Religion Booknotes

Infinity Dwindled to Infancy
A Catholic and Evangelical Christology
Edward T. Oakes, SJ
Eerdmans, $44, 459 pp.

What is “Catholic and Evangelical Christology”? Roughly, it is the belief that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures, which was affirmed as dogma by the Council of Chalcedon. Edward T. Oakes, SJ, understands that there is a profound paradox in Chalcedonian Christology. That paradox involves a tension between time and infinity, creation and creator, humanity and divinity. To lose this tension—what the tradition calls the “coincidence of opposites”—is to fall into one of two general sets of theological error. To hold the tension in place, to affirm the orthodox faith of Christianity, means not forcing a resolution of the paradox, which can also be called a mystery. It is one of the many merits of Infinity Dwindled to Infancy that Oakes keeps this tension in focus as he takes the reader through the history of Christology, from its biblical origins to contemporary debates.

The book’s origins are in a graduate seminar Oakes has taught at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and, like any good seminar course on Christology, Infinity Dwindled to Infancy aims at comprehensiveness. Oakes would agree with the observation of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, that Catholic theologians should...

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About the Author

Lawrence Cunningham is John O'Brien professor of Theology (Emeritus) at the University of Notre Dame.