Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 40:2 (Spring 1978)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Aloys Grillmeier, S.J.: Christ in Christian Tradition. Volume I: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451). Translated by John Bowden. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975. xxiii, 599. $22.00.

The first edition of this important work came out in 1965. The volume before us, however, is not just a reprint or re-issue of the original, but rather a development of that justly praised volume, now completely revised and considerably enlarged. Two further volumes are in preparation, the first of which will carry the christological history on to the death of Gregory the Great at the beginning of the seventh century, while the second will move on from there to the period of the iconoclastic dispute (eighth and ninth centuries). Is it too much to hope that Dr. Grillmeier will go even beyond this and put the cause of theological scholarship still further in his debt by carrying his story right through to the present day? This would indeed be a maximum opus, but a work much needed and much to be desired from one who is such a master of his subject, so perceptive in his judgment, and so sympathetic to the establishment of an orthodox understanding of the doctrine of Christ’s person.

Though soteriology, the doctrine of the saving work of Christ, and christology, the doctrine of the divine-human person of Christ, are indissolubly related and interdependent (and both could appropriately be brought under the single head of christology), it is with the latter that Grillmeister is concerned. This connection was far from being unrecognized in the process of elaborating a correct doctrine of the person of Christ, for from at least the end of the second century on the importance was perceived of the affirmation, “What is not assumed is not redeemed,” as a governing principle. The patristic drama as it unfolds is shown to be in effect a conflict between the Logos-sarx christology and the Logos-anthropos christology. The advocates of the former envisaged the Logos as coming into association with the flesh or entering into a human body in such a way that, either explicitly or implicitly, the Logos took the place of the human soul; whereas the proponents of the Logos-anthropos, position insisted on a union of the Logos with our humanity in its

fullness, human soul included, contending that otherwise there was no true incarnation.

But the picture is anything but a simple one. Every conceivable variation and gradation enters the scene at one point or another: dualistic concepts derived from Greek or gnostic thought; the reduction of the Logos to a quasi-creaturely status which is neither truly human nor truly divine; the over-emphasis either on the unity of the person at the expense of th...

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