By Hug Rayment-Pickard
In fifty incredible brief essays one of many UK's liveliest younger writers on faith introduces the main topics, pursuits and thinkers in theology. George Pattison, Professor of Divinity on the college of Oxford says: 'Hugh Rayment-Pickard is without doubt one of the clearest thinkers at the British theological scene, and 50 Key options in Theology opens the door to theology for college students and common readers alike. He has provided a valid advisor for the puzzled and a stimulus to argument among the interested.'
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Extra resources for 50 Key Concepts in Theology
And this was clearly not acceptable. It was St Anselm, writing a thousand years after the birth of Christianity, who proposed a revised understanding of the atonement, offering a new theory based upon God’s need to punish someone for the sins of humanity. Anselm’s argument is that human sinfulness requires some kind of divine punishment. But God’s mercy prevents him from punishing us, so Jesus offers himself as our ‘substitute’, taking the blame on our behalf. Thus God squares the circle by remaining both fully just and fully merciful.
This reduces God to a list of human categories and contradicts the doctrine of divine simplicity, which says that God is not composed of parts. The main theological objection to the analysis of divine attributes is that the process appears to limit God to human ideas about the necessary nature of God. Nicholas of Cusa suggested an alternative approach: the consideration of the possible nature of God or, as he called it, God’s possible-actuality (possest). He argued that God’s infinite possibility can contain ‘the coincidence of opposites’.
Didache (pronounced ‘did-ee-kay’): the Greek term for ‘teaching’. Dogma: the absolute teachings of a religion. Some theologians prefer to differentiate doctrine (the expression of theological truth) from dogma (the making of absolutist claims). Heterodoxy: beliefs and arguments that are at variance from the Church’s official teaching. The Magisterium: the official body in Roman Catholicism that decides the true teaching of the Church. Orthodoxy: the official version of Christianity. Scepticism: the tendency to doubt all dogmatic claims.