The problem of evil -- Aquinas, philosophy, and theology -- What there is -- Goodness and badness -- God the creator -- God's perfection and goodness -- The creator and evil -- Providence and grace -- The trinity and Christ -- Aquinas on god and evil.
Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest Western philosphers and one of the greatest theologians of the Christian church. In this book we at last have a modern, comprehensive presentation of the total thought of Aquinas. Books on Aquinas invariably deal with either his philosophy or his theology. But Aquinas himself made no arbitrary division between his philosophical and his theological thought, and this book allows readers to see him as a whole. It introduces the full range of Aquinas' thinking; (...) and it relates his thinking to writers both earlier and later than Aquinas himself. (shrink)
What does belief in God amount to? Can we reasonably believe in God's existence without argument or evidence? Can God's existence be proved? Can we believe in miracles? Is there life after death?In this book, Brian Davies provides a critical examination of some fundamental questions posed by religious belief. Completely rewritten in order to cover the latest developments in the field, the new edition of this highly successful textbook will once again prove the ideal introduction for all students of the (...) philosophy of religion. The book is highly accessible and covers all the key elements of a course in the philosophy of religion. It is designed to complement Brian Davies' Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology, although the book can also be used as a stand-alone introduction. (shrink)
The Summa Contra Gentiles, one of Aquinas's best known works after the Summa Theologiae, is a philosophical and theological synthesis that examines what can be known of God both by reason and by divine revelation. A detailed expository account of and commentary on this famous work, Davies's book aims to help readers think about the value of the Summa Contra Gentiles for themselves, relating the contents and teachings found in the SCG to those of other works and other thinkers both (...) theological and philosophical. Following a scholarly account of Aquinas's life and his likely intentions in writing the SCG, the volume works systematically through all four books of the text. (shrink)
This paper notes and discusses some key arguments in Part One of The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God by D. Z. Phillips. With an eye on some texts of Thomas Aquinas, I reject Phillips's view that belief in divine omnipotence leads to absurd claims concerning God, but I defend his rejection of anthropomorphism when it comes to talk of God, and, with qualifications, I defend and elaborate on his suggestion that God is not a moral agent. I (...) also commend his critique of certain well-known theodicies (e.g. that provided by Richard Swinburne), although I challenge his appeal to what he calls “the grammar of God.”. (shrink)
Although utterly convinced of the truth of Christianity, Anselm of Canterbury struggled to make sense of his religion. He considered the doctrines of faith an invitation to question, to think, and to learn; and he devoted his life to confronting and understanding the most elusive aspects of Christianity. His writings on matters such as free will, the nature of truth, and the existence of God make Anselm one of the greatest theologians and philosphers in history, and this translation provides readers (...) with their first opportunity to read his most important works within a single volume. (shrink)
Is it possible to be both a philosopher and a religious believer? Is philosophy a friend or foe to religious belief? Does talk of God make sense? Does God exist? What is God? Ideal for anyone pondering these and similar questions, Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology provides a comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible overview of the subject. Carefully edited by Brian Davies, it contains a wide-ranging selection of 65 of the best classical and contemporary writings on the philosophy of (...) religion, together with substantial commentary, introductory material, discussion questions, and detailed guides to further reading. The editorial material sets the selections in context and guides students through the readings. Part I of the book examines the relation between philosophy and religion; Parts II-IV consider the existence and nature of God; Part V addresses the "problem of evil" that has puzzled thinkers for centuries; and Parts VI and VII are devoted to the relationship between morality and religion and to the question of life after death. An extensive treatment of the major issues that Western philosophers have faced in thinking about religion, Philosophy of Religion is an exceptional text. No other book on the market offers this combination of an introductory guide along with such a substantial anthology of readings. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest of the medieval philosophers. His Summa Theologiae is his most important contribution to Christian theology, and one of the main sources for his philosophy. This volume offers most of the Summa's first 26 questions, including all of those on the existence and nature of God. Based on the 1960 Blackfriars translation, this version has been extensively revised by Brian Davies and also includes an introduction by Brian Leftow which places the questions in their (...) philosophical and historical context. The result is an accessible and up-to-date edition of Aquinas' thoughts on the nature and existence of God, both of which have continuing relevance for the philosophy of religion and Christian theology. (shrink)
Classical thinkers such as St Anselm of Canterbury and St Thomas Aquinas insist that God is beyond reason because he is incomprehensible. More recent authors, including Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth and Colin Gunton have argued that God is beyond reason since natural theology is an inherently suspect notion. In this article, I first note ways in which all the authors just mentioned may be thought of as agreeing with each other. I then proceed to argue against the critique of natural (...) theology coming from Kierkegaard, Barth and Gunton. My conclusion is that, in one sense, it may be premature to conclude that God is beyond reason. (shrink)
The work of Thomas Aquinas has always enjoyed a privileged position as a pillar of Catholic theology, but for centuries his standing among western philosophers was less sure. Today, Aquinas's work is recognized as a cornerstone of the western philosophical tradition. This book offers a full-scale introduction to Aquinas's philosophy. Brian Davies has collected in one volume the best recent essays on Aquinas by some of the world's foremost scholars of medieval philosophy. Taken together, they illuminate the entire spectrum of (...) Aquinas's thought: philosophy of nature, logic, metaphysics, natural theology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, and ethics. The essays are philosophically solid, readable, informative, critical, and evaluative of the texts of Aquinas. Davies frames the essays with a detailed introduction that provides an account of Aquinas's life and works, as well as of his major philosophical conclusions. (shrink)
This essay aims to explain what Aquinas does and does not mean when using the word ‘God’. It also tries to explain why Aquinas thinks it reasonable to conclude that God exists and how Aquinas can be compared and contrasted with certain thinkers both agreeing and disagreeing with this conclusion. The essay places emphasis on Aquinas’s notion of esse and on the fact that he consistently asserts that we do not know what God is.
`For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that unless I believe, I shall not understand.' Does God exist? Can we know anything about God's nature? Have we any reason to think that the Christian religion is true? What is truth, anyway? Do human beings have freedom of choice? Can they have such freedom in a world created by God? These questions, and others, (...) were ones which Anselm of Canterbury took very seriously. He was utterly convinced of the truth of the Christian religion, but he was also determined to try to make sense of his Christian faith. Recognizing that the Christian God is incomprehensible, he also believed that Christianity is not simply something to be swallowed with mouth open and eyes shut. For Anselm, the doctrines of Christianity are an invitation to question, to think, and to learn. Anselm is studied today because his rigour of thought and clarity of writing place him among the greatest of theologians and philosophers. This translation provides readers with their first opportunity to read all of his most important works within the covers of a single volume. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. (shrink)
It is often said that if God exists, he is strongly comparable to what is not divine. In particular, it has been claimed that for God to exist is for a person to exist. In what follows I show how, esteemed theologian though he is commonly taken to be, Thomas Aquinas adopts a strongly different line of thinking according to which we seriously do not know what God is. In doing so, I draw attention to his use of nominal definitions (...) in his arguments for ‘God exists’. I also highlight his teachings that God is simple and that words used to talk about God in subject-predicate sentences always ‘signify imperfectly’. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas was first and foremost a Christian theologian. Yet he was also one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages. Drawing on classical authors, and incorporating ideas from Jewish and Arab sources, he came to offer a rounded and lasting account of the origin of the universe and of the things to be found within it, especially human beings.