This is a new, i.e., corrected and updated, edition of a book first published in 1979. It has also been recast in inclusive language. As a systematic treatment of the theology of grace, it concentrates on what may be termed the key question in this branch of theology, the person of Jesus as the arena where the full drama of the interaction of God and humanity is played out. The book breaks new ground in that it attacks the long-standing dichotomy between the Incarnation and grace, and offers a new principle of synthesization. This is that the Holy Spirit is Spirit of Sonship primarily for Jesus himself, so that it is the creative outpouring of the Spirit on him by the Father that brings about the Incarnation. The Spirit is seen as the Spirit of filiation for others only in function of his role in relation to Jesus. A more profound interpretation of the patristic expression “sons [and daughters] in the Son” emerges from this study. While the book is situated in the Catholic tradition, its ecumenical implications are manifold.
David Coffey, now retired, held the William J. Kelly, S.J., Chair in Catholic Theology at Marquette University, having previously been Principal of the Catholic Institute of Sydney. He has published widely on the Trinity, Christology, and grace. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney.