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Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification

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The Christian doctrine of justification continues to be of major importance in modern ecumenical discussions. In fact, this book became the leading reference work on the subject after its initial publication in 1986. This third edition thoroughly updates previous editions by adding new material and responding to the latest developments in scholarly literature. The volume's The Christian doctrine of justification continues to be of major importance in modern ecumenical discussions. In fact, this book became the leading reference work on the subject after its initial publication in 1986. This third edition thoroughly updates previous editions by adding new material and responding to the latest developments in scholarly literature. The volume's many acclaimed features include a detailed assessment of the semantic background of the concept in the ancient Near East, a thorough examination of the doctrine of the medieval period, and especially careful analysis of its development during the critical years of the sixteenth century.


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The Christian doctrine of justification continues to be of major importance in modern ecumenical discussions. In fact, this book became the leading reference work on the subject after its initial publication in 1986. This third edition thoroughly updates previous editions by adding new material and responding to the latest developments in scholarly literature. The volume's The Christian doctrine of justification continues to be of major importance in modern ecumenical discussions. In fact, this book became the leading reference work on the subject after its initial publication in 1986. This third edition thoroughly updates previous editions by adding new material and responding to the latest developments in scholarly literature. The volume's many acclaimed features include a detailed assessment of the semantic background of the concept in the ancient Near East, a thorough examination of the doctrine of the medieval period, and especially careful analysis of its development during the critical years of the sixteenth century.

53 review for Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Horgan

    Newly updated this lengthy historical review of justification is a sweeping overview of the doctrine from the time of the Bible to the modern day. The initial review of the meaning of the term in the Old and New Testaments is helpful, as are comments on the approach of the early church. There is a considerable use of Latin tags which proliferate amidst the debates of the Mediaeval Scholastics: tough going. The fog clears with a fascinating analysis of the different approaches of the Reformers. C Newly updated this lengthy historical review of justification is a sweeping overview of the doctrine from the time of the Bible to the modern day. The initial review of the meaning of the term in the Old and New Testaments is helpful, as are comments on the approach of the early church. There is a considerable use of Latin tags which proliferate amidst the debates of the Mediaeval Scholastics: tough going. The fog clears with a fascinating analysis of the different approaches of the Reformers. Calvin's approach placing union with Christ at the centre of salvation shines like a sunbeam after a cold December morning. Common views of Trent as failing to engage properly with evangelical challenges are affirmed and it is clear that the resulting Roman doctrine is a different system of salvation than in Protestant theology. The last section of the book addresses the approach of German liberalism in the nineteenth century and the neo-Orthodox in the twentieth as they failed to grapple with the historical reality of God made man. (Newman comes over very badly for his, possibly deliberate, manglings of Luther quotes to prove his case.) The final chapter looks briefly at the New Perspective. Overall the book is, in parts, a tough read, particularly on the Scholastics. You get the feeling that each chapter is highly compressed and yearns to break free into a full book in order to look in detail at the debates covered. I don't think McGrath would relish that task though! Rather the book should be viewed both as succesfully reviewing the history of this doctrine and as whetting the appetite for a deeper dive into periods of particular interest to the reader.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul,

    This book is a history of the Christian doctrine of justification. The purpose of this book is to show that the development of the Reformation doctrine of justification as a legal imputation of righteousness was a fundamental shift from the Catholic view of justification. It also shows the separation of sanctification from justification resulted in a paradigm shift in the Church. McGrath begins with the assertion that medieval theology was thoroughly Augustinian, and the primary aim of medieval This book is a history of the Christian doctrine of justification. The purpose of this book is to show that the development of the Reformation doctrine of justification as a legal imputation of righteousness was a fundamental shift from the Catholic view of justification. It also shows the separation of sanctification from justification resulted in a paradigm shift in the Church. McGrath begins with the assertion that medieval theology was thoroughly Augustinian, and the primary aim of medieval theology was to expand and refine his theologies. Not surprisingly, McGrath’s fist major section is an exposition of Augustine’s doctrine of justification. Augustine’s theory of justification was tied up with the Sacraments. Augustine believed that justification was a change in a man’s being and not a change in his status. Justification is God restoring the relationship between man and God as it was pre-Fall, not in the category of legal or forensic categories. McGrath went on to describe the development of the doctrine of justification in the medieval period. He first described the nature of justification in medieval theology and the righteousness of God. Here his primary argument is that justification includes the Protestant categories of justification, sanctification, and regeneration. McGrath maintains that the inclusion of regeneration with justification precludes a Protestant understanding of justification from the outset. McGrath goes on to detail how medieval scholars viewed the righteousness of God, and included Aristotelian ideas in their theology. One fundamental point which McGrath includes is the medieval discussion of will, both the free will of man and the sovereign will of God. McGrath asserts that the Augustinian position had become dominant by the medieval period, with few exceptions, so that most scholars held to the view that man is able to freely respond to God’s offer of salvation through prevenient grace. McGrath begins his discussion of the will of God with Augustine’s understanding. Here the fundamental difficulty was that a view of prevenient grace requires that man accepting God’s grace requires God to save him. Augustine held that this could only be the case if God were voluntarily allowing himself to be placed under requirement because of a pact he freely made with mankind. Medieval theologians continued on this path by viewing God as being completely free and completely reliable. The final topic which I will it is important to view is the medieval conception of the relationship between justification and predestination. Logically following Augustine, some argued that his view of predestination entails double predestination. Catholic understanding of this topic was all over the map in the medieval period. For example, Scotus believed that the Fall and the Cross are essentially independent of one another because Christ was predestined first. Nobody could understand Ockham’s view, and those who followed Pelagius could not hold to a meaningful view of predestination. McGrath does a good job overall of defending his thesis, namely that the Protestant view of justification was a fundamental paradigm shift from all previous thought. He does this by methodically developing the thoughts of the great theologians prior to Luther, and showing how their views of justification include the idea of sanctification. McGrath also does not do as good of a job of proving his second thesis, namely that Catholic beliefs on justification were disunited. He succeeds in the discussion of predestination, but in general there was a Catholic consensus in the means, manner, and result of justification and the role of the Sacraments in that justification. My only complaint with this book was its inclusion of block quotes in Latin, which made it very hard to read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jacob McGill

