The Craft of Theology

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The Craft of Theology

From Symbol to System

Exploring the possibilities for greater consensus, The Craft of Theology illustrates how a "post-critical" theology can draw on the riches of Scripture and tradition to reflect on the development of faith in new contexts.

Avery Dulles's theological career has spanned one of the most creative and confusing periods in the history of the church. With the goal of integrating new information from philosophy and the sciences into a deeper understanding of the world and society, many theological schools pursued independent agendas, with the net effect of a loss of coherence. It is Fr. Dulles's contention that theological schools have drifted so far apart that what seems false and dangerous to one school seems almost self-evident to another. Theologians lack a common language, common goals, and common norms.

Fr. Dulles discusses the freedom of theology within the university and sets forth principles for a fresh dialogue with philosophy, the sciences, and other Christian churches.

Reviews and endorsements

“Clear, balanced treatment of issues, nuanced presentation of the Catholic tradition, and illuminating, critical use of models for analysis. Highly recommended . . .”
Religious Studies Review


"This is a splendid book, nourishing for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It clearly shows our contemporary situation on a number of fronts, offering constructive directions for the future."
Reformed Review


"It is easy to commend this book to those concerned with questions of theological method; Avery Dulles sets forth his presuppositions with admirable clarity. It is also easy to recommend this book to Roman Catholics concerned with the state of their church. I want to commend it, however, to Protestant ministers concerned for the future of mainline denominations. To see our problems through moderate, authority respecting Roman Catholic eyes can be instructive indeed."
Christian Century


"I would highly recommend this small but packed volume to anyone who wishes to understand what theologians do, and should do, in today’s church."
Bernard Cooke, America

"A work of remarkable balance and depth by one of the few living theologians who deserves to be called a master. The Craft of Theology is a lucid introduction to the symbolically oriented, postcritical theology Avery Dulles has been developing for over twenty-five years, and will be instructive for professional theologians and introductory students alike."
Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J.


"This book is vintage Dulles. It lays out the different dimensions of the art of doing theology with a clarity and comprehensiveness unsurpassed in the contemporary theological world and makes balanced and judicious recommendations as to how it should be done."
George A. Lindbeck

Paperback / 280 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9