Cover Page


Notes on Contributors


I. Purpose of This Book

I. Selection

II. Invitation to Participation



Early Centuries

The Apocalypse of John

Arius (c.256–336)


II. Writings


III. Significance

Athanasius (c.295–373)


II. Works



Augustine of Hippo (c.354–430)


II. Theology

II. Writings

Boethius (c.475–c.524)

I. Life and Context

I. Intellectual Influences and Program

Logic in the Service of Theology

II. The Consolation of Philosophy

The Cappadocians (c.329–c.524)

Basil of Caesarea

Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nyssa

Cyril of Alexandria (c.378–444) and Nestorius of Constantinople (c.381–c.451)


Cyril of Alexandria

Nestorius of Constantinople


Ephrem the Syrian (c.306–73)

I. Life

I. Theology

Ignatius of Antioch (c.35–c.110)

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century)

Divine Intellect

Salvation History/Economy

Summing up/Recapitulation


John the Evangelist


II. Theological Context and History of the Johannine Writings

II. Theological Method and Message in John

II. The Theological Agenda: Seeking the Truth

II. Postscript: Johannine Effects

Marcion (c.85–c.160)

Maximos the Confessor (580–662)


II. Works

III. Ascetical Works

II. Dogmatic Works

II. Exegetical Works

III. Liturgical Works

II. Epistles

III. Scholia to Corpus Dionysiacum


III. Theology


Origen (c.185–254)


II. Writings

II. Theology

II. Significance

The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul in His Immediate Context

II. The Letters of Paul as Sources for Understanding His Theology

II. Overall Theological Issues in Paul

III. Conclusion

The Synoptic Evangelists:Mark, Matthew, and Luke


II. Mark

II. Matthew

II. Luke

Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus) (c.155–c.225)

I. His Literary Works

I. The New Prophecy

II. Tradition

I. Scripture

II. Doctrinal Foundations

I. Manuscripts

Middle Ages

Peter Abelard (1079–1142)

St Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109)


II. Method

III. Theology

II. Significance

Thomas Aquinas, OP (c.1224–74)


II. Early Education

II. Thomas and Aristotelian Philosophy

University Studies

III. Teacher and Writer

III. Thomas the Intellectual Mystic

Modern Influence

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

Bonaventure (c.1217–74)

I. Life

I. Works

II. Theology

Duns Scotus (c.1266–1308)


II. Christocentrism and the Immaculate Conception

II. Theological Language

III. Divine Infinity and the Formal Distinction

II. The Metaphysics of the Trinity

II. God’s Existence

II. The Proof for the Trinity

II. God’s Knowledge and Will, Ethics, and Human Freedom

Julian of Norwich (1342–c.1416)

William Ockham (c.1280–c.1349)


Reformation Period

John Calvin (1509–64)


II. Key Influences

Richard Hooker (1554–1600)

I. Hooker’s Life and Context

I. Summary

Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560)

The Reformation


II. Historical Background

II. Issues Common to the Reformation Movements

II. Major Reformation Figures

II. Progress of Reform in Some Specific Countries

II. Historiography of the Terms “Reformation” and “Counter-Reformation”

Teresa of Ávila (1515–82)

Enlightenment and Modern Period

Donald Baillie (1887–1954)

The Early Years

II. Faith in God

II. A Preaching Ministry

III. The Later 1930s

II. 1939–54

II. Theology of the Sacraments

II. What Is the Church?

III. The Sermons

IV. Conclusion

John Baillie (1886–1960)

The Roots of Religion in the Human Soul (1926)

The Interpretation of Religion (1929)

The Place of Jesus Christ in Modern Christianity

Our Knowledge of God (1939)

Invitation to Pilgrimage (1942)

Karl Barth (1886–1968)

Emil Brunner (1889–1966)

I. Life

I. Theology

II. Anthropology, Eristics, and Social Ethics

I. Significance

John Nelson Darby (1800–1882)


II. Locating the Life

III. Theology

II. Significance

Georges Vasilievich Florovsky (1893–1979)


II. Life

II. Theological Legacy

II. Conclusion

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831)


II. Reading and Interpreting Hegel

II. Hegel: The Philosopher of Freedom

III. Hegel’s Early Theological Writings

IV. The Beginning of Hegel’s System: The Recasting of Kantian Critical Philosophy

II. Hegel’s Logic

III. The Phenomenology of Spirit

Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion

III. Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion

IV. Hegel’s Legacy

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)

Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55)


II. Kierkegaard’s Anti-Hegelianism

II. Characteristics of Kierkegaard’s Writings

III. Kierkegaard’s Writings

II. Kierkegaard’s Legacy

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898–1963)

Introduction and Biography

II. Theology

II. Conclusion

John Henry Newman (1801–90)

