haight concludes that despite differing articulations Christians share a solid common framework." - Michael A. Fahey, S.J., Boston College Mention - New Testament Abstracts, Vol. 52 No. 3, 2008 "This is the third and final volume of a historical and systematic overview of comparative theologies of the church. A significant contribution to the contemporary debates on ecclesiology among the churches, it follows two comparative historical volumes, providing a theology "from below."...We can welcome this intentional probing of the nature and mission of the church, and the methodological debates to which it contributes. As a set of hypotheses to be tested by scholars in the churches and in the ecumenical field, it will undoubtedly engender much-needed discussion and, it is hoped, more convincing solutions to the divisions among Christians...the erudition manifest in Ecclesial Existence and its two predecessors will be greatly rewarding for many." -Jeffery Gros, F.S.C., America, December 15, 2008 "Anyone who has been involved in the ecumenical movement feels a deep sense of frustration that accompanies and challenges our hopes. Ecumenical progress depends ultimately on God; it sometimes seems that the only thing humanly possible that might contribute to such progress would be if an Alexander might come along and cut the Gordian knot. Haight has taken a mighty swing at it. His landmark study of the ecclesial existence shared by all who participate in the whole Christian movement opens up new paths that may ultimately help others, perhaps some whose support of pluralism is less susceptible to the charge of ecclesiological relativism, to take their swings." -Dennis M. Doyle, Worship, January 2009 "H.'s work offers rich resources for all future ecumenical and interfaith endeavors, as well as for social alliances aimed at enhancing justice and peace. All who are committed to a positive future for Christianity should read this outstanding work. Ecumenical initiatives hereafter will forever be in H.'s debt. He has crafted a practical means of discerning and transcending divisions and differences without pretending they do not exist." -Gerard Mannion, Theological Studies, March 2009 'Haight adds his own perceptive commentary and critique, tackling, sometimes with remarkable sharpness, the 'hard questions' which some of the more evident differences throw up, sometimes providing a discussion which points to creative ways of overcoming such tensions ... the accumulation of observations about communalities across the churches makes a compelling case - and there are moments when there are flahes of razorsharp wit ... This volume of Haight's triology is a work of constructive, as opposed to historical, theology.' Expository Times, May 2009 German review in Theologische Literaturzeitung, 2009 "We must be extremely grateful to him for this gigantic effort. His thought and language are clear , flowing, logical.His effort to a re-reading of theology from an ecumenical perspective must certainly enrich any reader, student or professor, who has recourse to this book. It is thought-provoking and hopefully initiate a new canto in the symphony of the churches."Journal of theological reflection, Vol. 73/2 February 2009 -- G. Gispert-Sauch, S.J. mention in Church Times, 5 June 2009 "The trilogy will long be the standard reference work in the field...Excellent points of reference and challenges. The book will best serve professional theologians and ecumenists in helping to clarify their methods and positions, and can be useful in graduate seminars." -John J. Burkhard, O.F.M. Conv., New Theology Review
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