The explanation of the relationship between God and humans, as portrayed in Islam, is often influenced by the images of God and of human beings which theologians, philosophers and mystics have in mind. The early period of Islam disclose a diversity of interpretations of this relationship. Thinkers from the tenth and eleventh century had the privilege of disclosing different facets of the relationship between humans and the divine. God and Humans in Islamic Thought discusses the view of three (...) different scholars of the time: Abd al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and Al-Ghazali. The relationships discussed in this work are: divine assistance, lu³f, according to 'Abd al-Jabbar; human love and attraction to the divine, 'ishq, according to Ibn Sina, and finally the mystical annihilation of the self in the divine unity, fana', of al-Ghazali. They introduce three approaches of looking at this relationship. In order to perceive these concepts, their perception of God and of the human nature will also be examined here. The starting-point of this research was the desire to set forth a variety of possible relationships which are all in accordance with Islamic belief, but nevertheless demonstrate diversity in understanding the relationship between the human and the divine which in turn suggests the concept of plurality within one religion. Examining these three concepts, which build firm connections between God and humans, reveals the importance of rational inquiry in medieval Islamic thought, not only because it was a source of logical arguments for Islam against its opponents but mainly because it built different bridges leading to God. God and Humans in Islamic Thought attempts to shed light on an important side of medieval rational thought in demonstrating its significance in forming the basis of an understanding of the nature of God, the nature of human beings and the construction of different bridges between them. (shrink)
The Ikhwan al-Safa (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). This compendium contains fifty-two epistles offering synoptic accounts of the classical sciences and philosophies of the age; divided into four classificatory parts, it treats themes in mathematics, (...) logic, natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, and theology, in addition to didactic fables. The Rasa'il constitutes a paradigmatic legacy in the canonization of philosophy and the sciences in mediaeval Islamic civilization, as well as having shown a permeating influence in Western culture. The present volume is the first of this definitive series consisting of the very first critical edition of the Rasa' il in its original Arabic, with a complete, fully annotated English translation. This epistle, The Case of the Animals versus Man Before the King of the Jinn (Epistle 22), prepared by Professors Lenn E. Goodman and Richard McGregor, is arguably the best known, on account of its prominent ecological fable which casts the exploited and oppressed animals pursuing a case against mankind. Perhaps yet more relevant in modern times, the Ikhwan demonstrate the arrogance of man's claim to superiority, in contrast to the animals' pious understanding of their respective roles within nature. The fable complements and expands upon the short exposition on zoology featured at the beginning of the epistle. (shrink)
Abstract Theology may well provide useful insights into the question of human autonomy?if one is willing to entertain the existence and authority of God as expressed through the scriptures. Accordingly, the Bible presents humanity as designed to exercise much autonomy. But, humanity immediately abused that freedom, resulting in the present universal captivity of the human will to sin and death. The will can now only be liberated from its self-centered bondage through the substitutionary death and resurrection of the God?Man Jesus (...) Christ, received by grace through faith (according to the Protestant soteriological framework). With the acceptance of Christ by faith, the Holy Spirit enters into the believer, causing the will to begin a process of regeneration in which the old self-centered deformation of the will is gradually liberated to a restoration of its original design?a God-centered existence characterized by freedom in pursuing a life of genuine love and righteousness. Within this general theologicalanthropology, Christians often disagree about the relative level of self-determination at the most crucial point?the decision of faith. Philipp Melanchthon (1497?1560) provides an excellent snapshot of this theological debate, due to the evolutionary character of his own teachings on the subject. In 1519, he taught that human beings had no freedom in the choice of faith. At his death in 1560, he taught that human beings did have (at least some) self-determination in this decision. A survey of this doctrinal transformation allows for an in-depth exploration of human autonomy from a theological perspective. (shrink)
In Reforming TheologicalAnthropology, F. LeRon Shults draws from work on relationality in other disciplines to suggest ways in which theologicalanthropology might profitably be reformulated. While the task is worthwhile, the method promising and the results suggestive, much fine-tuning remains to be done.Paul Lewis review is followed by a brief response from F. LeRon Shults.
