The second edition of this book, written by internationally-acclaimed theologian and author Alister E. McGrath, has been completely updated in response to feedback from readers. It retains the clarity and accessibility that made the first edition so popular, whilst expanding its coverage of a range of issues.
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Why Study Theology? Insights from author Alister E. McGrath
|Author Alister E. McGrath|
There are a number of reasons why it’s both important and enriching to study theology and here I have listed what I think are three of the most important.
Firstly, studying theology is about making sense of some of the great debates and themes of history. It is impossible to study the religious art of the Middle Ages, the great literature of the Renaissance, the history of the sixteenth century, or the novels of J. R. R. Tolkien without knowing something about theology. To study theology is to pass through a gateway which offers an enhanced vision of human thought and history. It’s like a lens that helps bring things into focus.
Secondly, theology enables us to see things through the eyes of others, so that we can gain fresh perspectives on some of the great questions of faith. One of the leading themes of C. S. Lewis’s late work An Experiment in Criticism (1961) is that reading literature enables us to see with the eyes of others, deepening and sometimes challenging our own ideas. To read Augustine, Athanasius, Thomas Aquinas or Karl Barth is to have our eyes opened to other ways of seeing things. We may not agree with them, but their insights help us forge and enrich our own approaches.
Thirdly, studying theology brings new depth and vitality to faith. When the novelist Evelyn Waugh discovered Christianity in 1930, he spoke of beginning the “delicious process of exploring it limitlessly.” Theology is about mapping the landscape of faith, discovering its landmarks, appreciating its inner logic, and experiencing its beauty and richness.
|The Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas, painting by Benozzo de Gozzoli, ca. 1420-97, tempera. Musee de Louvre, paris. The Art Archive / Musee de Louvre, Paris/Gianni Dagli Otti||William Blake's Ancient of Days, 1794, relief etching with watercolor, 23.3 x 16.8 cm. British Museum, London. AKG Images/Erich Lessing||C.S. Lewis. Getty Images|
Written by one of the worlds leading Protestant theologians, Theology: The Basics is designed for students taking a first short course in Christian theology or for lay Christians who wish to find out more about their faith. Accessible and lively, this introductory textbook:Introduces readers to key theological issues, such as God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, creation, salvation, atonement, religious history and heavenIncludes within each chapter an overview of one of these themes, presents relevant biblical passages, and summarizes the contribution of one major theologianUses the Apostles Creed as a framework in order to provide a user-friendly structureFeatures a concluding section which explains how readers can take their study further, giving examples of the kind of detailed discussion that is possible.Alister E. McGrath is the author of numerous popular theology textbooks, including Christian Theology 3rd edition and The Christian Theology Reader 2nd edition. Readers may wish to use this book in order to make the transition to these more challenging texts.
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