I. Background

I. Newman’s Theology

II. The Arians of the Fourth Century

I. The Sermons

I. The Oxford Tracts

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)


II. Career

II. Theology and Politics

II. Legacy

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768–1834)

I. Life

II. On Religion

III. The Christian Faith

I. Significance

Gottfried Thomasius (1802–75)


II. Life and Works

II. Thomasius’s Theology

II. Thomasius’s Achievement

Paul Tillich (1886–1965)


II. What Is Theology?

II. Revelation

III. Doctrine of God


III. Christology

III. Spirit

IV. Church

III. Reception and Influence

B. B. Warfield (1851–1921)

I. Life

II. Theology

III. Significance

Twentieth Century to Present

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–88)

Theological Habits of Mind

The Trinitarian Ground of Being

Holiness and Truth

Serge Laugier de Beaurecueil (1917–2005)


II. Life, Study, and Work

Black Theology

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–45)

A Fragmentary yet Fulfilled Life

Christ the Centre

A Theology of Sociality

Confessing Christ Here and Now

The Ethics of Free Responsibility

Christianity in a World Come of Age

James Cone (1938– )

Austin Farrer (1904–68)

Hans Frei (1922–88)

Colin Gunton (1941–2003)

Gustavo Gutiérrez (1928– )

I. Life

II. Theology

I. Significance

Stanley Hauerwas (1940– )

I. Career

I. Inner Dynamic

II. Key Theological and Philosophical Debates

I. Significance

John Hick (1922–2012)


II. Life

II. Key Themes and Contributions

II. General Assessment

Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ (1941– )

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–68)

I. Theology

Key Influences of King’s Theology of Love and Passive Resistance

II. Theological Summary

Liberal Theology

The Challenge of Hume and Kant

The Beginning of the Modern Liberal Theological Response

George Lindbeck (1923– )

Donald MacKinnon (1913–94)

John Milbank (1952– )

Jürgen Moltmann (1926– )

I. Life

I. Context

II. Moltmann’s Theology

I. Writings

II. Major Themes

I. Significance

II. Methodological Variety

Richard John Neuhaus (1936–2009)

James Packer (1926– )

I. Life

II. Theology

I. Influence

Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928– )


II. Revelation and History

II. Christology

II. Theology and Sciences

III. Anthropology

II. Systematic Theology

III. Conclusion

Charles Philip Price (1920–99)


II. Theology

Process Theology

Charles Hartshorne

Process Theology and Providence

Karl Rahner (1904–84)

Rosemary Radford Ruether (1936– )

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (1938– )

Dorothee Sölle (1929–2003)

Richard Swinburne (1934– )

I. Biography

II. Principal Theological Arguments

I. Criticism

II. Assessment

Vatican II

The Council’s Eve

Pope John’s Call

The Debate

Conceptualist Thomism

Overcoming Past Opponents

The Difficulties

The Council’s Texts



Transcendental Thomism


What Did the Council Achieve?

Keith Ward (1938– )

I. Life

II. Theology

I. Significance



The Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Religion

The Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Religion series presents a collection of the most recent scholarship and knowledge about world religions. Each volume draws together newly-commissioned essays by distinguished authors in the field, and is presented in a style which is accessible to undergraduate students, as well as scholars and the interested general reader. These volumes approach the subject in a creative and forward-thinking style, providing a forum in which leading scholars in the field can make their views and research available to a wider audience.

Recently Published

The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion
Edited by Robert A. Segal

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’ān
Edited by Andrew Rippin

The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought
Edited by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi'

The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture
Edited by John F. A. Sawyer

The Blackwell Companion to Catholicism
Edited by James J. Buckley, Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt, and Trent Pomplun

The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity
Edited by Ken Parry

The Blackwell Companion to the Theologians
Edited by Ian S. Markham

The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature
Edited by Rebecca Lemon, Emma Mason, John Roberts, and Christopher Rowland

The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament
Edited by David E. Aune

The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Theology
Edited by David Fergusson

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America
Edited by Philip Goff

The Blackwell Companion to Jesus
Edited by Delbert Burkett

The Blackwell Companion to Paul
Edited by Stephen Westerholm

The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence
Edited by Andrew R. Murphy

The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, Second Edition
Edited by Stanley Hauerwas and Samuel Wells

The Wiley-Blackwell Companion Practical Theology
Edited by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice
Edited by Michael D. Palmer and Stanley M. Burgess

The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Chinese Religions
Edited by Randall L. Nadeau

The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to African Religions
Edited by Elias Kifon Bongmba

The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism
Edited by Julia A. Lamm

The Student’s Companion to the Theologians
Edited by


Notes on Contributors

Travis E. Ables is Visiting Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. His upcoming book studies the pneumatologies of Augustine and Karl Barth.