INTRODUCTION: Philosophy is the unique science which considers all other sciences in systematically unity (Kant). The classical anthropology (Platon, Aristoteles, Descartes, Hume, Kant, etc.) considers the human and his "spheres" (biological, psychological, logical, philosophical, theological) and his interdependence with nature and society. A philosophical theology investigates spiritual phenomena, described by religions and parapsychology in context of ethics, epistemology (incl. metaphysics), aesthetics. A theologicalanthropology should consider these phenomena multidimensional in context of a holisticscience, i.e. physico- (Kant), (...) bio- (Lüke), psycho-, logico-, philosophical theology, etc. [Lit.: Neu, Michailov: Integralanthropology. In: Proc. 21st World Congr. Philos. Istanbul. Press FISP 280‐281, 2003; Theol. Anthrop. In: Book: New Pathways for Eur. Bioethics. Ed.: Eur. Ass. Med. Ethics, Leuven, p. 53/60, 2006; Med. Ethics, 21st Ann. Conf. EACME (Ed.) Zürich, p. 53, 2007]. CONCEPTION: Regrettably philosophical theology is reduced to nearly philosophical and theological ethics: Both ethics in the future should realize a common scientific integrated ethics based on philosophy, theology, and psychology incl. of great cultures - Brahmanism, Buddhism, Christianism-Mosaism, Confucianism, and Mohammedanism. The present moral philosophy is very pluralistic: Many views concerningnormative and metaethics (deontology, axiology), also relativism, absolutism (incl. utilitarism), noncognitivism are present. A similar situation exists in moral theology: Not only in context of philosophy (consequentialism, justice, protectionism), but more - of theology are existent contradictionary differences concerning ethics in the great religions (related to God, Spirit/Soul, reincarnation, etc.). A future philosophical theology needs a renewal of its scientific theoretical andexperimental fundamentals (controlled observations: criterion for intersubjectivity) concerning theologicalanthropology incl. not only occidental epistemology (metaphysics, scientific theory, etc.), but also oriental - esp. Brahmanistic and Buddhist (self realization by Yoga, Tibetan, Zen Buddhism) and scientific evaluation of spiritual phenomena by biophysics, physiology, psychology and formal (Aristoteles, Gautama), real, transcendental (Kant), metaphysical (Hegel) normal logic. Areconsideration of application of philosophy of arts, esp. aesthetics in philosophical theology is also necessary (incl. inspirations in music/Bach, Beethoven, Händel, painting/Leonardo da Vinci, sculpture/Michelangelo). CONCLUSION: Scientific and political support for a renovation of theologicalanthropology and philosophical theology could help essentially for a realization of UNO-Agenda 21 for better total (incl. spiritual) health and peaceful world. (shrink)
Abu Hamid al Ghazali, one of the most famous intellectuals in the history of Islam, developed a definition of Unbelief (kufr) to serve as the basis for determining who, in theological terms, should be considered a Muslim and who should not. Jackson's annotated translation is preceded by an introduction that reconstructs the historical and theoretical context of the Faysal and discusses its relevance for contemporary thought and practice.
