A. N. Williams

in The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199245765
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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Discussion of tradition in a Christian context has often focused on the ‘problem’ of tradition. Tradition has often been perceived as raising vexatious theological questions more immediately and inherently than many other topics in theology. In reality, the ‘problem’ is a set of interrelated issues: how to define tradition; whether it is to be viewed as normative, and if so, how it is related to scripture; how tradition is related to the church as sustained and vivified by the Holy Spirit; and whether, if tradition is living, there is not the possibility of corrupt accretions to it, and if so, how these would be distinguished from legitimate developments. Finally, there is a problem of the one and the many: although theologians often speak of tradition in the singular, substantial differences exist between theologies considered authoritative by various Christian churches, and even within individual ecclesial traditions.

Keywords: Christianity; theological questions; Christian tradition; theologians; ecclesial traditions

Article.  7927 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion

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