Efrain Agosto, PhD, is Professor of New Testament Studies at New York Theological Seminary. His book, Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul (2005) studies leadership and status in the Jesus movement and Pauline Christianity. He has also published a Spanish-language lay commentary on Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Corintios (2008).

Lewis Ayres is Bede Chair in Catholic Theology at Durham University. He is currently the Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology. He has a DPhil from Oxford University and a Master’s from St Andrews University. His research interests focus on Augustine and on Greek and Latin Trinitarian theology, christology, and pneumatology in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Matthew Berke was for many years the managing editor of the journal First Things. He has a PhD from Yale, a master’s from Columbia, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He writes on issues of politics, religion, and culture.

Augustine Casiday (PhD, University of Durham) is Senior Lecturer in Historical Theology and directs the MA program in Monastic Studies in the University of Wales, Lampeter. His research interests include patristics and Orthodox Christianity.

Gary Chartier is a faculty member at La Sierra University, California. His books include The Analogy of Love: Divine and Human Love at the Center of Christian Theology (2007).

David Cheetham is Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, UK. He specializes in the philosophy and theology of religions. He is the author of John Hick (2003) and numerous articles in journals including The Heythrop Journal, Sophia, New lackfriars, and Theology.

Kelton Cobb is a faculty member at the Oregon Extension of Eastern University. He has written on theology and popular culture in his book, The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture (2005), which draws from the work of Paul Tillich in the area of theology of culture. He is a member of the North American Paul Tillich Society.

Mary E. Coleman was a specialist in Church History, a regular contributor to Reviews in Religion and Theology and adjunct Professor of Church History at Hartford Seminary.

Joseph Constant currently serves as the Director of Ethnic Ministries and Student Life at Virginia Theological Seminary. In this role, he is primarily responsible for co-ordinating the Seminary’s Racial and Ethnic Ministries, including recruitment and outreach efforts and the development of cross-cultural campus activities.

Richard Cross is John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, having previously been Professor of Medieval Theology in the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. His most recent books are The Metaphysics of the Incarnation (2002), and Duns Scotus on God (2005).

Minlib Dallh, OP, completed his doctoral studies at Hartford Seminary in Islamic Studies and is a Dominican friar of the Southern Province of the USA.

Ivor J. Davidson is Dean of Divinity and Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at the University of St. Andrews. He has published widely in historical and systematic theology, and has a particular interest in patristics, in which his publications include a major critical edition of the De officiis of Ambrose of Milan (2 vols, 2002).

R. John Elford is the Visiting Professor of Ethics at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of The Pastoral Nature of Theology and The Ethics of Uncertainty.

Siobhán Garrigan is a Senior Lecturer on contemporary approaches to theology at the University of Exeter. She is also Director of the new Exeter Centre for Ecumenical and Practical Theology.

Katharina Greschat is Doctor of Theology (University of Münster) and Privatdozentin for Church History (University of Mainz). She holds the Professorship for Patristic Studies/Ancient Church History at Humboldt University of Berlin in proxy of the President of Humboldt University.

John W. de Gruchy is Emeritus Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Editor of the ‘Making of Modern Theology’ series (Fortress Press), he is also author of Christianity and Democracy (1995) and Christianity, Art and Transformation (2001), among other works, and editor of the Cambridge Companion to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He has translated, edited, and served on the Board for the English-language edition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Works.

Nathan J. Hallanger received his PhD in theology from the Graduate Theological Union. He is co-­editor (with Ted Peters) of God’s Action in Nature’s World: Essays in Honour of Robert John Russell (2006). He is Special Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Augsburg College, Minnesota.

Brian Hebblethwaite, DD, Life Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge, formerly Lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.

Leslie Houlden has taught in the University of Oxford, where he was Fellow Chaplain of Trinity College, and at King’s College, London, where he was finally Professor of Theology. He is author of some 20 books.

Thomas L. Humphries is Assistant Professor of Theology at Saint Leo University, Florida.

Molly F. James holds a BA from Tufts University, an MDiv from Yale Divinity School and Berkeley at Yale, and a PhD from the University of Exeter. She is Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut.

Nancy C. James is priest associate at St John’s Lafayette Square in Washington, DC and a professor at American University in Washington, DC. She received her MDiv from Virginia Theological Seminary and her PhD from the University of Virginia.

J’annine Jobling, PhD, is Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University. Her interests focus on feminist theology, postmodernism, and hermeneutics. Her research is primarily centered upon feminist biblical hermeneutics in postmodern context; and this was the subject of her doctoral thesis. Jan Jobling is a graduate of Cambridge University and the University of Kent, and formerly worked as a lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. Dr Jobling is the author of Feminist Biblical Interpretation in Theological Context: Restless Readings (2002), co-editor, with Ian Markham, of Theological Liberalism. Creative and Critical (2000), and co-editor, with Robert Hannaford, of Theology and the Body: Gender, Text and Ideology (1999).