The Human Genome Initiative represents an ambitious attempt to map the genetic structure of the human species (an estimated 100,00 genes). The project has generated a vast amount of theological and ethical literature, none of which discusses the impact of the project on understandings of embodiment. This gap is surprising since Michael Polanyi and, more recently, feminist thinkers have argued that embodiment is central to human existence. I argue that theologians and scientist can teach one another some important lessons (...) about embodiment by exploring some of the literature produced by the project and the anthropologies of Karl Rahner, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Stanley Hauerwas and James McClendon. (shrink)
Mainstream currents within Christianity havelong insisted that humans, among all creatures, areneither fully identified with their physical bodiesnor fully at home on earth. This essay outlines theparticular characteristics of Christian notions ofhuman nature and the implications of this separationfor environmental ethics. It then examines recentefforts to correct some damaging aspects oftraditional Christian understandings of humanity''splace in nature, especially the notions of physicalembodiment and human embeddedment in earth. Theprimary goal of the essay is not to offer acomprehensive evaluation of Christian thinking (...) aboutnature but rather to identify theological anthropologyas a crucial dimension of, and problem for, Christianenvironmental ethics. (shrink)
Russian Orthodoxy during the twentieth century presented a rich and varied body of thought about the nature of humanity and the human condition. This article surveys the major thinkers within this tradition, beginning with its background in the Slavophile movement and culminating in the work of more recent Orthodox thinkers such as Sergei Bulgakov, Georges Florovsky, Vladimir Lossky, and Alexander Schmemann.
The 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis sponsored both an International Congress of Arts and Sciences aimed at unity of knowledge and an anthropology exhibit of diverse peoples. Jointly these represented a quest for unifying knowledge in a diverse world that was fractured by isolated specializations and segregated peoples. In historical perspective, the Congress's quest for knowledge is overshadowed by Ota Benga who was part of the anthropology exhibit. The 1904 World's Fair can be viewed as a Euro-American (...) ritual, a global pilgrimage, which sought to celebrate the advances and resolve the challenges of modernity and human diversity. Three years later Afropentecostalism dealt with these same issues with different methods and rituals. This ritual system became the most culturally diverse and fastest growing religious movement of the twentieth century. I suggest that the anthropological method of Frank Hamilton Cushing, the postcritical epistemology of Michael Polanyi, and the Afropente-costal ritual movement initiated by William J. Seymour are all attempts to develop a postmodern epistemology that is simultaneously constructive, focused on discerning reality, and broad enough to allow for human consciousness and diverse human communities. I explore this confluence of scientific and participatory epistemology through six theses. (shrink)
Approaching modern psychology -- Science and faith: learning from the past -- Neuropsychology: linking mind and brain -- Neuropsychology and spiritual experience -- Linking the brain and behavior -- Human nature: biblical and psychological portraits -- Human nature and animal nature: are they different? -- Personology and psychotherapy: confronting the challenges -- Human needs: psychological and theological perspectives -- Consciousness now: a contemporary issue -- Explaining consciousness now: a contemporary issue -- Determinism, freedom, and responsibility -- The future of (...) science and faith: beyond perspectivalism? (shrink)
In this study of Robert Boyle's epistemology, Jan W. Wojcik reveals the theological context within which Boyle developed his views on reason's limits. After arguing that a correct interpretation of his views on 'things above reason' depends upon reading his works in the context of theological controversies in seventeenth-century England, Professor Wojcik details exactly how Boyle's three specific categories of things which transcend reason - the incomprehensible, the inexplicable, and the unsociable - affected his conception of what a (...) natural philosopher could hope to know. Also covered in detail is Boyle's belief that God had deliberately limited the human intellect in order to reserve a full knowledge of both theology and natural philosophy for the afterlife. (shrink)
