Review of Metaphysics 37 (3):624-626 (1984)

Authors
Robert Sokolowski
Catholic University of America
Abstract
Albrecht Dihle is professor of classics at Heidelberg. This book is a development of the Sather Classical Lectures given at Berkeley in 1974. It is an important and informative work, rich in detail, clear in argument, and filled with erudition. Dihle begins by contrasting the Hellenistic philosophical understanding of nature with the Jewish religious understanding of the cosmos. The pagan philosophers saw nature and the world as an ordered whole and sought to conform their minds and their lives to this rational pattern. Galen and other writers after him, however, note that the Jewish scriptures consider the world and nature not as something ultimate but as issuing, in their being and structure, from the arbitrary intention of the creator. After Galen, Celsus wrote to refute the Jewish and also the Christian cosmology. The pagans considered reason as ultimate in the cosmos, while the biblical tradition, it is said, considered will or choice as the origin of the cosmos. According to the pagan understanding, man could become conformed to nature through an intellectual activity, while according to the biblical tradition he could be saved by responding to a divine promise and command, by an act of obedience. In both the pagan and the biblical traditions, cosmology, anthropology and ethics were interrelated. The initial form of the concept of the will arose in the biblical tradition.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph198437312
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