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Whose History? Historical Method and Ecclesiology in Ecumenical Context

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This article explores the concealed relationship of changing historical formulations of Christian doctrine to the statements of doctrine contained in ecumenical dialogue reports, and argues for a form of church history that would be ecumenically and theologically useful. Through a series of specific examples, it points to the hidden history of the ecclesiological contexts in which doctrine is situated. Noting limitations in the concept of ‘paradigm shift’, as well as in theories of doctrinal development, it argues that church history needs to attend to three levels of historical argumentation, covering doctrines, institutions, and social context, and proposes a historical methodology cognizant of all three, and above all of the links between all three.


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