Fourteen essays by former pupils of Calhoun, including G. A. Lindbeck, W. A. Christian, N. C. Nielsen, Jr., R. P. Ramsey, and A. C. Outler. The depth of scholarship that these former students have achieved as well as the generally high calibre of all the essays are ample evidence of Calhoun's pedagogical prowess. Most of the contributions are of theological import, and most are historically oriented as the title of the book suggests. Lindbeck's essay, however, "The A Priori in (...) St. Thomas' Theory of Knowledge," has direct philosophical relevance for those concerned over the "Transcendental" interpretation of Thomas' epistemology and metaphysics. Nothing is advanced over the arguments of Maréchal, Lonergan, and Rahner in favor of this interpretation, but this additional support in a new context lends strength to the thesis.—E. A. R. (shrink)
The authors have attempted a sustained exploration of the cluster of problems involved in the relationship between Christian faith and intellectual integrity. They alternate brief essays, each picking up where the other left off. The latter sections tend to become somewhat technical for a book intended for use by undergraduate students, but there is some fruitful philosophical encounter which could make this book useful in courses in the philosophy of religion.--R. J. W.
A thorough study of Lewis' thought and writings, which combines literary criticism with theological exposition. Kilby shows the basic unity of thought which underlies Lewis' great variety of literary forms. His exposition of Lewis' version of classical Christian orthodoxy is careful and balanced.—R. J. W.
The book is designed as an introductory text in the history of pre-Christian religion. The religions are examined in their socio-historical context and are treated as religions in the broad sense in which they provided total frameworks of meaning for a particular culture. The religions treated are the standard ones: Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Hebraic, and Greek. Loew's technique is to examine in detail the literature of each culture and to reconstruct from it the sacred space in which the people (...) of that culture must have moved. His categories of myth, sacred history, and philosophy are meant to be more or less adequate characterizations of the shape of the expression of the sacred in the Sumero-Babylonian and Egyptian, Hebraic, and Greek cultures respectively. Of course there is overlap, e.g., the obviously mythic roots of Greek literature. Loew is best on the Sumero-Babylonian and Egyptian religions. When he comes to the Hebraic religions he oversimplifies the picture to a considerable degree, as is the case also with his treatment of the Greeks. But this is perhaps a justifiable procedure in an introductory text. Each chapter concludes with a brief but helpfully annotated bibliography.--E. A. R. (shrink)
With a great deal of fanfare and coverage by the popular press, an era of dialogue between Communism and Christianity has been initiated. Symposia, books and discussions have been encouraged on Marxist-Christian dialogue throughout the Western world. Roger Garaudy, onetime Stalinist and a leading member of the French Communist party, has become the apostle for the new Communist desire for dialogue, which draws heavily on Marx's secular humanism. While serious scholars have struggled to assess and incorporate the rediscovery of (...) the early Marx in a balanced understanding of Marx's thought, Garaudy exaggerates and sentimentalizes the fashionable humanism of Marx. The result reads more like a personal testament than a judicious assessment and presentation of Marxism.—R. J. B. (shrink)
The interest of this Georgian ancestor of the Barlaam and Josophat romance lies in the relative nearness of the Christian version in time and in its ethical attitudes to the probable Buddhist Sanskrit original.--R. P.
This audio recording contains a lecture led by Dr. William Christian, Dr. Shirley C. Guthrie, and Dr. Stanley R. Hopper on November 20, 1965 as a part of the America and the Future of Theology Lecture Series. Dr. William Christian discusses the possibility of interaction between metaphysics and theology, the concept of God in Alfred North Whitehead’s metaphysics, the relation of Whitehead’s metaphysics to Platonism, and the relation of Whitehead’s metaphysics to Christian theology. Dr. Guthrie responds to (...) Dr. Christian by accepting the interaction of metaphysics and theology as a possible subject and how metaphysics is necessary to theology, but only as an instrument not a dictator. Dr. Stanley responds to Dr. Christian by posing two questions: Can the relationship between theology and philosophy or theology and metaphysics be adequately represented when the concept of God has a strong family resemblance according to Whitehead, and What is the relationship between metaphysics and theology? Lastly, Dr. Christian responds to both Dr. Guthrie and Dr. Stanley. (shrink)
The first of a series of volumes containing Albright's shorter writings, some never before published, and the rest revised. In this volume Albright develops his philosophy of history more explicitly than elsewhere, elaborating his distinction between proto-logical, empirico-logical and logical levels of thought. He is very critical of philosophical system-building, especially of the idealistic type, and he sharply contrasts post-Kantian developments in epistemology with what he regards to be the correct epistemology of history. In addition to these broad considerations, there (...) are more technical discussions of Near Eastern religions, review articles of philosophical historians, and an autobiographical sketch. This volume reflects the great range and quality of scholarship which have made its author one of America's most famous scholars.—R. J. W. (shrink)
A well-written introductory and historical survey of the dialogue between Christianity and philosophy, with primary emphasis on the early Fathers, Augustine and Aquinas. Although the preface suggests that the dialogue is a continuing one, many of the essays treat it as ending with Aquinas. One wishes that more account had been taken of modern criticism of the early theological development and of modern Biblical theology. The last two chapters do this and are helped by it.—R. J. W.
