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184 Antiphon 13.2 (2009) the Dadaists. On the other hand, outside the commercial centers of the contemporary art world there are promising developments, such as a reappraisal of twentieth-century art and a return to figurative painting and sculpture. Ralf van Bühren’s wide-ranging study provides a wealth of material that will help to analyse the roots of the present crisis and to find ways for its remedy. Rev. Uwe Michael Lang, Cong. Orat. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Rome Susan K. Wood One Baptism: Ecumenical Dimensions of the Doctrine of Baptism Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2009 218 pages. $29.95 As Christians, we make our own the claim in Ephesians 4:5 that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” But what is the effect of differing baptismal practices and baptismal theologies within Christianity? In One Baptism, Susan Wood directs her academic abilities and her ecumenical experience towards the driving question, “What does baptism do?” Wood, a veteran of the Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogue at the international and domestic levels, the United States Roman Catholic/Orthodox Theological Consultation, and the conversation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Baptist World Alliance, grounds her work on the conviction that “Catholics profit greatly from conversations with their ecumenical partners” (88). The result is an expansive, yet concise volume that explores some of the most pertinent questions related to baptism and Christian unity through the lenses of sacramental, liturgical, historical, and systematic theology. Wood’s study draws on a wide variety of historical and contemporary sources, and she uses them expertly. Readers will encounter a great variety of texts spanning the Christian heritage. Her careful use of these sources is one of the great strengths of the book. Rooting each of her texts in its historical context, she is able to sift through polemics and articulate genuine points of theological agreement and disagreement within the Christian tradition – her comparative index detailing official points of Roman Catholic and Lutheran baptismal doctrine (56-58) is particularly insightful. She pointedly argues that in a great many cases, divisions between Christians can be traced back to insufficient historical and theological awareness. In one instance she notes that “we can conclude that ex opere operato has been 185 Book Reviews something of a red herring in ecumenical relations, not representing as significant a difference between traditions as has sometimes been thought. As a principle it was largely misunderstood because it was taken out of the context of its correlation with the principle of ex opere operantis” (70). Elsewhere she argues that “in the post-Reformation period a polemical wedge was often driven between word and sacrament , the Protestant churches emphasizing word and the Catholics emphasizing sacraments. However, this is a false dichotomy… Both emphases… have a Christological center” (195-96). The purpose of pointing out this dimension of the ecumenical heritage is not to assess blame, but rather to highlight the possibilities that exist through genuine dialogue. Significant attention is paid in Wood’s text to the development of Western medieval sacramental theologies, since it was out of this period that the Catholic and Protestant Reformations emerged and towards which those theologians reacted. Her discussion, for example, of medieval theories of sacramental causality is particularly useful in demonstrating “that medieval scholastic sacramental theology was varied, with a number of competing schools of thought... Trent, which did not develop a comprehensive sacramental theology, but merely responded to perceived errors in the theology of various Reformers… relied heavily on Thomas, although it did not decide among conflicting schools of thought in its sacramental decrees” (29). This insight is a helpful corrective to the popular notion of a theologically uniform medieval Church. If, indeed, diversity represents the heritage of the medieval Church, then a path may well be opened towards future ecumenical development. As One Baptism clearly shows, the question that motivated this study – What does baptism do? – is not easily answered. It is painfully clear that there are many different interpretations offered within the Christian tradition. What Wood’s study clarifies, however, is that many of these different interpretations find common ground: Baptism is an ecclesial event, received from God...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-9933
Print ISSN
1543-9925
Pages
pp. 184-185
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-24
Open Access
No
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