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This review is taken from PN Review 11, Volume 6 Number 3, January - February 1980.

TRADITION AND THEOLOGY Ernst Troeltsch, Writings on Theology and Religion, translated and edited by Robert Morgan and Michael Pye (Duckworth) £12.50

A theologian-or at least someone with a fairly extensive knowledge of the Christian tradition, which may or may not be the same thing-reading modern literature, poetry, essays and so forth, finds that quite immediate theological concepts, language and argument often lurk only just beneath the surface. And not always beneath the surface: in the first issue of PNR Donald Davie's "Note on Nonconformists" dealt directly with theological issues and was concerned to draw distinctions between groups of men, distinctions within the tradition in which he stands, that required more than a superficial acquaintance with the terms and concepts of theology. In his editorial in PNR 7 Michael Schmidt discussed some aspects of the idea of tradition. That, too, seems to me to be a discussion where theology lurks just beneath the surface. Traditio, and behind that the Greek paradosis, has the sort of meaning Schmidt was concerned with only-or at least only to a significant degree-in Christian Latin (and Christian Greek). In the classical languages, such a connotation was rare, and if present at all, present in a derogatory sense: Plato, e.g., speaks of the paradosis of the myths of the gods. Traditio was what Christ had handed over to his Church, and what defined the Church as this traditio was passed on from generation to generation. It was identical with the gospel, with the Holy Spirit, with the life without which the Church was not. The fact that the words in Saint John's narrative of the Passion translated ...


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