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The history of theology has hitherto been, at least from the Catholic viewpoint, merely a record of the gradual unfolding of majestic theological doctrines which sprang apparently full blown, from the brow of some remote papal or conciliar Zeus. With the publication in English of Congar's magistral work, we have, for the first time, an account of theological speculation, from the apostolic era to the present, which meets the standard for historical objectivity set out in Ranke's dictum: wie es eigentlich gewesen -- ""tell it like it is. "" In Congar's view, there are no ""heresies,"" no ""heterodoxies,"" no ""schisms"": there are only opposing theological trends, entering into conflict and eventually resolving themselves into the syntheses which have come (and still come) to comprise the orthodox corpus of belief. Within that Hegelian context, for example, the Reformation was the enunciation, albeit violent, of an antithesis to the medieval thesis, and in our own time the synthesis is beginning to take on substance via the ecumenical movement (of which, incidentally, Congar was one of the founders, three decades before Vatican II was even though of). Logically, therefore, there can be no such thing as a history of Catholic theology or a history of Protestant theology: there can only be a history of Christian theology. And that is precisely what Congar has produced: a history of the common genesis and common evolution of a body of the theological doctrine which, as is becoming increasingly obvious, is the common treasure of the Christian Church. There is nothing in English today that can begin to compare with Congar's work in depth of understanding or in historical and theological perspective. Despite the occasional impenetrability of style and a rather text-bookish format. A History of Theology will inevitably be recognized as the work on the subject.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1968
Publisher: Doubleday