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Alister E McGrath is a thorough theologian and master apologist. His book "Luther's Theology of the Cross" is another proof of his thoroughness. It is a classical academic study in which he compellingly illustrates how Martin Luther moved from the stance of the 'via moderna' (Modern way) on 'iustitia Dei' (God's justice) to a new understanding influenced by the Hebrew understanding of God's ts-d-q/ts-d-q-h 'tsadaq(ah)' while studying and lecturing on the Psalms. In the end he shows how this affected Luther's theology of the cross.
While this book is a thorough study and an excellent academic paper, it was not an easy listen, nor a challenging listen, but at times almost an impossible listen.
I think that some written books are easier to read than to listen to. Like Dominic Crossan's "The Greatest Prayer" this book falls in that category. The main reason for this is that McGrath would explain a Latin theological term once where after he would use the Latin term and not the English equivalent. For someone who doesn't use Latin everyday or who do not understand Latin, this could easily get them lost in a maize of technical unfriendly concepts with no easy reference to refresh your mind.
I must take my hat of for Dave Giorgio's brave and mostly successful attempt to read the book. While his German was mostly good, the one or two vocal-sounds that he mispronounced made it extremely difficult to follow. It is not "Leepzig" and the word "-burg" had various different pronunciations. He used the classical Latin pronunciation and not the Ecclesiastical pronunciation when reading the Latin texts. While this has to do with personal preference, it does sound odd on the ear if you are used to scholars of the Reformation opting to use the latter. The thing that hindered me the most, however, was his spelling of the unvocalised Hebrew ts-d-q(-h) (pronounced: 'tsedeq' or 'ts'daqah').
All in all this academical treatise of Alister E McGrath is a very difficult book to read aloud. I think the audio book should have been more adjusted to a listening audience than was done. (The reading of an English translation in stead of the Latin text of one of Luther's quotations, were not enough to make the book understandable enough.)
I would caution the prospective listener before just buying the book, ensure that you have time to listen to it with full concentration. If you know a little bit of Latin, it is time to brush up on it. The content of the book is rewarding, but the effort to listen to it, might be a bit much.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
This audiobook is very hard to follow. You should buy the paper version if you want to read it because you will understand it far more by reading some parts over and over again. And there are foreign languages...especially Latin...used without translations. I love audiobooks and I love theology...but in this book, the two do not mix very well. And the final kicker...the author does not really talk about the subject of the title until the last chapter!!! All the rest is background history...lots of it.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful