Book Review: Edward Oakes’ Infinity Dwindled To Infancy

Infinity Dwindled to Infancy (Edward Oakes)My review of Edward T. Oakes’ new introduction to ChristologyInfinity Dwindled to Infancy — has just been published in the new issue of the International Journal of Systematic Theology (vol. 16 no. 2).  This is a very strong survey with few if any oversights, and I definitely commend it for those who are new to this area of Christian theology.  It’s also very well-suited for classroom use, particularly at Catholic and ecumenically-minded institutions.

Father Oakes was professor of dogmatic theology at Mundelein Seminary and University of St. Mary of the Lake.  He was a member of the Society of Jesus and perhaps best-known as a leading scholar of the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, and just passed away this last December.  (Read the memorial at First Things.)

From the review:

Throughout Oakes quotes copiously from secondary sources, particularly those he favors (including Hans Urs von Balthasar). This is usually welcome in the main body, or relegated to extended footnotes, but adds to the sense that the book seeks to be a classroom text – more a compendium of historical and contemporary scholarship – and not at all original. The overall accessibility and thoroughness of the book commend it well for classroom use. A pair of appendices offer short summaries of the ecumenical councils and a glossary of terms. More complex material is included in the volume, but wisely shunted into excurses (the extra Calvinisticum, for example, as well as the distinction of will and intellect in Maximus’ dyothelitism). Both undergraduate and graduate-level students will thus benefit from Oakes’ treatment. Particularly in the earlier chapters it seems as though no stone has been left unturned, no detail left out for the sake of brevity.

Look for the full piece in the April issue of IJST.

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