Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography.

Author:Rippentrop, Jan
Position:Book review

Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography. Edited by Pete Ward. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012. ISBN: 978-08028-6726-1. viii and 254 pages. Paper. $36.93.

In this edited volume, twelve scholars offer diverse perspectives on ecclesiology and ethnography as methods for theology. These distinct voices are not edited into uniformity, but stand in contrast, conflict, and lively dialogue with one another. The layout of this book enacts its purpose: the first section proposes, in four differing voices, that ecclesiology needs qualitative research practices. Then the book opens to a wider community, and eight scholars, employing various types and degrees of empirical research, contribute to the conversation on ecclesiology and ethnography.

However, the purpose of the book is not finished on the last page; instead, the book depends on its readers becoming that ever-widening community of conversation partners. Since the authors claim that, "ecclesiology arises from a theological situatedness in the church," (Ward, 3) there is an insistence that you--the people of the church--have privileged access to ecclesiology and theology. Therefore, it is the lay people, the pastors, and the teachers of this church who are ideally positioned...

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