Roanoke College

Roanoke College religion professor authors new book

  • Roanoke College religion professor authors new book

  • 04/01/10
  • SALEM, Va. - Dr. Gerald McDermott, the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College, recently released his tenth book. The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide explores the lives and teachings of eleven of Christianity's central theologians.

    "These are the eleven I consider to have had the most influence on the history of Christian thought," McDermott says. "I wrote this book because of my own debt to the 'Great Tradition' of theology and because of the hunger I have seen in churches for deeper knowledge of the Christian tradition." McDermott, who is an ordained Anglican priest and a teaching pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church in Roanoke, says he is often asked for help by congregants who do not have the time or inclination to tackle weighty academic textbooks.

    The Great Theologians opens with a discussion of Origen, who developed the first systematic Christian theology, and also highlights such figures as Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and Karl Barth. Each chapter contains a brief biographical sketch, an overview of the subject's main theological themes and a focused discussion of the most distinctive theme. Chapters also include a short excerpt from the theologian's work, a bibliography of related titles and small-group discussion questions for those who use the book in that context.

    A summer research award from the College enabled McDermott to write the book the summer before last. "Roanoke College has been invaluable," he says. "My colleagues' intellectual stimulation, dialogue and encouragement have been critical to my production of these efforts, and the College has helped support me financially." He also received a grant from the Baylor Institute for Studies in Religion, where he is a non-resident scholar. The Baylor grant was awarded based on McDermott's prominent scholarly record.

    A prolific author, McDermott has several other projects underway. Later this year, Oxford University Press will release The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology, a 500-page compilation edited by McDermott. He is co-authoring Jesus and the Religions and, during this sabbatical year, is co-authoring the first-ever comprehensive survey of the theology of Jonathan Edwards, the American theologian. Both of the latter books will be published by Oxford University Press.

    The Great Theologians was released by InterVarsity Press.

    Roanoke College, an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a classic, undergraduate setting. Roanoke prepares students for their futures through its commitment to providing a true classic college experience. Roanoke is one of just 280 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast."

    For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.

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