The Absolute and the Atonement [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 26 (2):368-369 (1972)

This book continues the Muirhead Library of Philosophy series. It is a sequel to Trethowan’s own Absolute Value, to which frequent reference is made by the author. Together with that work, it comprises the lectures the author delivered in the Department of Religion of Brown University in 1969. It is chiefly a work of theological reflection: Trethowan is seeking new conceptual models for the Christian experience of God. In this vein, he devotes the bulk of the book to explorations of the nature of faith and of the At-onement effected in the experience of God by the Christian mystics. An interesting treatment of the mystical experience of the Absolute concludes the book. This is not to suggest that Trethowan’s work will not be of interest to a general philosophical audience as well. The author begins his investigations with a discussion of contemporary positions which are opposed to metaphysical and theistic claims; within this context, Trethowan’s suggests some useful criticisms of Flew’s position. Searching for an experience of the Absolute that can serve to ground theistic claims, Trethowan examines the formulations of Coreth and Marcel; in the author’s estimate each yields an important emphasis, although some criticism must be directed to their respective accounts. The author’s own solution surfaces in the course of his treatment of faith. Its inspiration is largely Blondel’s "logic of action" : man’s experience of his own range of action leads him to an "option" in favor of the Absolute, an option which includes assent to the Christian experience of the Absolute. Trethowan also indicates a theory of signs, in which signs mediate but also are dynamically directed toward an experienced Absolute. The author’s treatment of Blondel has the advantage of providing the reader with lengthy citations from Blondel in translation.—W. L. P.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1972262182
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