Christianity : essence, history and future /

Main Author: Küng, Hans, 1928-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Continuum, 1995.
Series: Küng, Hans, 1928- Religiöse Situation der Zeit.
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Review by Choice Review

This historical/systematic tome by the resourceful Hans K"ung follows his Judaism (CH, Oct'92) as the second volume of a trilogy "on the religious situation of our time" from the perspective of the three prophetic world religions. A volume on Islam will follow. Christianity takes up where On Being a Christian (1976) left off, but it stands on its own. To understand the method of paradigm analysis employed here, the reader would find K"ung's Theology for the Third Millennium (CH, Feb'89) and Global Responsibility (CH, Jan'92) helpful. His goal, supported by generous corporation grants, is to establish the practical program of what he sees to be the sixth and current paradigm shift of Christianity, the "contemporary ecumenical (postmodern?) paradigm": forging world peace via peace among religions via dialogue between religions based on investigation of their foundation. This volume exemplifies the best yet from one of the world's premier teachers. Brief sections on the essence and center of Christianity are followed by a lengthy analysis of the entire history of Christianity to show how and why it became what it is today, with a view to moving it toward what it could be--a servant of Christ's mission. Breathtaking in scope and analytical power. Excellent layout, helpful graphics, name-only index, but comprehensive outline. A "must" for every serious library. General; undergraduate through professional. D. G. Schultenover; Creighton University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

The second volume in the Religious Situation of Our Time series initiated with Ku{{}}ng's Judaism (1991) constitutes this massive "paradigm analysis" of Christianity. It is tempting to refer to both the volume and the series as "magisterial," though Ku{{}}ng's rocky relationship with the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church gives that adjective a decidedly ironic twist. The book is further evidence of Ku{{}}ng's already well established place in a tradition of German systematizers whose systems, though driven by laudably global motivations, have had ambiguous global consequences. This book continues Ku{{}}ng's application of Thomas Kuhn's paradigm analysis--developed as a way to think about the structure of scientific revolutions--to religion. It is not so much a "history" as an examination of five "constellations" of Christianity (the Jewish Christian apocalyptic, Hellenistic Byzantine, Roman Catholic, Reformation Protestant, and Enlightenment modern paradigms) that constitute a still-present past of Christianity. This is an important contribution to the understanding of Christianity's present fragmentation and also to ecumenical conversation to the extent that it resists the temptation to think of later paradigms as rendering earlier paradigms obsolete; that all five paradigms coexist in Ku{{}}ng's analysis is a reminder that ecumenical conversation has to reckon with translation and (sometimes) untranslatability. (Reviewed July 1995)0826408079Steve Schroeder

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.