The Church : Theology in History.

The place and importance of naming is captured early on with early followers of disciples self-describing as inter alia ‘believers’ ‘followers’ non-gender specific ‘brothers’ and even ‘sisters. ’Other elements under the spot light and of particular value to the less specialist reader include examinations of baptism, Eucharist, Koinonia, prayer, temple worship, teaching, fellowship, breaking of breads and prayers (the Lucan quartet).
Cwiekowski’s lively and never-intimidating style brings out the real politique of the early Church caught up in its various binary positions [has anything changed?] Inter alia, Hellenist v Hebrew, circumcised v not circumcised temple worship v not so. In addition, the early meetings as precursors to later ecumenical councils are drawn in clear relief, such as the Council of Jerusalem in CE 49 Equally resonant to this day is the place of pragmatism and compromise, exhibited in the early Church. Examples include Paul confronting Peter at Antioch [Gal. 2.11-14] as well as a rich description of the development of ecclesia particularly in the Deutero-Pauline writings but also in Matthew’s Gospel as a model for leadership in Catholic Christianity. In particular, the signature powers to bind or loose in chapter 16 as well as the primacy of Peter and the keys of the kingdom. Continuity, community and mission underpin the Lucan ecclesiology.

Equally, time is once again crucial in locating the events of Jesus’ life in the Greco-Roman history of the day. Central Catholic notions of priesthood and a pilgrim or journeying people are set in the context of specifically priestly discourses such as the Letter to the Hebrews. Also, concern for the poor and the centrality of pastoral guidance are seen emerging in the Letter to St James.

The book continues at a pace charting developments both East and West up to and beyond the Second Vatican Council. An interesting contemporary element is the importance of the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World and the landmark Medellin conference in Brazil in 1968 on the thinking of one Oscar Romero. A Church at one with the poor, centred on evangelisation and committed to justice. Very much in sync with Evangelii Gaudium, the fruit of another Latin American Bishop and, subsequently, Pope Francis.

Prof Simon Uttley, Blessed Hugh Faringdon School, Reading

Text Size

Pastoral Review Subscription

Manage or Renew your Subscription

Michael A. Hayes 1957 - 2017


Michael A. Hayes 1957 - 2017

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Rev. Professor Michael Hayes editor of the Pastoral Review.

Many friends and readers of the Pastoral Review and The Tablet will have been shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Michael Hayes early on Easter Saturday.   Read More


In partnership with Redemptorist Publications, each issue we offer you the opportunity to purchase any of the books reviewed in The Tablet, with 10% off the recommended retail price.

You can place your order:

By mail:
The Tablet Bookshop
Alphonsus House
Hampshire GU34 3HQ

By Phone:
+44 (0)1420 592 974

By Fax:
+44 (0)1420 888 05

By Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Postage and packing:

UK: £1.95 per book (4 books or more add £5)
Europe: £2.25 per book
Rest of the world: £2.75 per book

Cheques payable to Redemptorist Publications
We accept Visa, Mastercard, Switch and Maestro