Christ in Our Midst: Incarnation, Church and Discipleship in the Theology of Pilgrim Marpeck, by Neal Blough
2007. 275 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1894710770
"This fine book is a re-working of the French publication, Christologie anabaptiste. Pilgram Marpeck et l ’humanité du Christ (Geneva, 1984) of Blough’s dissertation. The author contributes to a ‘renaissance’ of research on the Anabaptist leader Marpeck (c. 1495-1556) identified by Marc Lienhard, Dean of the Protestant Faculty at Strasbourg, as the most 'interesting Anabaptist author of the sixteenth century' (Christologie, Preface). As a layman, trained as an engineer, Marpeck served in civil office and, after his expulsion from the Tirol as an Anabaptist leader, sought employment in public works projects for much of his adult life. He was, then, an unusual progenitor of the Hutterite and Mennonite traditions that advocated a strict separation from the civil communities around them. The bulk of Marpeck’s works were either discovered or identified as his in the twentieth century. For these and other reasons, the last thirty years have seen a spate of interest in his life and work. Blough, a leading contributor to that work, has substantially revised four previous chapters of the earlier book and introduces three new ones." - Church History and Religious Culture
"... Blough goes beyond intellectual history for a convincing analysis of the social movements and political currents – including the broad impulse toward confessionalization – that shaped Marpeck's arguments." - Mennonite Quarterly Review
"For over three decades Neal and Janie Blough have served the Mennonite church in Europe. Neal has always affirmed the theological and missionary task of the church. His own scholarship, which has focused on the theology of the sixteenth-century Anabaptist, Pilgram Marpeck, has been dedicated to that service. This book brings together the fruits of Neal Blough’s life long academic research and experience teaching seminarians. Blough has read Marpeck—all of him—with great care. He invites us to an encounter with Marpeck. As theologian and historian Blough does not hide his differences from past interpreters, but rather builds on their work. Blough practices the gift of inviting us to see Marpeck in his own social and intellectual context, but also to see ourselves in the complexity of the world in which we live. Above all he raises the question for us whether the strong blend of humanity and deity of Christ seen in Marpeck’s theology may be a beacon for us in our lives—a welcome gift for people ready to give serious thought to the shape of discipleship today." — William Klassen
Neal Blough is a doctor of theology (Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Strasbourg), director of the Mennonite Center of Paris (CMP), and professor emeritus of church history at the FLTE in Vaux-sur-Seine.