Author: Bretzke, James T
Date published: June 1, 2012
HISTORIA DE LA TEOLOGÍA. TOMO II: LA MORAL EN EL CRISTIANISMO ANTIGUO (SS. I-VIII); TOMO III: MORAL Y ESPERITUALIDAD EN LA CHRISTIANDAD MEDIEVAL (SS. VIII-XXIV). COLECCIÓN MORAL Y ETICA TEOLÓGICA. By Marciano Vidal, C.Ss.R. Madrid: El Perpetuo Socorro, 2010-2011. Pp. 832 + 1016. Vol. 2: euro38.50; vol. 3: euro39.80.
As a young "Book of the Month Club" member I was frankly captivated by the promise of Will and Ariel Durant's eleven-volume Story of Civilization for an encyclopedic capture of the whole of history. While the Durants were unable to finish their project, Vidal has embarked on a similar labor in a projected six volumes covering the entire span of moral theology from its biblical and Hellenistic roots through the 20th century and beyond. Though numbered II and IH, the current volumes are the first to be published. V. notes quite correctly that there is a definite lacuna in a complete historical treatment of the scope of moral theology, and he endeavors here to present a systematic, integral vision in terms of both methodology and content. Indeed this is a daunting challenge, and V. has amassed an astonishing amount of material, which he presents in the form of a clear outline, followed by relatively brief analytical remarks.
This work, therefore, will not replace existing historical treatments of moral theology such as those authored by John Mahoney or Louis Vereecke, and while the general reader may not need to have the complete list, for example, of all 27 propositions of Gregory VII's Dictatus papae (1075), scholars will be grateful to have such detail compiled in one collection, which will certainly augment any good library's reference collection. No date is indicated for the other volumes in this series, but V. is a prolific writer, and these first volumes suggest that he is likely to complete his task.
JAMES T. BRETZKE, SJ.
School of Theology and Ministry