Essentials of Christian Theology.Essentials of Christian Theology. Edited by William C. Placher. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003. x and 422 pages. Paper. $29.95.
In 2002 the American Academy of Religion The American Academy of Religion is the world's largest association of scholars in the field of religion and related topics. It was founded in 1909.
As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion has over honored William C. Placher with its Award for Excellence in Teaching. Placher's pedagogical ped·a·gog·ic also ped·a·gog·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner. skill and sensitivity shine in this book. He has brought together eighteen authors who consistently write subtle and insightful--and sometimes brilliant--theology in readily comprehensible prose. The contributors represent a broad diversity of traditions and approaches. There are five Episcopalians, five Presbyterians, two Baptists, two Disciples of Christ Disciples of Christ: see Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Disciples of Christ
Group of U.S. Protestant churches that originated in the frontier revivals of the early 19th century. (one jointly ordained or·dain
tr.v. or·dained, or·dain·ing, or·dains
a. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
b. To authorize as a rabbi.
2. in the United Church of Christ United Church of Christ, American Protestant denomination formed in 1957 by a merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches (see Congregationalism) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. ), two Lutherans, two Roman Catholics, and one Methodist. Some authors would be classified as "evangelical" on the contemporary North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. scene; most would not. Some contributors have a clear feminist orientation; some do not.
Placher has organized the book to provide three distinct voices on each topic. The topics are a version of the loci structure familiar in Western theology. Each topic receives one chapter. Placher begins each chapter with an introduction of five to ten pages, in which he highlights some main issues that have historically arisen concerning the topic. Two different theologians then provide essays on the topic. The essay pairs are complementary in several ways. Sometimes they address different issues within the overall topic. Sometimes they proceed with different styles. Sometimes they disagree with each other. With two exceptions, the essays range in length from twelve to eighteen pages. At the conclusion of each chapter Placher offers a list of questions that pick up elements from the two preceding essays as well as from his introduction. He concludes the chapter with a list for further reading.
Placher anticipates that many of this book's readers will be students in introductory courses in systematic theology. He accordingly begins the book with a short essay on the question "Why Bother with Theology?" At the end of this essay he provides an extensive listing of works for further reading, helpfully grouped under headings such as "Introductions to the History of Theology," "Classic Works of the Twentieth Century," "Feminist, Womanist wom·an·ist
Having or expressing a belief in or respect for women and their talents and abilities beyond the boundaries of race and class: "Womanist ... , and Mujerista Theology," and "Evangelical Theology." This listing also includes a few Web sites. One final pedagogical aid is the extensive "Glossary of Names and Terms" at the conclusion of the book.
Placher and his team of authors have produced one of the best introductory texts in systematic theology that I have seen in years. At the same time the quality and breadth of work make this a valuable resource for pastors and other trained theologians.
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) is one of eight seminaries associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), located in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA).