What does it mean to hope for heaven? Brian Hebblethwaite traces the background to the Christian hope in the faith of Israel, examines its primary basis in the acts of God in the story of Jesus Christ, and follows the history of Christian attitudes to the future of humanity and of creation throughout the Christian centuries. The Christian Hope tells the complex story of the different strands, emphases and problems that have developed between biblical times and our own in the quest to understand 'the four last things' - death, judgement, heaven and hell. Hebblethwaite concentrates our attention on the modern period since 1900, an era when modern Christian theology has witnessed a remarkable recovery of interest in hope and the future as dominant motifs in its reflections. The discoveries of modern science have affected Christian hope and Christian understanding of creation and its ultimate destiny. At different stages in the history of the church, very different stresses have been laid on the present or on the future, on hope for the individual or on hope for society, on this-worldly hope or on other-worldly hope.
Through a study of the basis of Christian hope and of the history of its interpretation, Hebblethwaite aims to present a balanced view of these different elements in the Christian tradition and a credible eschatology for today.
Brian Hebblethwaite, born in 1939, was educated at Clifton College, Bristol before going up to Magdalen College, Oxford to read Literae Humaniores. He went on to read Theology at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and to train for the Anglican priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge. He also spent two semesters at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. After a curacy in Lancashire, he returned to Cambridge as Chaplain, then Dean of Chapel, at Queens' College and Lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion in the Faculty of Divinity. His publications earned him the higher degrees of Bachelor of Divinity in 1984 and Doctor of Divinity in 2006. Since 1980 he has been Editor for Ethics for the Theologische Realenzyklopadie, and from 1983 to 2001 he was Canon Theologian of Leicester Cathedral. He remains a Life Fellow of Queens' College, and now lives in retirement near Ely in Cambridgeshire.
Preface ; I: THE HOPE OF ISRAEL AND THE FIRST CHRISTIANS ; 1. The Old Testament Background ; 2. The New Testament ; II: THE CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN HOPE ; 3. The Early Church ; 4. The Middle Ages ; 5. The Reformation ; III: THE CHRISTIAN HOPE IN THE MODERN AGE ; 6. The Enlightenment ; 7. The Nineteenth Century ; 8. The Twentieth Century I: The Reaction Against Liberal Theology ; 9. The Twentieth Century II: Roman Catholic Theology ; 10. The Twentieth Century III: Later Protestant Theology ; 11. A Christian Eschatology for the Twenty-First Century
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