Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 25:3 (Sep 1982)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Das Wunder: Das theologische Wunderverstännis im Horizont des neuzeitlichen Natur- und Geschichtsbegriffs. By Bernhard Bron. Göttinger theologische Arbeiten 2. Göttin-gen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1975, 346 pp., DM 44, —.

As the subtitle suggests, this volume is an account of how modern theologians have understood miracles against the backdrop of modern ideas of nature and history. After sketching the history of the idea of miracle from Augustine to Schleiermacher, the author delineates the problems raised by modern natural and historical science with a view to discussing the concept of miracle in twentieth-century theology. The book ends with an attempt to restate the Biblical idea of miracle (cf. pp. 13, 246-248).

If for no other reason, the book is valuable for all the historical data contained in the text (pp. 13-248), not to mention the extensive notes (pp. 249-309) and bibliography (pp. 310-346). On the negative side of the ledger, as far as the historical discussion is concerned one should mention the following liabilities: First, the book has no index, though there is a detailed table of contents. Second, the field covered is so great that, from the nature of the case, the account of a particular thinker’s point of view is often very sketchy. For instance, David Hume is disposed of on one page, Max Planck on a page and a hall and Walter Künneth on half a page. Third, the thinkers selected are with very few exceptions all German-speaking. In fact there are no exceptions among those discussed from the German Enlightenment to the present. Even though it cannot be denied that philosophical and theological thought in the last two hundred years has been dominated by those writing in German, a balanced discussion would have to take others into account. Fourth, the author seems to present each thinker’s views haphazardly rather than in terms of well-thought-out categories of interpretation. Fifth, there is, at the expense of careful analysis, too much dependence on secondary sources and too many quotations from both primary and secondary sources. Finally, the author sometimes seems to stray from his subject, as suggested by a seven-page discussion of Gerhard Ebeling’s theology with little reference to his notion of miracle (pp. 143-149).

With respect to matters of form, this paperbound book suffers from being a photome-chanically-reproduced typescript, containing typographical errors and inconsistencies in punctuation, abbreviation, and enumeration (e.g., on p. 205 where five announced points are only enumerated as far as points I and 2). The work also suffers from the lack of footnotes, all references and notes coming at the end. This is maddening, especially when one has to search in the notes for the authors of anonymous qu...

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