Daniel A. Keating is Associate Professor of Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, where he teaches on Scripture, Theology, and the Church Fathers. His doctoral dissertation on Cyril of Alexandria’s theology of sanctification and divinization was published as The Appropriation of Divine Life in Cyril of Alexandria (2004). Dr Keating is co-editor and contributor to The Theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria: A Critical Appreciation (2003); Aquinas on Doctrine: A Critical Introduction (2004); and Aquinas on Scripture: An Introduction to His Biblical Commentaries (2005). He is the editor of St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Colossians (2006), and his most recent work is Deification and Grace (2007).

David R. Law is the Reader in Christian Thought at the University of Manchester. With a doctorate from the University of Oxford, he has worked at the University of Manchester since 1994. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Inspiration (2001).

Shannon C. Ledbetter is Community Canon at Blackburn Cathedral. She is a Process Theologian engaging in practical ministry. With degrees from the University of Louisville, Virginia Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Liverpool, she has contributed to Encountering Religion (edited by Ian Markham and Tinu Ruparell) and Theological Liberalism (edited by Ian Markham) and has done countless reviews for Conversations in Religion and Theology. She is also involved in developing resources for inter-faith dialogue and religion and the arts.

Alastair H. B. Logan is retired as Senior Lecturer in Christian Doctrine at Exeter University. He studied at Edinburgh, Harvard, and St Andrews. His main research interests are in Gnosticism, early Christian heresy, including Arius and Marcellus of Ancyra, and early Christian art and architecture.

Christy Lohr is the Associate Dean for Religious Life at Duke University Chapel, North Carolina. She served as the co-ordinator for the World Council of Churches’ “Interfaith Education Project” and was a member of the North American Interfaith Network’s Board of Directors.

Andrew Louth is a professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, UK. His interests are in Patristic and Byzantine studies. His books include Greek East and Latin West: The Church AD 681–1071 (2007) and St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology (2002).

Philip McCosker is Deputy Master and Research Fellow in Theology at St Benet’s Hall in Oxford. He has pursued theological studies in Oxford, Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge where he recently completed his doctorate at Peterhouse on Christological configurations of theological paradox in mystical theologies. He teaches theology in Cambridge and Oxford. He was the editor of What Is It That the Scripture Says? (2006) and is co-editor (with Denys Turner) of The Cambridge Companion to the Summa Theologiæ of Thomas Aquinas (forthcoming 2009). He is the founding ­editor of the “Foreign Language Books” section of Reviews in Religion and Theology.

F. J. Michael McDermott is a Jesuit priest and professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.

Mark McIntosh is a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and did his undergraduate work at Yale University. After pursuing a second BA at the University of Oxford and completing his Master of Divinity degree at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Manhattan, he earned his PhD in Theology from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. His work there on the christology of the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar developed into a book, which has since been published under the title, Christology from Within.

Bernadette McNary-Zak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Rhodes College. She holds a BA from University of Rochester, an MA from Catholic University of America, and a PhD from University of Toronto.

Kevin Magill is part-time lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol, and Head of Religious Studies at Reading Blue Coat School. He completed his doctoral work at University of Bristol on Julian of Norwich’s Showings.

Ian S. Markham is the Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary. He is an Associate Priest at St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Theology of Engagement (2003) and Understanding Christian Doctrine (2007). Awards include the Teape Lectures of 2004 in India and the Robertson Fellow in Glasgow 2006.

Clive Marsh, BA, MEd, DPhil, is Senior Lecturer and Director of Learning and Teaching at the Institute of Lifelong Learning in the University of Leicester, UK.

Ryan A. Neal is Associate Professor & Chair of Undergraduate Programs in Christian Studies at Anderson College, South Carolina. He holds a BA from Texas Tech University, M,Div from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, MTh and PhD from the University of Edinburgh (2005).

George Newlands is Professor Emeritus of Divinity and an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. He is a graduate of Edinburgh and Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Recent ­publications include Christ and Human Rights (2006) and Faith and Human Rights, with Richard Amesbury (2008).

Kenneth G. C. Newport is Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Theology at Liverpool Hope University, UK. A graduate of the University of Oxford, Kenneth has a particular interest in the use and influence of biblical texts, particularly the book of Revelation. He has also published widely on the life, literature, and legacy of Charles Wesley. He has previously taught in Hong Kong and at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester.