The connection between ethics and theological vision has become increasingly important for ethics as we better appreciate how the moral agent is embedded in a framework that affectively and intellectually shapes her moral reasoning. Moral reasoning is always reasoning within (that is, within a moral framework, a religious worldview, and/or a set of ideological commitments). A similar framing occurs in literature, which I refer to as its “horizon.” A literary text's horizon comprises the theological and metaphysical commitments that (...) are implied by the text and that the reader relies on to make sense of it. I suggest that there is a parallel between how moral frameworks and literary horizons operate in that both shape moral judgment. I argue that in using literature as a resource for ethics, the same contemporary currents that have led us to appreciate the embeddedness of moral reasoning should also encourage us to give more careful attention to the theological or metaphysical vision implied by a text. Such a “theo-ethical” reading of literature provides a richer understanding of particular moral goods and the interplay between those goods and ethical themes like agency, hope, and redemption. I substantiate this claim with a reading of William Blake's Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion. (shrink)
Islam, one of the worlds great faiths, was born as a result of the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (c. 570-632) in Arabia. A proper understanding of the Islamic present depends on an accurate knowledge of the way in which Islamic thought developed from medieval times onwards. For instance, Islam evolved a sophisticated theology and set of philosophical systems of its own, which owed something to the impact of Greek thought, but became uniquely Islamic because (...) of the vital presence within that faith of the Quran. Furthermore, Islam soon came into contact with Greek philosophy and science, and a translation movement into Arabic began. The roles of Kason and Revelation, and the primacy that was to be given to one or the other, came to the fore. Problems which had also vexed Christianity such as anthropomorphism, free will and predestination provided intellectual stimulation for Islamic thinkers, while the mystical impulse, articulated in Islamic Sufism, imbued the writings of several of the theologians and philosophers considered in these volumes. Taken together, all of these issues constitute a golden period of Islamic debate and intellectual inquiry, and the articles collected in this fascinating set reflect that Islamic dynamic. (shrink)
Are humans composed of a body and a nonmaterial mind or soul, or are we purely physical beings? Opinion is sharply divided over this issue. In this clear and concise book, Nancey Murphy argues for a physicalist account, but one that does not diminish traditional views of humans as rational, moral, and capable of relating to God. This position is motivated not only by developments in science and philosophy, but also by biblical studies and Christian theology. The reader is invited (...) to appreciate the ways in which organisms are more than the sum of their parts. That higher human capacities such as morality, free will, and religious awareness emerge from our neurobiological complexity and develop through our relation to others, to our cultural inheritance, and, most importantly, to God. Murphy addresses the questions of human uniqueness, religious experience, and personal identity before and after bodily resurrection. (shrink)
The second edition of this exceptional anthology provides an introduction to a wide variety of views on human nature. Drawing from diverse cultures over three millennia, Leslie Stevenson has chosen selections ranging from ancient religious texts to contemporary theories based on evolutionary science. An ideal companion to the editor's recent book, Ten Theories of Human Nature, 3/e (OUP, 1998), this interdisciplinary reader can also be used independently. The Study of Human Nature, 2/e offers substantial selections illustrating the ten perspectives discussed (...) in Ten Theories of Human Nature, 3/e--The Bible, Hinduism, Confucianism, Plato, Kant, Marx, Freud, Sartre, B.F. Skinner's behaviorism, and Konrad Lorenz's ethological diagnosis of human aggression. The Islamic tradition is represented by a selection from the 20th-century Iranian philosopher Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari. The 17th- and 18th-century philosophers Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant are also represented. Selections from Rousseau, J.S. Mill, and Nancy Holmstrom discuss alleged differences between women and men, and a paper by Henry Bracken deals with racial issues. Examples from E.O. Wilson's sociobiology and his critics are also included, together with material from Chomsky and from recent evolutionary psychology. This new edition includes more substantial selections from the Hindu, Confucian, and Christian traditions and provides more accessible extracts from Marx, Sartre, and Lorenz. An excellent reader for introductory courses in philosophy, religious studies, human nature, and intellectual history, The Study of Human Nature, 2/e, is also an essential resource for anyone interested in ancient, modern, and contemporary perspectives on human nature. (shrink)
