Christology: A Global Introduction // Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen.

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Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, one of the most productive theologians of our time, revisits his Christology: A Global Introduction after more than a decade with a fresher and wider scope. Initially hoping to be a quick update, Kärkkäinen rather quickly found himself needing a wholesome revision, especially in light of his massive 5-volume Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World nearing completion. The breadth that Kärkkäinen displays is easily one of his most impressive features in this short introduction (~230 pages). Yet, this is an introduction: breadth is favored over depth. But as an introduction to Christology, I have found Kärkkäinen’s purview more than helpful to ‘mentally map’ the trends and tracks of various Christologies. Additionally, his near endless bibliography is a trusted reference for primary and secondary sources.

The first half is devoted to historical Christology. The second half then surveys various contextual theologies (Euro-American Global North [yes, Euro-American-male theologies are contextual], Global South [Africa, Asia, Latin America], and “contextual” American [feminist, black, womanist, mujerista, postcolonial, Asian American, queer]). Finally, roughly the last 30 pages or so are devoted to interreligious dialogues–however his Christ and Reconciliation (the first of his five-volume set) delves much deeper.

Again, as an introductory text, this is superb. However, it is shallow (not because of any lack in part of the theologian but because of the confines of the book’s purposes), therefore it is highly encouraged to read further. Read–especially read–primarily sources.

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