Eric Osborn is Emeritus Professor at the Department of History, La Trobe University and at the Department of Fine Arts, Classical Studies, and Archaeology, University of Melbourne. His books include The Beginning of Christian Philosophy (1981), The Emergence of Christian Theology (1993), and Tertullian, First Theologian of the West (1997).

Martyn Percy (BA Hons, MA, MEd, PhD) is the Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon and the Oxford Ministry Course. He is also Honorary Professor of Theological Education at King’s College London, an Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, and an Associate Priest in the Wheatley Team of Churches in Oxfordshire.

Craig A. Phillips, PhD, is the Rector of St Peter’s Church, Arlington. He is an adjunct professor at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Andrew Radde-Gallwitz teaches in the department of theology at Loyola University, Chicago. With a doctorate from Emory University, he is the author of numerous articles.

Joanne Maguire Robinson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is the author of Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete’sMirror of Simple Souls” (2001) and the forthcoming If It Tarries, Wait for It: Waiting in Christian Thought and Practice. She holds an MTS from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD from University of Chicago.

Wayne G. Rollins is currently Adjunct Professor of Scripture at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, and Professor Emeritus of Theology at Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute and Graduate Program of Religious Studies. He received the BD, MA, and PhD degrees from Yale University, with postgraduate study at Cambridge University, Harvard University, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He is the founding chair of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, an international organization of biblical scholars, and has published extensively in the field.

J. Elton Smith, Jr. is a PhD candidate in history at Fordham University, New York. He is an attorney and an Episcopal priest and teaches part-time at Montana Tech in Butte, Montana.

Cynthia Stewart is an elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and holds a doctorate in the history of the AME Zion Church from the University of Exeter.

Tarmo Toom, PhD, Associate Professor of Patristics, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. Dr Toom is from Estonia. He is a member of the North American Patristics Society, a Regular Contributor for Reviews in Religion and Theology, and a member of the Steering Committee for the group “Augustine and Augustinianisms” at the American Academy of Religion. His most recent book is Classical Trinitarian Theology: A Textbook (2007).

Medi Ann Volpe, PhD, is Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Ethics at Cranmer Hall Theological College in Durham, UK. Her dissertation, “Make Love Your Aim: Sin and the Goal of Charity in Christian Formation,” brings themes in contemporary theology into conversation with Gregory of Nyssa. Her research interests include theological method, ecclesiology, and the relationship between doctrine and practice.

Stephen H. Webb is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wabash College, Indiana. His books include American Providence, The Divine Voice, The Gifting God, The Dome of Eden, and Jesus Christ, Eternal God.

Christopher L. Webber is a graduate of Princeton University and has two earned degrees (STB, STM) and an honorary doctorate (DD) from the General Theological Seminary. A priest of the Episcopal Church, he has served parishes in the New York-Connecticut area and Tokyo, Japan. He is the author of some 25 books, ranging from a study of marriage (Re-Inventing Marriage) to an anthology of Anglican prayer (Give Us Grace) and Beyond Beowulf, the first-ever sequel to Beowulf.

Samuel Wells is the vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. His publications include Transforming Fate into Destiny, Improvisation, and God’s Companions. Dr Wells received his PhD in Christian Ethics from Durham University, UK. He has written numerous books and articles on Christian social ethics. His latest book, co-edited with Sarah Coakley, is Praying for England: The Heart of the Church (2008).

D. H. Williams (PhD, MA University of Toronto, 1991) is currently Professor of Religion in Patristics and Historical Theology in the Department of Religion of Baylor University, Texas. Prior to 2002 he was Associate Professor of Theology at Loyola University Chicago. His major books include Tradition, Scripture and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church (2006), Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants (1999), and Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene–Arian Conflicts (1995).

Christian Collins Winn (BA, University of North Carolina; MDiv, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; PhD, Drew University) is Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Bethel University, with special interest in post-­Reformation and modern theology.


From the outside, theology looks difficult. How exactly do we reflect on ultimate questions? How can we have any confidence that our claims are true? These are obvious and legitimate questions. The temptation is to decide that these questions are impossible to answer and dismiss the entire subject area.

This is a temptation that is important to resist. From the outside the talk of space being curved sounds bizarre, but in Einstein’s world the sun’s gravity really does create a geometry of spheres. Naturally, it takes some time to understand the discourse. To start with it will sound odd and, in the case of Einstein, there is some complicated mathematics that one will need to grasp. However, if one does this work and gets inside a world, then it becomes intelligible.

This Companion is an introduction to the remarkable world of theology and theologians. You are being invited to ‘understand’—to step inside—and thereby start to appreciate a discourse that those within certainly appreciate is difficult. These articles are intended to provide a way in to the connections, links, and influences that create a distinctive approach to the Christian faith. This is a book dedicated to Christian theology, although there are entries describing theologians who have been influenced by other faith ­traditions. It explores a world where the disclosure of God in Jesus is in some way (and as you will discover the ways are very various) a revelation to humanity about the nature of God.

