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328 BOOK REVIEWS many of a Buddhist's ideas and practices I can adopt before my identity as a Christian is threatened. Yet l:he issue of Christian identity w so central to Fowl's and Jones's account, while their encouragement to, ' listen to the voice of others ' is so sincere, !:hat l:he reader deserves a more nuanced discussion of this problem. To say that Scripture is an important source of religious and moral knowledge is to say a great deal, but also to leave much left unsaid. The authors argue " that Christian communities need to establish spaces in which believers oan have their characters formed and informed by a true knowledge of God" (p. 103). Because I regard that argument as a compelling one, I am curious to learn more about the peculiar shape that the classical problem of religious knowledge might take within the framework that this hook provides. It is a framework in which interpretation is conceived as an essentially communal, dynamic and morally transformative experience. That conception and that framework, it seems to me, have the potential to yield much fruit., MICHAEL L. RAPOSA Lehigh University Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Broken Lights and Mended Lives: Theology and Common Life in the Church. By ROWAN A. GREER. University Park and London: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1986. Pp. xiv +237. $19.50, (cloth). Scholars in early Christian studies have been paying more attention of late to the social setting of the early Church. Books such as Robert Wilken's The Christians as the Romans Saw Them and Peter Brown's, The Cult of the Saints reflect a widespread concern with the Sitz im Leben of the early age of Christian life. But the pendulum can swing too far in the direction of neglecting theology's influence on the com0 mon Hfe of Christian believers. This book is an attempt to see the theological perspectives as explaining and shaping the lives lived by believers in the Christian gospel. The volume is divided into two parts corresponding to the two terms of the title. The first and shorter part includes three chapters, the sec~ ond :five chapters, each bringing out a theological theme and its influence on the social levet The " broken lights " of the title is taken from the poem. of Tennyson, In Memoriam: "they are but broken lights of thee." They denote the theological views that genuinely, if BOOK REVIEWS 329 imperfectly, reveal God's glory. They do not exist in splendid isolation hut are meant to heal and mend human lives. In his use of these terms Rowan Greer wants to indicate the mutuality of theology and Christian experience. As indicated by the Catholic Theological Society of America's 1992 convention theme "Theology and Experience," the mutual relationship of both these realities is of first importance and relevance. Irenaeus, who gives us " the earliest theological synthesis in the his· tory of the Church " (p. 25) , forges his theology in the face of Gnostic cosmological speculations. For him the crucified and risen Lord is the new Adam and his experience is genuinely human. The material creation must not he destroyed, as the Gnostics held, hut fulfilled. This leads Irenaeus to view the incarnation as the culmination of God's economy. For Irenaeus, Greer holds, recapitulation does not mean redoing Adam's work so much as fulfilling" for the first time the promise of Adam's creation" (p. 38). This view is contrasted with ·those of Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine , thinkers who come from different settings than Irenaeus. While the great apologist had to defend Christian truth against Gnostics who would deny its relation to the created order, the Bishop of Nyssa saw it as justifying the monastic life. As the image of God, man must actualize the likeness to him through a life of virtue. Greer outlines Nyssa's theology with a focus on human freedom, understood as in dialectic with providence within the Neoplatonic scheme of love. But as Augustine shows, Neoplatonism cannot hear the full weight of Christian revelation. The axiom ' to know the good is to do the good ' can he reversed; instead of freeing Augustine it rather shows him the presence of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 328-330
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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