How central is narrative to Christology? To human experience?
In exploring these questions Michael Cook maintains in Christology as Narrative Quest the primacy and centrality of narrative in communicating the significance of Jesus Christ, and demonstrates ways in which "narrative" in four faith images has played a role in the shaping of Christology. These forms and their texts are: biblical (the Gospel of Mark); creedal (the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed); systematic (Aquinas' Summa theologiae); and social transformation (the "story" of Mexican-Americans.) All of these images are ways of using narrative imagery to connect idea and experience.
A detailed analysis reveals that each of these forms involve what well-known ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre calls a "narrative quest." In each case an image of Jesus that is fundamental for integrating a particular form of the "narrative quest" emerges.
Father Cook contends that Christology in any age is the culture-specific faith response of the community of believers/disciples (Church) to the mystery of the risen Jesus a mystery that, identified with the very life, activity, and presence of God, simply transcends any attempt we make, whether biblical, creedal, systematic, or societal, to bring it to expression.
The four faith images (biblical, creedal, systematic, social transformation) and their texts broadly correspond to significant periods in the history of Christianity: the Jewish-Gentile Church, the Hellenistic-Byzantine (imperial) Church, the Latin-Western (papal) Church, and the contemporary, post-Vatican II emergence of the world-wide Church.
Graduate students, academicians, and others who want a scholarly or professional reference work will appreciate this substantive look into the relationship of narrative and Christology.
Chapters examine the four faith images. They are "The Centrality of Narrative in Christology," "A Biblical Image: 'The Beloved Son' in the Gospel of Mark," "A Creedal Image: 'The Pre-Existent Son' in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed," "A Systematic Image: 'The Incarnate Word' in the Summa theologiae of Thomas Aquinas," and "A Social Transformation Image: 'The Rejected Prophet' in the Mexican-American Experience."
Michael L. Cook, SJ, ThD, is a professor of theology at Gonzaga University. He also taught at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley and was a visiting professor at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile. He is the author of Responses to 101 Questions About Jesus.