CHRIST THE MEANING OF HISTORY by Hendrikus Berkhof

CHRIST THE MEANING OF HISTORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Against the wide-spread skepticism and pessimism abroad in Europe--and increasingly so in this country--with respect to any possible meaning to be found in human history, the author reaffirms the Christian conviction that history has meaning, and that this meaning can be found in the revelation God has made of His purpose in Israel and in Jesus Christ. In supporting this thesis, as the author himself says, the book becomes a ""mixture"" of biblical exegesis and theology, philosophy, and dogmatics. Berkhof ranges himself ""irreconcilably"" in opposition to the basic premises of Bultmann; and frequently his position alludes to, or at least shows affinity with, the position of Barth, and to some extent, of Cullman, in their interpretations of history and of time. The theology of history set forth is epitomized in Christ as both end and beginning of history, in both his crucifixion and resurrection. The essential methodology is that of typology, in which historical events are interpreted as types revealing the action of God in history--a process which the author admits to be liable to error when these actions are discerned too easily in accordance with preconceived notions. In the book itself, however, the reader may not always be sure where the author is using typology and where he himself is trapped into interpretations resembling fundamentalistic literalism--as in his discussion of the ""antichrist"" and the cryptic figure six hundred sixty six, in the Book of Revelations. The modern reader might wish that the author had shown more awareness of the effect of contemporary space science upon our concepts of time, and of man's place in cosmic history. For theological students, clergy, and informed lay readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1966
Publisher: John Knox