A Theology Primer

By Robert Cummings Neville

Subjects: Theology
Paperback : 9780791408506, 221 pages, October 1991
Hardcover : 9780791408490, 221 pages, October 1991

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Table of contents


How To Use This Book


1. The Nature of Theology


I. Divine Matters
II. Theological Assumptions and Assertions
III. Theological Conceptualization
IV. Truth and the Modes of Theological Assertion


2. Revelation: Sources and Uses of Theology


I. Authority in Theology
II. Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience
III. Uses of Theology
IV. Revelation


3. God the Creator


I. God the Problem
II. The Primacy of Divine Creation
III. Determinateness as the Character of the Created World
IV. God as Creator ex Nihilo


4. God as Trinity


I. The Trinitarian Character of Divine Creation
II. Time and Eternity
III. God as Logos
IV. Sky God, Earth Mother, Ground, Goal


5. The Human Condition: Covenant


I. The Religiously Particular Analysis of the Human Condition
II. Conditions of Covenant: Genesis 2 and 3
III. The Logos Ideals of Covenant
IV. Divine Judgment


6. The Human Condition: Sin


I. Unrighteousness
II. Impiety
III. Faithlessness and Despair
IV. Sin and Divine Love


7. Salvation, Freedom, and Bondage


I. The Problem of Salvation
II. Natural Freedom
III. Divine and Human Agencies
IV. Depravity and Bondage of the Will: Original Sin


8. Justification, Grace, and Love


I. The Quest for Grace
II. Justification: Objective and Subjective
III. Dynamics of Faith and Repentance
IV. Divine Love: Conviction and Commitment


9. Sin and Society


I. A Social Metaphysics of the Covenant
II. Social Sanctification
III. Oppression and Blasphemy
IV. Alienation and Secularism


10. Sanctification


I. Sanctification and Justification
II. Personal Sanctification: Spirit, Mind, and Heart
III. Sanctification as Social Justice
IV. Sanctification in Love


11. Christology: The Cult of Jesus Christ


I. The Cultic Community of Jesus
II. The Teachings of Jesus
III. Jesus Christ the Redeemer: Resurrection and the Kingdom
IV. The Universality and Particularity of Salvation


12. Christology: The Divinity of Christ


I. A Logos Christology
II. Incarnation and the Two Natures of Christ
III. Christ and the Holy Spirit: The Filioque
IV. Christ and History


13. The Holy Spirit in the Church


I. Sacraments: Baptism and Eucharist
II. Mission, Teaching, Preaching, and Action
III. The Church as the Body of Christ
IV. Christianity and Other Religions


Appendix A: A Brief Bibliography of Liberation Theology

Appendix B: A Brief Bibliography of Feminist Theology




Robert Cummings Neville is Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Boston University, and Dean of the Boston University School of Theology. He is Past President of the Metaphysical Society of America, and President-Elect of the American Academy of Religion. Neville has also written Behind the Masks of God: An Essay Toward Comparative Theology; New Essays in Metaphysics; The Puritan Smile: A Look Toward Moral Reflection; Reconstruction of Thinking; Recovery of the Measure: Interpretation and Nature; and The Tao and the Daimon, all published by SUNY Press.


"The book is very interesting — dense and complicated theological issues are reframed and the issues and arguments are adumbrated in clear fashion. " — Lonnie D. Kliever, Southern Methodist University

"Neville has written an elementary textbook of Christian theology that is both readable for the layperson and is also philosophically and theologically sophisticated. He does not exhaust theological doctrines; but, instead, provides a classical framework for the discussion of contemporary social and political issues. He is sensitive to the implications of non-Christian religions as they bear upon the questions and formulations of Christian belief systems. He also provides a place for a discussion of feminist and third world liberation theologies within the context of classical theological formulations. Neville writes with clarity and force. " — Charles E. Winquist, Syracuse University

"It presents a concise systematic summary of the Christian faith. In addition to getting it all together within a very few pages, it makes interesting connections to major world religions. I also liked the author's invitation to enter into critical dialogue with his perspective. …The work goes to the central task of Christian theology, and is a significant contribution to the field, in so far as it represents the outline of a well-known scholar's systematic views. " — Walter E. Wyman, Jr. , Whitman College