The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians. Special 3 volume set

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9780874626841: The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians. Special 3 volume set
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Donald Gelpis Christological trilogy is an important contribution to the discipline combining as it does both foundational and constructive Christology. Gelpi carefully establishes his methodological choices and situates them amid other theological options on the present scene. He then builds his case by moving through the foundational issues and explicating them in regard to their import for a systematic Christology. Connections are made with his earlier work and here Gelpi continues his theological project of establishing a new foundationalism (with its Peircean pragmatic logic of consequences, the turn to community, and a fallibilistic metaphysics of experience) and exploits it for doctrinal theology. Gelpis proposals will certainly not be without its critics but his attempt to inculturate the philosophical issues in a North American idiom should be on the table

The strength of Gelpis volumes is the care with which he examines the issues on the agenda of any contemporary Christology. These include in addition to methodological issues (not always consciously attended to and seldom with the philosophical attention which Gelpi gives them), the quest for the historical Jesus, and the diversity of New Testament Christologies. Gelpis contribution is to take these issues seriously and weave them into a constructive narrative of contemporary Christological development, at each point highlighting how they address the pertinent issues in theological foundations. Hence the bulk of his efforts is working through New Testament material in order to establish the constructive sequence: Jesus of history, kerygmatic Christology (Pauline corpus), apocalyptic Christology (book of Revelation), narrative Christology (synoptic gospels), doctrinal Christology (picking up from the particular narrative Christology of the Gospel of John, Chalcedon and post Chalcedonian developments), and practical Christology (working with liberationist themes but consistent with his foundational pragmatism). All are related to a foundational theology of conversion and are rendered pastoral by addressing their implications for Roman Catholic RCIA practice. --Ralph Del Colle, Marquette University

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Donald L. Gelpi
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