Christology provides an ecumenical, international, and contextual introduction to the person of Christ in contemporary theology, both in the Western academy and in two-thirds world theologies. It offers three main perspectives on Christology (biblical, historical, and contemporary) and combines classical and contextual work done in Christology over the course of church history.
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen begins with a survey of the various approaches to studying New Testament Christology on the basis of contemporary biblical studies. He compares and contrasts the Gospels’ testimonies to Christ as well as the outline of Pauline Christology.
Next, Kärkkäinen explores Christology from a historical perspective. He outlines the early Christological debates, including those at Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451), and describes their relevance to later history and contemporary theology. Kärkkäinen then describes the search for the historical Jesus and its relevance to Christology, as well as the reasons for its ultimate failure.
An extended discussion of 10 major Western Christologies forms the next section and provides the primary focus of the book. Included is an introduction to the work of ecumenically and theologically representative theologians, such as Karl Barth, Jurgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Karl Rahner, as well as Norman Kraus, Stanley Grenz, and John Hick.
Finally, Christology delves into contextualized interpretations of Christ in various parts of the world. North American, feminist, process, black, and postmodern Christologies are discussed and evaluated. Asian (“Christ as universal Savior”), African (“Christ as Ancestor”), and Latin American (“Christ as Liberator”) Christologies round out the discussion.
Christology should fit textbook needs in a variety of traditional and contemporary theology classes. The book will be a natural complement to a standard doctrine of Christ textbook in that it provides in one place materials that normally can be found only in several scattered sources. Additionally, it offers valuable insight for scholars, pastors, and readers interested in contemporary Christology.
Christology is profound and insightful in taking issue with various approaches and understandings of Jesus Christ. It is an original and creative masterpiece that introduces Christological issues with intellectual clarity and theological quality. After reading this work, I have no hesitation in recommending it to all students at seminaries and anyone interested in Christianity and theology.
—Paul Chung, associate professor of mission and world Christianity, Luther Seminary
No other book so comprehensively and helpfully surveys contemporary options in Christian thinking about Christ, including Christologies arising out of the two-thirds world. It is a reliable guide to cutting-edge reflection on the history, development, and contemporary contextualization of the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
—Roger E. Olson, professor of theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s Christology is breathtaking in scope and pace. This introduction is unique in breadth and clarity. Every reader can learn from it.
—Colin Brown, senior professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Kärkkäinen shows the vast richness of Christological reflection. . . . The breadth of views is remarkable.
Kärkkäinen does a commendable job of presenting the foundations of the various Christological approaches without offering diatribe against the subjects under discussion. Given the range of theologians . . . this discipline shows Kärkkäinen’s professionalism and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the book as a text for students.
—Review and Expositor
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen received his DTheol from the University of Helsinki. He is a professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and also holds teaching posts at the University of Helsinki and Iso Kirja College in Finland. He is the author of Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective.