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Documents of the Christian Church.

DOCUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. By Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder. 4th edition. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
: Oxford University, 2011. Pp. xxiv + 329. $29.95.

Henry Bettenson published the first two editions of Documents of the Christian Church in 1943 and 1963. Since he consistently chose truly significant texts and presented them in a thoroughly informative and accessible fashion, the collection became a standard and popular resource. But by the 1990s, many events and developments in Christian teaching and practice necessitated a revision: for instance, the Second Vatican Council Noun 1. Second Vatican Council - the Vatican Council in 1962-1965 that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms
Vatican II

Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church
 (1962-1965); the emergence (in the immediate aftermath of the theology of hope) of liberation, black, and feminist theologies; interfaith dialogues; questions about homosexuality, divorce and remarriage Re`mar´riage   

n. 1. A second or repeated marriage.

Noun 1. remarriage - the act of marrying again
, AIDS, and in-vitro fertilization; and major changes for church life brought by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of official Communist rule in Eastern Europe Eastern Europe

The countries of eastern Europe, especially those that were allied with the USSR in the Warsaw Pact, which was established in 1955 and dissolved in 1991.
. Since B. had died in 1979, Maunder took on the task of preparing the third edition, published in 1999. While retaining the original material, Maunder added a substantial selection from more recent writings. Now the rapid rate of change and fresh challenges in the 21st century have called for a fourth edition. Scientific and technological advances have brought with them a host of ethical dilemmas that the Christian churches and thinkers have tackled with the resources of Scripture, tradition, and well-informed reason. The new edition has also drawn on texts prompted by religious pluralism The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.

This article is about religious pluralism.
, the crisis over the Middle East (deepened by the 9/11 attacks), and the religious and political concerns to take fresh initiatives for reconciliation and mutual understanding between global cultures. Interdenominational ecumenism ecumenism

Movement toward unity or cooperation among the Christian churches. The first major step in the direction of ecumenism was the International Missionary Conference of 1910, a gathering of Protestants.
 has yielded further material, including some passages from the landmark Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification (1999).

Selections from texts dealing with global poverty, environmental issues, and new genetic technologies had already found a place in the third edition. Material has now been added on global debt, the phenomena of migration and asylum seeking, and the accompanying injustices that the churches have confronted. The environmental focus has shifted from pollution to global warming and climate change, and they have called forth Christian responses, as have the serious ethical challenges of genetic mapping and engineering. M. has also introduced excerpts about the Internet, addictions, domestic violence, and child abuse, as well as on pastoral approaches to disabilities. Maunder includes the fundamental principles drawn from the Charter of L'Arche, a community committed to people with learning disabilities.

Appropriately represented is the work of Philip Jenkins on the growth of Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere. Recent debates with militant atheists have featured responses by Alister McGrath, John Lennox, and others; selections from this area also find a place in Maunder's edition. I was also glad to find a text by George Hunsinger, founder of the National Religious Campaign against Torture. There is a passage (482-83) from Dominus Iesus (2000) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei), previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, is the oldest of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. , but nothing from Jacques Dupuis, a principal target of that document and a leading exponent of proclamation and dialogue in a multifaith world. A couple of "lightweight" writers could have been dropped to make room not only for Dupuis but also for another major Christian voice, Wolfhart Pannenberg. The "inclusive" theology developed by Karl Rahner (349) applies not to ecumenical relations between Christian churches but to those who follow other faiths or none at all.

The new extracts for the fourth edition are mostly gathered in a final, 70-page section. The fact that much of this material is of a moral and pastoral nature, with only a few excerpts on doctrinal questions, reflects the dominant issues that face churches and theologians in the 21st century. The update represented by this new edition maintains the status of Documents as a classic reference work.

GERALD O'COLLINS, S.J.

Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Title Annotation:SHORTER NOTICES
Author:O'Collins, Gerald
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2012
Words:633
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