Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective
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3.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 080102448X
Manufacturer : Baker Academic|
Release data : 01 June, 2002
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Dr. Karkkainen approaches the subject of the Holy Spirit in a different way by giving an overall understanding of various views of the Spirit. It is a good book to obtain a general overview of Pneumatology, but it lacks substance in my opinion. If you want to a summary of different views on the Holy Spirit, then this will be helpful. If you want a more indepth, theological work, then this is not the book for you. One very positive element was his summary of the Greek Orthodox Church's view of the Spirit, which we in the western church tend to overlook. One area he neglects though is the Celtic Christian concept of the Spirit, which may be good to include in a revised edition some day.
Does what it sets out to do -
Veli-Matti Kakkainen (kark) delivers a work that takes anyone who is interested into the deeper realms of the study of the Holy Spirit. He looks at the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit fits in a historical perspective, a theological perspective, and a trinitarian perspective. He also gets into the development of the Holy Spirit in all Orthodox Christian viewpoints which are useful, especially in Ecumenical dialogues. He offers no overt biases, and treats the subject in a usable way. Worth Reading - JVD
I felt that Karkkainen's book on pneumatology is something that is definitely needed in a time when the study of the spirit is something that often falls on the wayside. He makes several good points in how the "Holy Spirit" has throughout Christendom been considered simply "the third person" of the Trinity and so consequently has not received the scholary attention it deserves. He does a fine job covering many different (as his substitle states) perspectives that range from the ecumenical role of the spirit to the spirit's role in the context of different cultures.
However, it seems that the book is lacking in depth somewhat. Granted that this book was not meant to be a dissertation on pneumotology, at the end of the book, due to its brevity, I was left wishing that it had been. Because of its brevity other branches of Christianity's perspective on the Holy Spirit were bypassed altogether. One wonders why the author neglected to mention the Holy Spirit's role in the Calvinist tradition and its many branches (such as the Puritan movement). This might seem a mute point but when you consider that it has been the Reformed Calvinist view of the Holy Spirit that has dominated much of Christian thought in America one wonders why Karkkainen did not cover this particular perspective. Instead he focuses on the Lutheran tradition when discussing Reformed perspectives on the Holy Spirit.
Another point of contention that I have is that although Karkkainen is obviously trying to remain neutral in his book as to the different views concerning pneumotology at certain points one can see his bias towards pneumatologies that are heavily trinitarian. And yet, ironically, when I finished with the book I also was left with the notion that Karkkainnen was saying that at the end of the day, no perspective on the Holy Spirit is wrong. It seems that Karkkainen would have his readers adopt a plurastic pneumatology in which each perspective on the Holy Spirit is simply another perspective.
Yet for the faults that I found within this work it was otherwise well written and at least informative so that I did not feel that I wasted money or time on this book. I suggest it for people who want to know more about pneumotology. Though not an exhaustive survey, Karkkainen's book presents readers with at least a starting point to an otherwise neglected discipline.