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Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality

by Peter J. Leinhart

Athana­sius launch­es the Foun­da­tions of The­o­log­i­cal Exe­ge­sis and Chris­t­ian Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty series, which crit­i­cal­ly recov­ers patris­tic exe­ge­sis and inter­pre­ta­tion for con­tem­po­rary the­ol­o­gy and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. Each vol­ume cov­ers a spe­cif­ic church father and illu­mi­nates the exe­ge­sis that under­girds the Nicene Creed.

If Chris­t­ian the­ol­o­gy had super­heroes, Athana­sius would per­haps lead the list thanks to his some­times sin­gle-hand­ed strug­gle to main­tain trini­tar­i­an ortho­doxy. Lei­thart’s excel­lent study shows Athana­sius to be chris­to­cen­tric in his bib­li­cal inter­pre­ta­tion and the­ol­o­gy long before Barth made it fash­ion­able to be so. The sense of the Fathers’ is indeed being vis­it­ed upon their evan­gel­i­cal great-grand­chil­dren, and with most­ly salu­tary effect. Lei­thart has got the Foun­da­tions of The­o­log­i­cal Exe­ge­sis and Chris­t­ian Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty series off to a splen­did start.”–Kevin J. Van­hooz­er, Wheaton Col­lege and Grad­u­ate School

Peter Lei­thart has authored a remark­ably good book. He pos­sess­es an in-depth and insight­ful knowl­edge of the entire Athanasian cor­pus, and he has exam­ined all of the rel­e­vant sec­ondary lit­er­a­ture. His schol­ar­ship is impec­ca­ble. More­over, Lei­thart’s splen­did and stim­u­lat­ing orig­i­nal­i­ty resides in his clear and lucid artic­u­la­tion of Athana­sius’s bib­li­cal the­ol­o­gy and the meta­physics that lies with­in that bib­li­cal the­ol­o­gy. Thus, he has made a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to grow­ing aca­d­e­m­ic appre­ci­a­tion of the indis­pens­able and fruit­ful rela­tion­ship between the bib­li­cal text and the doc­tri­nal state­ment. Lei­thart’s Athana­sius is, as a result, a fresh, per­cep­tive, and reward­ing study.” – Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap, The Sec­re­tari­at for Doc­trine, Unit­ed States Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops, Wash­ing­ton, DC

The action of this book occurs on three lev­els at least: most obvi­ous­ly, it is a pre­sen­ta­tion of Athana­sius in his con­fronta­tion with Ari­an­ism; then, too, the author con­ducts his own engage­ment with some mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary schol­ars both in their inter­pre­ta­tion of Athana­sius and in their treat­ment of the sub­stan­tive ques­tions; and final­ly, some peren­ni­al issues of scrip­tur­al exe­ge­sis and hermeneu­tics peep more direct­ly through in many places. Peter Lei­thart describes his gov­ern­ing sys­tem­at­ic pur­pose as the evan­ge­liza­tion of meta­physics,’ and it may be affirmed that clas­si­cal doc­trines of the Trin­i­ty and the incar­na­tion here shine through in all their sote­ri­o­log­i­cal strength.”–Geof­frey Wain­wright, Duke Divin­i­ty School


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