Item description for Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Jan Pelikan...
Overview Eminent theologian Jaroslav Pelikan has been translating, editing, and studying the Christian creeds and confessions of faith for sixty years. This book is the historical and theological distillation of that work. In Credo, Pelikan addresses essential questions about the Christian tradition: the origins of creeds; their function; their political role; how they relate to Christian institutions, worship, and service; and how they help to explain the major divisions of the Christian church and of Christian history.
Credo stands as an independent reference work devoted to the subject of what creeds and confessions are and what their role in history has been. It is also the first of the four volumes of Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, edited by Pelikan and Valerie Hotchkiss.
Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and the first John W. Kluge Scholar at the Library of Congress. During his distinguished career he has received dozens of honors and awards, including 42 honorary degrees. He is the author of nearly forty books and the editor of scores of others.
Publishers Description Eminent theologian Jaroslav Pelikan has been translating, editing, and studying the Christian creeds and confessions of faith for sixty years. This book is the historical and theological distillation of that work. In Credo, Pelikan addresses essential questions about the Christian tradition: the origins of creeds; their function; their political role; how they relate to Christian institutions, worship, and service; and how they help to explain the major divisions of the Christian church and of Christian history. Credo stands as an independent reference work devoted to the subject of what creeds and confessions are and what their role in history has been. It is also the first of the four volumes of Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, edited by Pelikan and Valerie Hotchkiss (see below).
Citations And Professional Reviews Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Jan Pelikan has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
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Studio: Yale University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 10.46" Width: 7.2" Height: 1.67" Weight: 2.92 lbs.
Release Date Jun 10, 2003
Publisher Yale University Press
ISBN 0300093888 ISBN13 9780300093889
Availability 0 units.
More About Jaroslav Jan Pelikan
Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of, among other books, The Christian Tradition and Jesus Through the Centuries. His scholarly accomplishments have been recognized by medals and awards from many scholarly societies and institutions, by honorary degrees from universities all over the world, and by the Jefferson Award of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the highest honor conferred by the Federal Government on a scholar in the Humanities.
Jaroslav Jan Pelikan currently resides in the state of Connecticut. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan was born in 1923.
Jaroslav Jan Pelikan has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition?
Impeccable Scholarsip and Eminently Readable Nov 18, 2006
Teaser: If you belong to either of the two largest Christian bodies, Roman or Orthodox, you stand and recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed every Sunday, saying "I believe in One God, the Father Almighty..." Yet, these two ancient bodies schismed over the addition of just two words to this creed and Christians have never again been a united church.
This alone should give anyone interested in Christian history sufficient reason to read an excellent book about Creeds.
Content: CREDO is a comprehensive yet very accessible history of creeds in Christianity, their role, the struggles, and the need for them. Origins, conflicts, and evolution are all well-addressed.
Level: You can read and enjoy this book, and learn much, regardless of whether you are just exploring what it means when you say "I believe," are up to wondering what the origins of the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed are, or are interested in the subtle nuances of theology behind the filioque clause.
What Creed does your church use? Where did it come from? What is the difference between a statement of belief and a profession of faith? CREDO explains all of this and so much more, and does it clearly and completely.
Well-worth buying! A must for any Christian's library!
Extra Details about the Author: As many have noted, Dr. Pelikan was a professor of Christianity at Yale and an ordained Lutheran minister. He was the leading Christian historian of the 20th century. His books on Luther and Lutheran doctrine and history, written in the 60's, remain touchstones on the topic.
Less known, is that Dr. Pelikan, who fell asleep in the Lord in 2005, retired from the Ministry and Yale and left the Lutheran Church. Being an exemplary man, he never uttered any commentary, nor did he trumpet his own conversion, but he was chrismated into the Orthodox Christian Church a full decade before he died. His scholarship led him there, yet he never let this bias his later works. He went on to a late career as Dean of Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary.
Highly Recommended Jul 5, 2006
This is a must read for any who are Christians or who are interested in the Christian scriptures. It is clear, readable and succinct. If you read your Bible you should know its history.
You don't have to be a scholar to appreciate this book Jun 10, 2004
If you have an interest in how we got our definitions of faith in Christianity, you would be well served to read this book. It is not a "story" per se, however, and it will only give you an overview of the process as it has occurred over the centuries. Also, Pelikan is VERY academic in his language and presentation, so you might get a little lost from time to time among his lists and examples. However, if you can stick with it, he drives his points home with precision, and rarely is an issue raised with just a single example or reference, so you will get the gist of what he's saying, even if you can't follow everything.
I came away from this work marveling at the surprising UNITY of the very diverse (on the surface anyway) orthodox Christian faith through the centuries, and feeling that it was very hard not to see the hand of God in it. Pelikan knows this subject like (I imagine) no one ever has. He speaks from an authority that is remarkably.
Seeing is believing... Jan 12, 2004
Credo: I believe...
With these words, Christians around the globe and across the millennia have on a regular basis begun their regular recitation of faith. Christianity has been from very early days a faith that has laid heavy emphasis on orthodoxy (right belief) apart from (but not always separate from) orthopraxy (right action) - indeed, Christianity has always hoped that right belief leads to right action, but it has put the focus upon right belief as the foundation.
Jaroslav Pelikan, emeritus professor of History at Yale has written extensively on the history of Christendom, specialising in many of these texts on the history of Christian belief (his masterful five-volume series on this topic is still a standard). Honoured with degrees, awards, and even a post at the Library of Congress, there are few in the same league as Pelikan when it comes to developing the history of Christian thought. This particular volume, 'Credo', is both a stand-alone volume of the basic history of development of the creeds or belief structures of the major strands of Christianity, and also serves as an introductory volume in the larger work 'Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition', a series most likely to find a home in major libraries, but rarely in individuals' homes, save the most serious of scholars. That is not a problem with this volume, however; as it should find a place of honour in the libraries of Christians Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant.
