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Christology, 2nd Edition

A Global Introduction

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In this revised introduction, an internationally respected scholar explores biblical, historical, and contemporary developments in Christology. The book focuses on the global and contextual diversity of contemporary theology, including views of Christ found in the Global South and North and in the Abrahamic and Asian faith traditions. It is ideal for readers who desire to know how the global Christian community understands the person and work of Jesus Christ. This new edition accounts for the significant developments in theology over the past decade.


Introduction: What Is Christology? Why Does It Matter?
Part 1: Christ in Biblical Testimonies: Diversity in Unity
1. The Gospel Silhouettes of Jesus
2. Pauline Interpretations of Christ
Part 2: Christ in Christian Tradition: Unity in Diversity
3. The Patristic and Creedal Establishment of "Orthodoxy"
4. Modern Christologies: The Quests of (the Historical) Jesus
Part 3: Christ in the Contemporary World: Diversity and Unity
5. European-American Christologies
6. Christologies from the Global South
7. "Contextual" Christologies in the Global North
Part 4: Jesus Christ among Religions: Diversity without Unity
8. Jesus among Abrahamic Traditions
9. Jesus among Asian Traditions
Epilogue: The Future of Christology


Praise for the First Edition

"No other book so comprehensively and helpfully surveys contemporary options in Christian thinking about Christ, including Christologies arising out of the two-thirds world. It is a reliable guide to cutting-edge reflection on the history, development, and contemporary contextualization of the doctrine of Jesus Christ."

Roger E. Olson, professor of theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

"Christology is profound and insightful in taking issue with various approaches and understandings of Jesus Christ. It is an original and creative masterpiece that introduces christological issues with intellectual clarity and theological quality. After reading this work, I have no hesitation in recommending it to all students at seminaries and anyone interested in Christianity and theology."

Paul Chung, faculty lecturer in theology and Asian spirituality, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

"This remarkably accessible panoramic survey introduces the complex world of Christology, the heart of Christian theology. Kärkkäinen has succeeded in the difficult task of drawing together the many strands of Christology in the Bible, in Christian history, and in the contemporary world. This survey, which reflects Kärkkäinen's personal commitment to ecumenicity, is both global and ecumenical. Kärkkäinen has given attention to Christologies from various parts of the world and from different Christian traditions, outlining key representatives of these multifaceted Christologies. The result is a fascinating kaleidoscope of images and reflections on the person of Christ, an essential textbook for the theology classroom, and important reading for anyone wanting to discover the meaning of Christ in this postmodern age."

Allan Anderson, University of Birmingham

"Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen has written an excellent introduction to contemporary Christology. By choosing telling examples and utilizing a lucid style, he is able to cover the full range of today's christological debates in a way that readers will find easy to follow despite the complexities of the issues at stake. What makes this book unique as a textbook is that academic western theology and contextual theological approaches are treated together as if that had always been the natural way to do it. Moreover, often neglected pentecostal and charismatic perspectives have also found their way into the book. This work will be of great use to students and to anyone interested in Christian theology."

Michael Bergunder, theological faculty, University of Heidelberg

"This is a fine and eminently helpful introduction to Christology. Kärkkäinen provides theological students with an overview that effectively enables them to enter into the grand discussion about the person of Christ. Readers will have an easily accessible resource that profiles the key contributors to this conversation--from the early church up to and including the most recent notable voices. All of this serves the author's primary objective: that the Christ who is revealed in Holy Scripture would be known, worshipped, and served."

Gordon T. Smith, associate professor of spiritual theology, Regent College

"Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen's Christology is breathtaking in scope and pace. This introduction is unique in breadth and clarity. Every reader can learn from it."

Colin Brown, professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

    Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

    Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (DrTheol, University of Helsinki) is professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he has taught for over fifteen years. He is also docent of ecumenics at the University of...

