Book Review: Readings in Historical Theology
Author: Robert F. Lay
Publisher: Kregal Academic ISBN: 9780825430671
Readings in Historical Theology: Primary Sources of the Christian Faith
This is a fabulous compilation. Originally published in 2009, I do not understand why this sourcebook flew under my radar for so long; nevertheless, I am certainly glad to have found it now.
Robert F. Lay designed this assemblage of Readings in Historical Theology as a sourcebook for students to encourage critical reading and thinking skills while fostering their appreciation for classic Christian authors. I believe he succeeded and even surpassed his goals with this collection of writings.
The readings in this book span two millennia of Christian history and represent some of the most significant theological contributions to the Christian faith. Included in this single volume is a collection of the primary creeds, confessions, and catechisms from the early church through the reformation. There are excerpts and selections from the early church fathers, desert fathers, and the monastic movement as well as church council documents and Reformation theses and confessions. There are also writings on the subjects of hermeneutics and apologetics. Additionally, the book also includes a CD containing more than fifty readings totaling over one thousand more pages of historical writings! This is truly a monumental collection.
The selections are arranged thematically and then chronologically within each theme. In each section, there are questions for guided reading and group discussion. Author Robert Lay also has included a timeline (chronology) of the select events and writings at the beginning of the book. Personally, I found this a very helpful addition.
There was nothing that I did not like about this collection of writings, but if there is an area that might be improved upon it is the formatting of the book contents itself. While it did not bother me personally, I think the layout of the writings is a bit boring and run together without any real noticeable separation. It is very text-bookish and drab… and for a book of this caliber, it could have been put together with a bit more visual appeal. Aesthetic critique aside, don’t let the drab formatting keep you from this book. It is a definitive starter piece for the consummate introduction to the greatest writings in Christian history.
About the Author
Robert F. Lay is professor of Christian educational ministries and university archivist at Taylor University. He specializes in Christian educational theory, philosophy, and history and is a member of the North American Professors of Christian Education, the Evangelical Theological Society, the American Society of Church History, and the Indiana Association of Historians.