Review: The College Student’s Introduction to Christology by William P. Loewe

college-students-introduction-christology-william-p-loewe-paperback-cover-artI ought to know this stuff inside and out, truth be told.  I mean, I went to college to study this stuff! I have a big shiny degree that I paid over $80,000 dollars for that says in fancy letters “Theological Studies.” I should know a thing or two about Christology.

Alas, I do not, or did not, in this case. Make no mistake; VFCC tried to teach me this business, but, at the time, Facebook was more interesting. I regret this decision today, as I now find myself learning and re-learning everything I didn’t pay attention to or retain during my college years.  It’s not that I learned nothing; it’s just that I missed a great deal.

This is where The College Student’s Introduction to Christology comes in. I remember learning a few things about Christology, but not much. My theology classes were devoted more to things like the early church fathers, Aquinas’ Summa, Augustine’s Confessions, and Dante’s Divine Comedy, all of which were excellent in and of themselves.  However, theological topics tended to be summarized and taught in one class, rather than focused on over a period of time (such is the nature of overview courses), so I don’t recall much regarding this subject, other than perhaps a few things regarding what the Nicene Creed says about Jesus

TCSITC, however, has a different focus than I would have expected.  This is one of the books I violated my “no buying books” rule for, and I did so because, knowing that I wanted to read more regarding historical Jesus, I thought a primer would be quite useful. Written by a Catholic scholar, I expected a very Nicene Creed dedicated text with some talk about the historicity of Jesus being who the church says He is. What I got, however, was a very historical-critical text, which treats Jesus with what is known as a low, ascending approach (meaning they start with the person and work their way up to His divinity), giving as much credit to the first and second quests for the historical Jesus as possible, then tackling the case of Jesus’ resurrection, followed then by its meaning.

The book is no more than 214 pages in length, and I feel like I finally understand what people are talking about when it comes to quests for the historical Jesus, and what Jesus means for our world today. Loewe spells it out pretty simply, but doesn’t treat you like you’re some five-year-old asking really weird questions.  In many ways, he’s simply summarizing what modern scholarship has shaped Christology into, while still adding just a hint of his own flavor to it. It makes me happy as well that he doesn’t just treat the historical-critical method (if you want to know more, follow the link) as some modernist heresy, but as a useful tool that tells us much more about what Jesus might have actually said and done.

In the end, I definitely recommend this book, whether you’re interested in theology or not.  It makes sense of what comes across as a lot of academic gibberish, and is accessible to anyone who simply wants to know more.   It’s already taught me a lot!

(Note: no more reviews or posts this week.  Taking a break until New Years Eve).

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