    Highly disappointing! He has an important discussion the righteousness of God in the opening chapter, but there is not much after this. I would wait to read this after you have learned Latin, there are many places you will get lost without it (at least I was). This book falls trap to much of what I despise in historical theology: lists of names and beliefs without contexts. I feel that historical theology should be more of interacting with texts and showing what they believed and why; a broad sw Highly disappointing! He has an important discussion the righteousness of God in the opening chapter, but there is not much after this. I would wait to read this after you have learned Latin, there are many places you will get lost without it (at least I was). This book falls trap to much of what I despise in historical theology: lists of names and beliefs without contexts. I feel that historical theology should be more of interacting with texts and showing what they believed and why; a broad sweep of what they believe will soon be forgotten and cannot be validated as the correct interpretation. I feel that sometimes we forget that historical theology is not a matter of restating what those who have gone before us said, but a work of interpretation. I did get a different sense of what the Roman church believed during the Reformation, and feel that there is some more work to be done there.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Richardson

    An excellent history of the doctrine of justification, from St. Augustine, who first developed it in the west, to the theologians of the twentieth century. The second edition is pretty hardcore (lots of untranslated Greek, Latin, and German), but the third edition is more accessible, with primary sources translated into English. I highly recommend this for anyone of a theological bent seeking to understand the core doctrine of the Protestant Reformation, which continues to divide many Protestant An excellent history of the doctrine of justification, from St. Augustine, who first developed it in the west, to the theologians of the twentieth century. The second edition is pretty hardcore (lots of untranslated Greek, Latin, and German), but the third edition is more accessible, with primary sources translated into English. I highly recommend this for anyone of a theological bent seeking to understand the core doctrine of the Protestant Reformation, which continues to divide many Protestants and Catholics today.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    McGrath at his best. He worked on it for 10 years and came up with a comprehensive treatment that suffers from over-reliance on secondary sources. He gets Augustine wrong on double predestination and portrays Luther as an uncompromising fatalist whose tradition was rescued by Melanchthon. Despite these two gross errors he does a thorough job and clearly shows the different conceptions of faith between the patristic and protestant eras. The modern views of justification receive a thorough treatme McGrath at his best. He worked on it for 10 years and came up with a comprehensive treatment that suffers from over-reliance on secondary sources. He gets Augustine wrong on double predestination and portrays Luther as an uncompromising fatalist whose tradition was rescued by Melanchthon. Despite these two gross errors he does a thorough job and clearly shows the different conceptions of faith between the patristic and protestant eras. The modern views of justification receive a thorough treatment as well.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alan Johnson

    This book was informative but very tedious in its detailed recitation of all the historical variations of the doctrine of justification. Although I got through the book, I was very happy when it was over. This book is probably best appreciated by professors of theology (of which I am not one). It makes cogitating about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin seem interesting by comparison. It is, however, undoubtedly a substantial scholarly contribution to the subject.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This book gave me a headache, but it is a very well written and scholarly book about a very difficult subject. Unfortunately, Christians are willing to become very violent (i.e. verbally, religious wars, etc.) over this subject. Each side of the debate is usually locked into a mode of thinking that totally misunderstands the other point of view.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yuce

    This was hands down the best book I read on the history of Justification. McGrath is very thorough with his material and provides great background information to centuries long debates over the question of justification. The only negative thing about this book is that you need a good latin-english theological terms dictionary to make sense of it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mauberley

    A detailed and fascinating history of doctrine. I regret that I read an older edition where the Latin was not translated - I understand that the third edition rectified this and urge readers who (like me) are without Latin to seek that out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stallfast

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter Costello

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abe

  14. 4 out of 5

    Onsi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ἀντιγόνη

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Cooper

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  18. 5 out of 5

    itskarrs

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jordan B Cooper

  20. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon Scruggs

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Lewis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mcculley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karl

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Colby Painter

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Casbeer

  32. 5 out of 5

    Ray

  33. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  34. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  35. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Vojta

  36. 4 out of 5

    Michaelpatrick Keena

  37. 5 out of 5

    Erick

  38. 5 out of 5

    Trinity Harbor

  39. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  40. 4 out of 5

    Adam Ross

  41. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  42. 5 out of 5

    Mark Buckley

  43. 5 out of 5

    Justin Langley

  44. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  45. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

  46. 5 out of 5

    Nindyo Sasongko

  47. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  48. 4 out of 5

    James Anderson

  49. 4 out of 5

    Jay D

  50. 5 out of 5

    Vinnie Santini

  51. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Strobel

  52. 5 out of 5

    David Haines

  53. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

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