Pelikan, an ecumenically minded scholar but decidedly orthodox Christian, gives an admirably fair overview of the traditions presented here, striving as best he can to preserve the terminology of each tradition as each defines itself. This can be confusing at at times, as Pelikan notes; every tradition sees itself in terms of being orthodox, evangelistic, catholic, and reformed in differing ways against differing social and historical contexts.
The narrative essays comprise four major sections: Definitions of Creed and Confession; The Genesis of Creeds and Confessions; The Authority of Creeds and Confessions; The History of Creeds and Confessions. Much hinges on the definitions employed when talking about creeds and confessions - churches are sometimes defined by these or over against these, but as Pelikan states, these are more easily described than defined. Pelikan spends a good deal of time showing the different kinds of formulae and statements of faith, how there is both continuity and change in their development across the many strands of Christian expression, and what exactly creeds and confessions are meant to do and not do. In exploring the creation of creeds and confessions, Pelikan starts with scripture, but quickly moves on to the other influences; the number of Christians over time who have maintained an exclusively-scriptural creedal or confessional basis is vanishingly small. In this confusing field, Pelikan lays out very clear paths. Similar confusion occurs in looking at the issue of authority, which brings up another difficult issue in interpretation - the interpretation of creeds and confessions can be as difficult and varied as biblical interpretation. All of these set a strong contextual stage for examining history-proper of the creeds, stepping from the early church to the Eastern Orthodox formulation, to the Medieval West, to the Reformation Ear, and finally to statements of faith in the modern Christianity.
There are three other major sections: first, an extensive bibliography with up-to-date titles in the area of Christian history and the creeds; second, indexes to the other volumes of the 'Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition'; and third, several indexes to the present volume, including indexes to scripture, to various creeds and confessions, and to persons mentioned in the text. The indexes are generally good, but there are minor issues that could make the volume more handy (for example, the index on creeds is done by abbreviation; these abbreviations are found at the beginning of the book, and could be repeated here for ease of use, or at the very least, the page number of the abbreviations could be listed). The majority of Pelikan's references are in English and English-translation, on the assumption that scholars can draw from these the original language references more readily than non-scholars could draw from original language; however, again given the scope this work, perhaps a few extra pages could have been incorporated to permit these references as well. These are small issues in an otherwise magnificent research resource.
There are indeed many works on creeds, confessions and the development of Christian profession (as distinct from Christian theology or Christian history proper); there are smaller volumes that cover the same material, but this volume takes advantage of the latest scholarship, and the vast encyclopedic knowledge of Pelikan and his team of scholars, including among the many contributors Valerie Hotchkiss (co-editor of the other volumes in the series) and Bishop Kalistos Ware.
Pelikan's work on creeds and confessions began in earnest with his doctoral dissertation in 1946, nearly 60 years ago; he has spent as long a professional life in this field as it is almost physically possible for anyone to do. This work may not be the capstone on his career, but it is certainly a worthy standard in its own right, and should serve as a major touchstone for years to come.
"I believe in One God..." Sep 26, 2003
If the words of my title ring a bell, then I assume that you have been saying the main creed of orthodox Christianity for some time. But what you may not know is the fascinating history behind the creed. Whole empires were torn apart in its development over "one iota" about who Christ is, lone theologians fought "contra mundi" for the truth, and political intrigue weighed heavy upon bishops and kings. After Nicea II, several other ecumenical councils were required to delineate the ground upon which theology could be built in reaction to the various challenges both philosophical and cultural that were presented to the faith's expression. Serving as a floor rather than a limiting ceiling, the creeds and the dogmas serve the Church as a sort of map by which we may travel in our faith without getting too lost in the byways of bizarre speculation or individualism.
Before I actually looked at the book, I thought that it would either be a slim volume of original work, owing to Pelikan's age and seemingly fast publishing schedule, or a large tome of primary sources with his insightful notes adding commentary. Oh how I was wrong on my first count! This book weighs in at a hefty 600+ pages and is chuck full of his elegant and scholarly prose. It is not so intellectually lofty that the novice would be intimidated, but perhaps works such as Kelly's "Early Christian Creeds" or Leo Davis' "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils" would serve as good companions. There is always that other fine work, "Beginning to Read the Creeds".
Pelikan is truly the master historian of doctrinal development, and the whole notion of creed is intimately bound to that development. He touches upon the perennial themes concerning the validity of the creeds both then and now, the meaning of an ecumenical council, the notion of tradition as the vivifying role of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and the interrelation between scripture and dogma. Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Protestants of all varieties would do well to sit at the feet of Pelikan and reconsider and reflect upon their own notions of the foundation of the faith- the natures and person of Christ and his Bride. We do not always follow the premises of our faith to their logical and historical conclusions.
If you are interested in creeds, you may also enjoy Pelikan's five volume set on the development of doctrine, along with his slim "The Vindication of Tradition". One author that I continually reference is Georges Florovsky. He had a firm grasp on the primary sources and spirit of early Christianity and served as one of Pelikan's mentors. His, "Bible, Church and Tradition" is very relevant to the whole notion of doctrinal development and creedal consensus. Of course there are tons of other great books, but those are quite useful in orienting your mind to the historical process involved in formulating eternal truths. Enjoy!