This is a major new study of Thomas Aquinas, the most influential philosopher of the Middle Ages. The book offers a clear and accessible guide to the central project of Aquinas' philosophy: the understanding of human nature. Robert Pasnau sets the philosophy in the context of ancient and modern thought, and argues for some groundbreaking proposals for understanding some of the most difficult areas of Aquinas' thought: the relationship of soul to body, the workings of sense and intellect, the will (...) and the passions, and personal identity. Structured around a close reading of the treatise on human nature from the Summa theologiae and deeply informed by a wide knowledge of the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy, this study will offer specialists a series of novel and provocative interpretations, while providing students with a reference commentary on one of Aquinas' core texts. (shrink)
A part of the “return to religion” now evident in European philosophy, this book represents the culmination of the career of a leading phenomenological thinker whose earlier works trace a trajectory from Marx through a genealogy of psychoanalysis that interprets Descartes’s “I think, I am” as “I feel myself thinking, I am.” In this book, Henry does not ask whether Christianity is “true” or “false.” Rather, what is in question here is what Christianity considers as truth, what kind of truth (...) it offers to people, what it endeavors to communicate to them, not as a theoretical and indifferent truth, but as the essential truth that by some mysterious affinity is suitable for them, to the point that it alone is capable of ensuring them salvation. In the process, Henry inevitably argues against the concept of truth that dominates modern thought and determines, in its multiple implications, the world in which we live. Henry argues that Christ undoes “the truth of the world,” that He is an access to the infinity of self-love, to a radical subjectivity that admits no outside, to the immanence of affective life found beyond the despair fatally attached to all objectifying thought. The Kingdom of God accomplishes itself in the here and now through the love of Christ in what Henry calls “the auto-affection of Life.” In this condition, he argues, all problems of lack, ambivalence, and false projection are resolved. (shrink)
Signs of mankind's solidarity, by J. R. Nelson.--Mankind, Israel and the nations in the Hebraic heritage, by M. Greenberg.--Christian insights from biblical sources, by C. Maurer.--Muhammad and all men, by D. Rahbar.--The impact of New World discovery upon European thought of man, by E. J. Burrus.--The effects of colonialism upon the Asian understanding of man, by J. G. Arapura.--Religious pluralism and the quest for human community, by S. J. Samartha.--From Confucian gentleman to the new Chinese 'political' man, by D. A. (...) Robinson.--The scientific revolution and the unity of man, by B. Towers.--Language and communication, by E. A. Nida.--Man and the son of man, by J. Moltmann.--The potentiality of conciliarity: communion, conscience, council, by W. B. Blakemore.--Oneness must mean wholeness, by J. R. Nelson. (shrink)
Desire (shahwa) and spiritedness (ghaḍab) vs. conatus -- Veneration vs. equality -- Forms vs. laws of nature -- Freedom vs. determinism -- Teleology vs. imagined ideal -- Prudence vs. imagination -- Epilogue -- Appendix: Richard Kennington's Spinoza and esotericism in Spinoza's thought.
In an inspirational act of faith and hope, nearly one hundred contributors--social activists, thinkers, artists and spiritual leaders--reflect with poignant candor on our shared human condition and attempt to define a core set of human values in our rapidly changing socity. Contributors include: * The Dalai Lama * Wilma Mankiller * Oscar Arias * Jimmy Carter * Cornel West * Jack Miles * Mother Teresa * Nancy Willard * Elie Wiesel * James Earl Jones * Joan Chittister * Mary Evelyn (...) Tucker * Vaclav Havel * Archbishop Desmund Tutu What Does It Mean To Be Human? is a vital meditation on the endless possibilities of our humanity. (shrink)
Is morality too difficult for human beings? Kant said that it was, except with God's assistance. Contemporary moral philosophers have usually discussed the question without reference to Christian doctrine, and have either diminished the moral demand, exaggerated human moral capacity, or tried to find a substitute in nature for God's assistance. This book looks at these philosophers--from Kant and Kierkegaard to Swinburne, Russell, and R.M. Hare--and the alternative in Christianity.
Lecture 1. Hinduism in the world and the world of Hinduism -- Lecture 2. The early cultures of India -- Lecture 3. The world of the Veda -- Lecture 4. From the Vedic tradition to classical Hinduism -- Lecture 5. Caste -- Lecture 6. Men, women, and the stages of life -- Lecture 7. The way of action -- Lecture 8. The way of wisdom -- Lecture 9. Seeing God -- Lecture 10. The way of devotion -- Lecture 11. The (...) goddess and her devotees -- Lecture 12. Hinduism in the modern period. (shrink)