The core of the Christian faith is pessimism about life and optimism about God and therefore hope for life in God."" Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, professor of historical theology, the Divinity School, The University of Chicago, begins his study with this statement and then in five chapters examines some of the forms this took during the second and third centuries as the Christian community began to reflect upon the implications of its message. Each chapter explains and gives a brief critique of the concept of one man, symbolized in the author's thinking by a geometrical figure. Thus, Tatian, The Arc of Existence; Clement of Alexandria, The Spiral of History; Cyprion, The Circle of Immortality; Origen, The Triangle of Mortality and Ireneaus, The Parabola of Eternity. An exceedingly valuable study, this helps to answer people who are puzzled about existence, pre-existence and immortality, is of special usefulness to the clergy as a help in their teaching and preaching, and is also simple enough to be rewarding to all who are seriously interested in the shape of death.