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By Paul; Edited by Braaten, Carl E. Tillich

ISBN-10: 0671214268

ISBN-13: 9780671214265

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Additional resources for A History of Christian Thought: From its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism

Sample text

The same is true of the other dogmas. The later they are, the more clearly they show this negative character. We may call them protective doctrines, for they were intended to protect the substance of the biblical message. To an extent the substance was fluid; of course, there was a fixed core, the confession that Jesus was the Christ. But beyond this everything was in motion. When new doctrines arose which seemed to undercut the fundamental confession, the protective doctrines were added to it.

The limits of the New Testament had not yet been definitely set. It took more than two hundred years for the church to make a final decision on all the books in the New Testament canon. Besides these writings there was already a complex of dogmatic and ethical doctrines which had become traditional. In I Clement these are called "the canon of our tradition". This tradition had various names, like truth, gospel, doctrine, and commandments. This, however, was a large amount of material; it had to be narrowed down for those who were to be baptized.

Many of these were on the fringes of the Christian tradition, some even among its most bitter opponents. Tillich's selective treatment of this period focuses on the critical thrust from the philosophical side. He leaves largely out of account the developments in historical criticism, the investigation of the origins of primitive Christianity; also he pays little attention to the reconstructions of church doctrine that were being advanced by professional theologians. The reason for this selectivity is Tillich's conviction that the impetus to historical research and doctrinal reformulation came from changes in philosophical outlook.

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A History of Christian Thought: From its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism by Paul; Edited by Braaten, Carl E. Tillich


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