Theology is not just about doctrine. Theology emerges out of life and story. So in every case, we touch on the factors in a person’s life that shapes that theology. For some forms of theology (black and ­feminist), the experience shapes the theology in very ­distinctive ways.

Welcome to this world. Please step inside and learn to appreciate the challenging world of theology.

I. Purpose of This Book

The primary purpose of this reference work is to introduce the remarkable world of theology to a thoughtful interested reader. However, the approach and selection have been shaped by a particular ­audience in mind. This audience is the student who is taking introductory classes in theology.

As every professor knows, one never moves beyond the basics unless one can assume the basics. Depth in any discipline requires one to assume that students have learned certain key concepts and heard of certain key people. However, in a world where countless practical considerations make it difficult to insist that certain courses need to be taken in a particular order, professors find themselves constantly revisiting the basics.

The purpose of this substantial reference work is to free up the professor from this task. The professor can invite the student to read the substantial introductory articles on this or that theologian, and then assume a basic map of positions and views in the mind of the student. So the goal of this book is to provide students with accurate, informed, accessible articles on all the key people in our discipline. Articles are structured in a similar way: after a brief survey of the life, a description of the theology follows, culminating in a brief discussion of the significance of that theologian.

To help the students there is a glossary, which includes the terms that most often appear in the various articles. In addition, there is a timeline, thereby ensuring that students locate the theologian in the appropriate context of world events.

II. Selection

It is inevitable that selection is difficult. Who precisely one includes and excludes will be hotly contested. The criterion for inclusion is the introductory theology course—theologians that are included are the ones that are likely to be mentioned in such a course. Now, given the introductory theology course comes from a variety of different perspectives, this Companion has attempted to make sure that key people in the main approaches are included. So, for example, Martin Luther, James Packer, and C. S. Lewis are important for the evangelicals; Julian of Norwich, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza are important for the feminists; Thomas Aquinas, Serge Laugier de Beaurecueil, and Richard John Neuhaus are important for the Roman Catholics; and Martin Luther King Jr. and James Cone are important for those approaching the discipline from the perspective of black theology.

Naturally, all these approaches are in conversation with the broad center of the Christian tradition. So, naturally, there are some theologians who are included simply because they have shaped the tradition in a major way—Aquinas, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. The key theologians of the New Testament are there: Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the author of the Apocalypse of John. Some are included because they were a particular influence at a particular time—thus John Nelson Darby and the Left Behind theology or Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism. Others are included because they represent a particular approach—Richard Swinburne takes an analytical philosophical approach and Keith Ward has produced a systematic theology which takes comparative theology seriously. Others are there because they represent a school—James Cone is the main representative of black theology and Rosemary Radford Reuther was the first to provide a feminist systematic theology.

The length of articles varies. Those in the “Early Centuries” and “Middle Ages” are longer than those in the “Enlightenment and Modern Period”; this is partly because modernity has had such a dramatic impact on the sheer variety of approaches that one needed more (and therefore shorter) articles for this period. Given that we are living in the modern period, it is especially important that students have a sense of trajectories that are currently emerging.

Inevitably there will be those who feel that this Companion needed to include this or that person—and a project of this nature could easily be twice the size. There are many important voices that are not included. Therefore, in certain key areas, there is a general description of a theological approach, which ensures that a range of theologians in that area are identified and described (e.g., black theology, liberal theology, and Vatican II).

III. Invitation to Participation

Theology is not a discipline that one observes from afar. Instead, it is one that every reader is invited to join. This is the hard work of making sense of what we learn in Christ about God and God’s relations to the world. Each Christian is invited to engage with these writers and join the conversation. These theologians are very diverse—from evangelical to liberal and from Catholic to Protestant. As one agrees and disagrees, one arrives at a greater sense of what one believes. This process is the act of participation in the conversation.

Ian S. Markham
Virginia Theological Seminary


It was Rebecca Harkin—the commissioning editor of Wiley-Blackwell—who had the original vision. It is one of the delights of my life to work with Rebecca: she understands the worlds of the academy, church, and publishing perfectly. I am deeply grateful to her and her team at Wiley-Blackwell.

Naturally a project of this scope is very dependent on the contributors who worked hard on their articles to capture the heart of their subject ­accurately and thoughtfully. I am humbled by the willingness of some of the most interesting scholars in the academy today to find time to write for the Companion. I am confident their willingness will enhance the value of this reference work. An edited volume of this scope—with so many contributors with different styles—requires exceptional expertise at the copy-editing stage. I wish to thank Caroline Richards and Ben Shelton for their efforts in this area.

