Item description for Jesus Humanity and the Trinity by Kathryn Tanner...
Overview "To be a witness and disciple of Jesus, every Christian has to figure out for him- or herself what Christianity is all about. . . . This book is a contribution to such an effort, understood not as a bleak and dry academic exercise but as an attempt to meet an essential demand of everyday Christian living." -from the Introduction With simplicity and elegance, Tanner sketches a historically informed vision of the faith. Chapter 1 recovers strands of early Christian accounts of Jesus and his significance for a very different age. Chapter 2 situates Christology in a religious vision of the whole cosmos, while chapter 3 lays out the ethical and political implications of the vision. Chapter 4 speculates about the "end" of things in Christ. Tanner's work was developed from the Scottish Journal of Theology Lectures in 1999 in Edinburgh.
Citations And Professional Reviews Jesus Humanity and the Trinity by Kathryn Tanner has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 01/30/2002 page 41
Choice - 02/01/2002 page 1064
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Kathryn Tanner is Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is the author of Economy of Grace (2005) and Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology (2001).
Kathryn Tanner was born in 1957 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Chicago Yale Divinity School, USA Yale Divinity School,.
Kathryn Tanner has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus Humanity and the Trinity?
A great systematic presentation Mar 30, 2005
Tanner presents a thoroughly Christocentric theology. This book is incredibly dense, no doubt due in part to its brevity. The book opens with a treatment of the incarnation of the Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ. This incarnation is one that cannot be abstracted from the thoroughly human life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It moves then to an articulation of God as Trinity and gift-giving. This leads to an understanding of humans as recipients of God's gifts of life and salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. A discussion of the shape of human life, or ethics, follows. Those who have been received the gift of life in Christ are to participate in gift-giving towards others. This is not a form of reciprocity but an expression of thanksgiving and participation in Christ. Finally, eschatology is treated spacially rather than temporally. In other words, Christians should focus not on the future but on their present life in Christ. Eternal life is life in God. Throughout the work, Tanner operates with two overriding principles: 1) the radical transcendence of God and 2)non-competitive relations between God and creatures.
This is an extremely helpful book. Look for the sequel, where Tanner promises to flesh out more fully the concepts developed here. This book is particularly important for theologians interested in gift-giving as a category for reflection.
A Christocentric, very, very brief systematic theology. Mar 30, 2004
This is a nice little volume from Tanner, and one can only hope that the larger systematic that will eventually come from her pen will continue her ability to communicate difficult trinitarian language into useable language for both religious and lay believers. At only 134 pages, she chooses to focus on only a few of the classical doctrines which will outline the faith proclaimed by the churches, and she chooses wisely. Her book breaks down into four sections: (1) Jesus, (2) The Theological Structure of Things, (3) The Shape of Human Life, and (4) The End, or, roughly, Christology, Methodology, Anthropology, and Eschatology. For Tanner, none of the last three can be understood in the Christian paradigm without an understanding of the role of Jesus in the Christian faith. Now, one might question the order of presentation here, since a full-blown Christology is difficult to begin with. However, she rightly realizes that it is Christian faith, after all, faith in Jesus the Christ, which defines Christian theology, and so her focus on Christology is both inventive and stimulating. Also, her Christology turns out to be a Jesusology, but not in a pursuit of the historical Jesus, so she approaches the matter in a decidcedly original way.
Much recent theology, of course, has perhaps suffered from a surfreit of Christology, to the point of Christomonism in some cases. Tanner takes her christocentrism in a different direction, however, and manages to speak about the historical figure of Jesus not as a subject of history, but as a focus of Christian faith. She thus moves towards an overthrow of the Jesus of History - Christ of Faith dichotomy, by understanding the way that contemporary church people can focus on the Jesus of Faith, so to speak. She takes accounts in the early church of Jesus and reworks them into a view of a "graced human life" (21), seen in Jesus. All of this makes the concept of the Trinity a very human-centered doctrine (which is refreshing), and while she devotes space to a discussion of the immanent Trinity, for Tanner, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and in her hands the Trinity becomes a very practical doctrine indeed. In a way, one could say that, according to Tanner, Jesus' humanity leads into the doctrine of the Trinity because the trinitarian perichoresis (the divine "dance," literally) includes, in the Incarnation, God, creation, and humanity. Her conclusions about the human nature of Jesus' divinity lead into a very relational theology, of God as transcendent and yet gift-giving, and this saves the sometimes rigid systematic form from ossification.
Tanner's theological sources are firmly in the Reformed tradition, and she makes very heavy use of Barth throughout the text -- scarcely a page goes by without his name. Karl Rahner also shows up more than a few times, which is a nice juxtaposition with Barth at times, and Tillich is wholly absent. This is as it should be, given Tanner's (mostly unspoken) focus on Incarnation -- Tillich is largely without the Incarnation in his theology, and the humanity of Jesus means something different for him than it does Tanner.
On the whole, this is a successful book as long as it tries to relate all the doctrines of the faith back to her understanding of Jesus. If this perspective is lost, however, the book often seems arbitrary in its argument about Jesus' significance, especially in its main topic, i.e. the Trinity. However, there is no reason why one should lose sight of Tanner's position on Jesus, since it is well argued very early in the text. Whether the reader will follow Tanner in her interpretation of Jesus is another matter, but she has given good practical reasons why this reading of Jesus allows for useful contemporary visions of the Trinity. Tanner's book thus adds a welcome voice to the conversation about the significance of systematic theology for contemporary Christian belief.