March 2004

Jesus the Christ.  By Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap. Our Sunday Visitor Books. 195 pages. $14.95.

There is no greater question than that which Jesus poses to every man: “What about you, who do you say I am?” (Mt. 16:15). Accordingly, there is no greater study than that of the person of Christ. This slender volume takes up the fundamental issues and essential history concerning the Church’s 2,000-year answer to Christ’s question. Divided into two main parts, the first is an excellent introduction to Christology, while the second treats the various explanations of how Christ saves.

The first section takes up the proper way to understand the New Testament appellations for Christ — e.g., Lord, Logos, Son of God, Son of Man, “I Am.” Weinandy argues that to explain such names, the early Church came to center her thinking around three pivotal truths: It is truly the Son of God who is man, it is truly man that the Son of God is, and the Son of God truly is man. For an orthodox Christology, all three truths must be held simultaneously.

The second half of this book turns to the how of Christ’s salvific activity. Weinandy begins with an illuminating explanation of the Cross. However, the Cross is never the final word. Sections on the Resurrection and Pentecost thus follow: Through His Incarnation, Christ offers man His very life, His very divinity. The reader is led through the relevant New Testament passages, through the Fathers and Councils to medieval and post-Reformation thought.

Fr. Weinandy is the Warden of Greyfriars College at Oxford University. What began as a distance-learning Christology course has been published as a superb introduction to the study of the person and work of Jesus. Precisely because it comes out of Fr. Weinandy’s interaction with students, this volume is arranged primarily for, but certainly not limited to, the beginner. Each section brings with it various questions for further study, highlights major points with a “Take Note of This” summary, and comes with self-studies that challenge how much the reader has thus far grasped. This is an excellent work for beginners in theology as well as those looking for a one-volume summary of the history of Christology.

- David Vincent Meconi





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