The project evolved over several years, so various colleagues were intimately involved. It started at Hartford Seminary, with Yvonne Bowen as the assistant; then Christy Lohr took it on. As I moved to Virginia Theological Seminary, it was Katie Glover who helped keep all the various projects in my office progressing. Finally, Leslie Steffensen agreed to make sure that the manuscript was delivered to the publisher on time. For her exceptional hard work and careful attention to detail, I am extremely grateful.

For this paperback edition, I am grateful to Elizabeth Locher for helping to make appropriate adjustments and changes to the text.

When it comes to theology, my 16-year-old son Luke remains my favorite conversation partner. He has a good aptitude for the technicalities of the subject. I appreciate his endless capacity to help me see the world differently.

Finally, my delightful wife Lesley helped out with the project in countless ways. I appreciate her interest in my work very much. She is, as ever, the best.


Ian Markham is grateful to Blackwell Publishing for permission to reproduce aspects of chapter 11 of Theology of Engagement (2003) for the article on Keith Ward. David Cheetham is grateful to Ashgate Publishing for permission to reprint or rework passages from his book John Hick (2003) for the article on John Hick.

Eric Osborn is grateful to Blackwell Publishing for permission to reproduce “Irenaeus of Lyons” from G. R. Evans (ed.), The First Christian Theologians (2004). Mark McIntosh is grateful to Blackwell Publishing for permission to reproduce “Von Balthasar” from Gareth Jones (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology (2004). John W. de Gruchy is grateful to Blackwell Publishing for ­permission to reproduce “Bonhoeffer” from Gareth Jones (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology (2004).







The following are the relevant dates for each empire:

Roman Empire

(pre-)zero to 480

Frankish Empire

480 to 825

Byzantine Empire

525 to 1455

Holy Roman Empire

825 to 1815

Ottoman Empire

1305 to 1910

Early Centuries

The Apocalypse of John

Kenneth G. C. Newport

Among the books of the Bible there can be few that have been so widely utilized as the Apocalypse of John. From early times this book has been a favorite for those believers and communities who wait expectantly for “the end” (however that is conceived), for it has long been assumed that this is what the Apocalypse, or “Revelation,” is really all about. Down through the Christian centuries, therefore, careful attention has been paid to this book and much energy expended upon trying to understand more precisely what it is about the end that the book of “Revelation” actually reveals. The most widely accepted interpretation is that it reveals the events that will occur as the end of the world approaches; it is, in short, and to use the title of this book that has now become synonymous with its presumed contents, a timetable of the Apocalypse (Froom, 1946–54).

While it is true that interest in the book has a long and distinguished history (Sir Isaac Newton, for example, was fascinated by it, as his posthumously published Observations upon the Prophecies [1733] clearly shows), in recent times there has been no let-up in interpretative endeavor. And there are some extreme examples of the same: infamously, it was this book above all others that led David Koresh and his Branch Davidian community to self-destruct in Waco in 1993 (Newport, 2006). It is this book, too, which inspires much of the thinking in the now massively successful, and, one suspects, influential, Left Behind series. Contemporary evidence shows also how the Apocalypse of John has left its mark on many aspects of popular culture and in the genres of music, literature, and art (Kovacs and Rowland, 2003; Newport and Walliss, forthcoming).

There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the authorship of this book. “John” is named as the author in four places (1.1, 4, 9; 22.8), with no further identifying information. Assuming that the work is not consciously pseudepigraphical, the traditional view is that the “John” in question is the author of the gospel of John (not that that book names “John” as its author), himself taken to be the brother of James, one of Jesus’ disciples (see Matt. 4:21). There are problems with this view, however, not the least of which is that the Greek of the Apocalypse is a very strange Greek indeed and not at all like that found in the Gospel. In fact, it would seem that whoever the author of the Apocalypse was, he (or just perhaps she) was much more at home linguistically in a Semitic rather than Hellenistic context, thinking in Aramaic perhaps, and with a thorough acquaintance of Hebrew, but writing in Greek (Thompson, 1985). And there are other indications that a thoroughly Semitic mind is at work here. For example, although the Hebrew Scriptures are never directly quoted, more verses than not in Revelation show the influence of the Hebrew texts (Moyise, 1996). Indeed, so soaked through with Jewish thought, literature, and language is the book of Revelation that some have even suggested that it originated as Jewish text that has been edited by a later Christian writer (Massyngberde Ford, 1975).

