Being all-good and gracious, God cannot be so envious as not to allow anything else besides him to exist. The necessitarian view thus limits God in His choice of creation and argues that God had to create in the first place out of His infinite ...
Can philosophical inquiry into divinity be authentic to its subject, God, without adapting its categories to the challenges of its scriptural inspiration, be that biblical or Quranic? This essay argues that it cannot, and that the adaptation, while it can be articulated in semantic terms, must rather amount to a transformation of standard philosophical strategies. Indeed, without such a radical transformation, “philosophy of religion” will inevitably mislead us into speaking of a “god” rather than our intended object.
It is not often that one is graced with a mini-symposium upon reception of an article for publication, and for this I am grateful to Bill Hasker, who had to wait until after his editorship to respond to my provocative piece, and equally grateful to Richard Cross, whom Bill solicited for an assist. Since my piece called for a “radical transformation of standard philosophical strategies,” and Bill addressed that perspectival issue from the outset, while Richard focused on some axial semantic (...) and epistemological contentions, I shall begin with Bill Hasker’s overall puzzlements, proceed to address some issues on which Richard Cross and I seem fated to disagree, and close by addressing the neuralgic point of created freedom, which both Hasker and I find axial to attempting to articulate the creator/creature relation. What gratifies me is the opportunity to interact with such sterling critics, and to try to ascertain whether we can advance a discussion (as Bill Hasker suggests) of issues which no sane human inquirer can ever pretend to “get right.”. (shrink)
Distinguishing God from the world -- The unknowability of God in Al-Ghazali -- Why not pursue the metaphor of artisan and view God's knowledge as practical? -- Maimonides, Aquinas and Gersonides on providence and evil -- Aquinas' debt to Maimonides -- Creation and "actualism" : the dialectical dimension of philosophical theology -- Aquinas and Scotus : contrary patterns for philosophical theology -- From analogy of "being" to the analogy of being -- The challenge to Medieval Christian philosophy : relating Creator (...) to creatures -- Freedom and creation in the Abrahamic traditions -- Al-Ghazali on created freedom -- Creation, will and knowledge in Aquinas and Duns Scotus -- God, religious pluralism, and dialogic encounter -- The Christian distinction celebrated and expanded -- Incarnation and creation : the hidden dimension -- Assessing statements of faith : Augustine and Etty Hillesum. (shrink)
The author presents a brief appreciation of the merits of the Radical Orthodoxy movement. That appreciation centers on four themes: (1) theology as sacra doctrina, (2) countering secular reason in its latest avatar of “post-modernism,” (3) Radical Orthodoxy’s offering a theology of culture, and (4) the Thomism of Radical Orthodoxy. The author concludes with some remarks concerning the reception of Radical Orthodoxy in the United States.
This paper examines how the faith/reason discussion can be expanded by means of culture and analogous language. The author argues that rationaldialogue can occur between different faith traditions, and without having to raise reason to the ideal of enlightenment objectivity or having to jettison reasonthrough some form of relativism. He argues that cultural shifts effect alterations in our very “criteria of rationality” so that our efforts to grasp others’ practices inmatters that challenge our presumed categories often reveal lacunae in our (...) very own presumptions. The author further argues that a prerequisite for dialogue isa shared interest in pursuing the truth; thus the pursuit of truth transcends any given conceptuality. Accordingly, rationality can show itself in practices that canbe followed and understood by persons operating on the basis of different grounding convictions. (shrink)
It would be difficult to find two more paradigmatic interlocutors of Christian theology and Jewish thought than Thomas Aquinas and Moses Maimonides. Yet we are privileged to have in our midst a contemporary philosopher who can be said to have mastered the thought of both and can present them in dialogue. This essay offers a glimpse into Avital Wohlman’s reading of the rich exchange (or lack of exchange) between these two medieval thinkers, assessing the implications of her presentation of their (...) interaction for the “unending discussion between Judaism and Christianity.”. (shrink)
This essay explores the ways in which specific attention (or lack thereof) to creation can affect the manner in which we execute metaphysics or ethics. It argues that failing to attend to an adequate expression of “the distinction” of creator from creatures can unwittingly lead to a misrepresentation of divinity in philosophical argument. It also offers a suggestion for understanding “post-modern” from the more ample perspective of Creek and medieval forms of thought.
As an exercise in comparative philosophical theology, our approach is more concerned with conceptual strategies than with historical although the animadversions of those versed in the history of each period will assist in reading the texts of each thinker. We need historians to make us aware of the questions to which thinkers of other ages and cultures were directing their energies, as well as the forms of thought available to them in making their response; but we philosophers hope to be (...) able to proceed without having to arm ourselves with extensive knowledge of the surrounding milieu, trusting that others more knowledgeable will correct and extend our efforts. Our contribution should then be one of offering perspectives within which further discourse may profitably proceed, suitably challenged and amended in the course of a common inquiry. Since my familiarity is with Aquinas, and since he comes chronologically first, I shall begin with him, though there is no discernible connection between the two thinkers other than their preoccupation with establishing the primacy of existing in a metaphysical discourse which had hitherto obscured its significance. (shrink)