    Continue reading about Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen


"[A] seminal text. In the amended edition, Kärkkäinen has added an entire section that explores religious views of Jesus outside of Christianity, and he has augmented it with new sections on contextual christologies. Moreover, Kärkkäinen has enhanced original parts of the text with insights that he has gained from subsequent research. All of these supplements offer significant value to a text that already stood in its own right. . . . Kärkkäinen's book provides a balanced and neutral overview of multifarious christologies. . . . He provided fair portrayals of each position. In my opinion, Kärkkäinen's method is appropriate, given the nature of this book as an introductory text. This method lends itself to using the text in a variety of manners, but I think that this could be a very effective text in undergraduate and seminary theology classes. Besides these uses, individuals who want to deepen their grasp of christology are likely to benefit from reading this book. I commend Kärkkäinen for representing a broad assortment of theological perspectives. . . . Christology: A Global Introduction, given its wide scope, has the potential to be a perennial classic when it comes to introductory books on christology. The improvements made in this new edition only add to the argument that it should be a staple text in preliminary studies concerning christology."

David Bradnick,

Reading Religion

Praise for the First Edition

"An excellent introduction to Christology. It is clearly written and liberates this discipline from its Euro-American captivity. Christology indeed belongs fully to the church universal. I consider this book as a genuine ecumenical achievement, so well has the author drawn various denominations and confessions into the dialogue."

Jan A. B. Jongeneel,

International Bulletin of Missionary Research

"Draws together the many strands of Christology in the Bible, in Christian history, and in the contemporary world. This survey is both global and ecumenical."

The Mennonite

"While written for theological students beginning their studies this book will be of equal value to clergy and concerned lay people."

Gordon Baker,

Anglican Journal

"This book's distinctive contribution is well expressed in its subtitle: A Global Introduction. The author . . . presents a relatively comprehensive survey of biblical, classical, and modern western christological reflection and then expounds contemporary contextual Christologies from the world's nonwestern cultures and their indigenous churches. Those already familiar with the history of Christian thought about the person of Jesus Christ will nevertheless want to read this book."

Roger E. Olson,

Theology Today

"Kärkkäinen shows the vast richness of Christological reflection. . . . The breadth of views is remarkable."

J. Douglas Ousley,

Living Church

"Kärkkäinen surveys a whole range of new contexts in which Christologies have been developed: 'process,' feminist, black, postmodern, Latin American, African, and Asian. As probably many are not familiar with all this range, it is a genuinely interesting survey."

R. L. Sturch,

Expository Times

"Kärkkäinen's introduction offers students a useful tour d'horizon of contemporary Christology by situating it within the ecumenical and geographic diversity that characterizes the contemporary theological landscape. The book will be a welcome resource for students interested in contemporary Christology and for teachers looking for sound resources for their courses. Readers will find Kärkkäinen's organization and presentation straightforward and accessible. . . . Composing a good introductory text is difficult. One must integrate the diverse and demanding research in a given field with pedagogical concerns. Kärkkäinen succeeds. His introduction to Christology is ambitious, clear, and sympathetic to a wide variety of positions."

Christopher McMahon,

Theological Studies

"Kärkkäinen does a commendable job of presenting the foundations of the various Christological approaches without offering diatribe against the subjects under discussion. Given the range of theologians . . . this discipline shows Kärkkäinen's professionalism and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the book as a text for students."

Jeffrey D. Vickery,

Review and Expositor

"Will open up discussion on many areas of christological reflection for both experts and non-experts alike."

Iain D. Campbell,

Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

"Does a commendable job of surveying the complex landscape. . . . Provides a concise overview of christological thought by discussing four major segments of inquiry. . . . Kärkkäinen offers judicious summaries and successfully covers an enormous amount of material with a reader-friendly style."

Everett Berry,

Southern Baptist Journal of Theology

"Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen leaves us in his debt by offering a much-needed global introduction to Christology. Much like his global introductions to the doctrines of God, the church, and the Holy Spirit, this book is as clearly written as it is wide-ranging. . . . Kärkkäinen displays a broad grasp of contextual and indeed global christologies, and his tone throughout is irenic and graceful. His work stands as a very helpful introduction to some important developments in the theology of Christianity as a truly global religion. . . . Clear and readable, well-informed, and graceful, Christology: A Global Introduction has much to commend it."

Tom McCall,

Calvin Theological Journal

"[Kärkkäinen's] volume on Christology is stellar. . . . This is an indispensable resource for both students and teachers of Christology."

Glenn Peoples,

Right Reason blog