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BOOK REVIEWS293 might be intended, would probably not be well served by the excessively curtaUed treatment of any particular school of Christian response described here. Thus, for nineteenth-century CathoUcs, "Uberalism," not capitaUsm, was the social ideology to be opposed. Another example: private property, not further qualified, is most often taken as the key distinguishing feature between capitalism and sociaUsm, in a rather simplistic procedure. Certain generaUzations emerge by dint of repetition, e.g., some characteristic differences between CathoUc and Protestant social ethics as well as some common characteristics.The two stories are related in paraUel and brought together in two chapters about the inteUectuaI exchange which finaUy took place between the World CouncU of Churches and the Roman CathoUc communion for two decades afterVatican Council II. Liberation and Third-World theology gets its due here as weU as in the separate chapters devoted to postconcUiar Roman CathoUcism and to theWorld CouncU of Churches. No reflection on the demise of "reaUy existing" Soviet sociaUsm is attempted, beyond the note that "the Churches are faced with a new economic ideological situation" (p. 272). Paul Misner Marquette University Ancient A Concise History of the Early Church. By Norbert Brox. Translated by John Bowden. (New York: Continuum Publishing Company. 1995. Pp. viii, 184. $18.95.) This lucid and exceUently translated survey of the Early Church spans from its beginning to the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.).The author, Norbert Brox, professor of early church history and patrology in the University of Regensburg , says in his preface that he hopes to strike a balance between an easy-tofoUow survey and a sufficiently detaUed account. He has achieved this balance remarkably well in his eight compact and very readable chapters.They range from the earUest form of Christianity within Judaism to the missionary expansion on through to the major developments before and after Constantine. Brox's chapters on church Ufe and organization (TV) and on the first four Ecumenical CouncUs (VIIi) are particularly insightful. Other chapters deal with conflicts, heresies and schisms,theological orientations, and the Uterature ofthe Early Church. He includes a bibUography with each chapter, a "for further reading " section at the end, and an index of names and subjects. Brox gives a very reaUstic picture of Constantine. He shows him not so much as a pagan ruler who is converted from the worship of idols to the Christian God, but rather as a head of state practicing the cult of Sol Invictus (the victorious sun god) who, by a spectacular shift of his own, changes that cult by identifying it with Christianity."For him, the God of the Christians was identical with the god whom he himseUworshipped" (p. 48).Adroit at reading the signs ofthe 294book reviews times,"Constantine saw Christianity through Roman eyes as a cult reUgion (only later did he come to understand the significance of the creed in Christianity) with recognizable structures (a hierarchical organization, an ideal unity throughout the empire, universaUsm, a capacity to establish itsetf in history) which was admirably suited to contribute to the task of the state" (p. 49). Brox's description of the trinitarian controversies and the whole ethos created in the East by the condemnation ofArius' subordinationism is as clear and carefuUy nuanced as one could ever expect. He is truly a master in echoing the tenor of those times. In discussing the fifth-century christological controversies, Brox gives a very fair treatment of Nestorius, pointing out that modern scholarship has been able to show "that he did not advocate the heresy imputed to him, i.e., the division or spUtting ofChrist into two natures. He was orthodox—even according to the criteria of his own time. Others certainly put forward a Nestorian christology, but Nestorius was no 'Nestorian'" (p. 166). A nice feature of readabiUty is the author's decision to document only where necessary and then directly within the text itseU, thereby avoiding the multiple footnotes we so often find in comparable texts.The book is clearly a high-level student reader and surely wUl be cherished as such by students, especiaUy in a paperback edition. There are a few typos that could be corrected in the next printing (viz...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 293-294
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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