There is in fact little question that the author of the Apocalypse was a Jew. However, like Paul and most of the other early Christians, this Jew had come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah and indicates that it was as a result of this belief that he had been exiled to the Isle of Patmos, a Greek Island in the Aegean Sea (Rev. 1:9). The fact that the author was an exile is important for an understanding of the text, as is the commonly held view that his exile coincided with a period of persecution of the Christian church at the hands of the Roman state. Again there is some dispute here: was this, as is most commonly thought, a period of persecution toward the end of the first century ce or an earlier one, perhaps in the 60s? In either case the experience has left its mark on the author whose theology is understandably reflective of it. This is a text born of suffering – both communal and individual. It is one also which comes from a period during which there is great external pressure to conform to society’s norms. The message that comes loud and clear in response is “I [Jesus] am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown” (Rev. 3:11).

Certainly the “end of the world” and the return of Jesus is a theme of significant importance to the author of the Apocalypse. However, some, most famously Rowland (1972), have raised a fundamental challenge to the notion that “apocalyptic” literature really has “the end” as its principal concern. The Greek word apocalypsis (the word used in Rev. 1:1), it is argued, is rather about “drawing back the veil,” so as to “un-cover—apo-kaluptein” something. This act of “uncovering” might of course include aspects of revealing what is to come (see Rev. 1:1 and 4:1), but more central to the genre’s concern is the act of taking the seer “behind the scenes” of this world so as to put on show the heavenly reality behind the earthly façade. In the Apocalypse, John is hence taken through a door into heaven (Rev. 4:1, 2) and given in effect a tour of God’s dwelling place, the purpose of which is to reassure him, as the one who is to speak to God’s persecuted and distressed community, that whatever the outward appearance, God is in control and that all things will, in the end, work to God’s glory and achieve God’s purpose. The great beasts of Revelation as depicted so graphically in chapter 13 and via the Whore of Babylon motif of Rev. 17–18, then, may appear to be in control to the untrained eye as they (in the form of the Roman state) persecute the saints; but in fact God guards every soul that is slain. They rest under the altar (Rev. 6:9) dressed in white robes awaiting vindication. Satan does his work now (Rev. 12), but he will be bound (Rev. 20); the wicked prosper in the present, but their final end is certain. The righteous suffer now, but will inherit eternal life.

It would appear, then, that the author of the Apocalypse calls for endurance in the face of two major challenges: persecution and assimilation. The people of God will suffer physically; they will be slain and trodden upon by the unrighteous who individually and collectively are instruments in the hands of Satan (for as Rev. 12 and 13 reveal, it is none other than this “old serpent” who is at work behind the scenes) and in this context the promise of reward is held out to those that endure to the end. As important as this theme is, however, perhaps an equal ­concern to the author is the pressure to conform to practices that, while widespread and accepted in the larger society, are not to be engaged in by the people of God. In the “letters to the seven churches” found in Rev. 2–3, there are dire warnings to those who do assimilate and compromise their distinctiveness—to those who are in danger of losing their “first love” and have become “lukewarm” (Rev. 2:4; 3:16). It is this uncompromising call to purity of faith and endurance under stress that is perhaps the most fundamental concern to the author. The “end of the world” is of course a key part of this, for by showing that God in the end will win out, that wrongs will eventually be righted, that the wicked will be slain, that Satan will be destroyed and that the righteous will be granted access to the new Jerusalem and the right to eat of the tree of life (Rev. 21), John shores up the community and gives hope and confidence for the future. But the theology of the future, with its rewards and paradisal bliss, is very much invoked to serve present needs and determine behavior in the here and now.

The author of the Apocalypse does of course have other important theological concerns which are worked out in this text. It is a contentious but nevertheless arguable view that outside of the Gospel of John, the Apocalypse contains the “highest” christology in the New Testament (though Col. 1:15ff. and perhaps Phil. 2:6–11 may be contenders here). Certainly the portrait of Jesus which the author ­presents is a powerful one. He is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 17:14; 19:16); he is “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5); and the description of him in the latter part of chapter 1 is truly a ­description of a being the likeness of which (at the very least) borders on the divine. What is more, while the instruction from the angel to whom John offers worship is “You must not do that! … Worship God!,” when worship is offered to Christ, it is apparently appropriate and accepted (Rev. 5). And yet this is also the lamb who was slain (Rev. 5), whose blood cleanses sinners from their sins (Rev. 1:5). The Christ here is, then, recognizable as the Christ of the church: a divine Christ whose blood was spilt to bring redemption; and one ought not to underestimate the extent to which within the New Testament, 2000 years of Christian ­tradition notwithstanding, this reasonably clear dual testimony is distinctive.

The author of the Apocalypse is hence a figure in Christian history who should not be ignored. His influence has been significant, and not only in theological backwaters inhabited by the eschatologically obsessed, the millennially extreme, and/or the religiously volatile. The author speaks not just from the landscape of first-century Christianity in general, but from the specific context of a persecuted community and a social setting where a blurring of the boundaries between those who are “called out,” “the ek-­klesia