This book contains seven essays devoted to various aspects of the continuity and survival of the theological tradition identified with such texts as the Corpus hermeticum and the Orphic hymns. Until the seventeenth century it was generally believed that these works pre-dated the Christian era, thereby supporting the claim of a perennial philosophy, identified with Platonism, as well as the presumed Judaic origins of Plato’s philosophy itself. Early modern scholarship exploded the myth of the antiquity of these writings, identifying (...) the majority of them with unknown early Christian authors, but their influence continued, as Walker demonstrates, even into the eighteenth century. Three of these essays have been published before, but those on Savonarola, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the French Jesuit missionaries in China, and the Chevalier Ramsay, have been prepared for this volume. (shrink)
Professor Plant has presented a briefer treatment of Hegel’s philosophical development than did H. S. Harris in Towards the Sunlight, and a considerably more historical, epistemological and metaphysical treatment than is presented in Pelcynski’s Hegel; Political Philosophy and not so exhaustive an account of the political and social philosophy as appears in Avineri’s Hegel’s Philosophy of the Modern State. These four books taken together testify to the importance of Hegel on the contemporary philosophic scene. Plant’s volume is perhaps the best (...) in that it pulls together the various philosophical, political, and social strains in brief compass, for he demonstrates quite convincingly, as did Avineri and Harris, that the political and metaphysical writings of Hegel are closely interconnected and that the interpretation of art and religion flow from his considered interpretation of his contemporary cultural situation. Plant, with Marx, Engels, Kierkegaard, Baur, Feuerbach et al. and against Findlay and Bergman, argues that there is a Christian theological residue in Hegel’s system, but surprisingly, the fruit of the system is clarification not mystification. Only with that residue is the system and totality really explicable. An altogether welcome book.—R.L.P. (shrink)
A warm portrait of Gilson as historian, educator, and Thomist drawn from his own writings and lectures. The selection is well made and includes several pieces previously unpublished in English; Pegis contributes an introduction in which he explores Gilson's attitude toward Christian philosophy and the Middle Ages.--R. F. T.
Professor Crites comes to his task with deep personal sympathy for and philosophic commitment to each of the protagonists in his volume. The subject of Crites’ work is not the tension of faith and history with which we are familiar in the works of Strauss, Baur, Feuerbach, Renan, and M. Arnold, but rather the tension of Christianity and culture. Crites chooses for his departure the notion and analogy of "domesticity," the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the gospel and the world. (...) With a fairness that is singularly unique among Hegelian critics of Kierkegaard, Crites argues that the issue between Kierkegaard and Hegel was the problem of the positivity of the Christian religion. For Hegel, the development of the notion of Christianity as the absolute religion solved the problem raised by the problem of positivity and Lessing’s essay "On the Proof of the Power and the Spirit." For Kierkegaard such a solution was a sellout, for it eliminated faith. Crites argues well the logic of both Kierkegaard’s and Hegel’s positions. Though the author has a few judicious things to say about Kierkegaard’s epistemology, his treatment would have profited by a more extended analysis of the epistemology of both Hegel and Kierkegaard, and by some indications regarding the importance and use of the modal categories in his author’s appraisal of both faith and history—R. L. P. (shrink)
These three brief lectures are the Riddell Memorial Lectures delivered in 1964. Three questions are asked: Why secularization in England has not progressed any further than it has done, especially among the working class; whether religious decline is a, or the, cause of moral decline; and, what effect secularization has had upon English Christianity. In the course of answering these questions, MacIntyre has a number of perceptive things to say about the relation of class structure to varieties of religion in (...) England, the differences between religion in the United States and England, and what's wrong with the new protestant theology in its sophisticated and degenerate forms. His general conclusion is best summed up at the close of the first lecture when he tells us that "what our children are left with is on the one hand a vestigial Christian vocabulary of a muddled kind and on the other an absence of any alternative vocabulary in which to raise the kind of issues which it is necessary to raise if there is to be not mere assessment of means, but some kind of explicit agreement or disagreement about social and moral ends."--R. J. B. (shrink)
This one-volume text in Christian ethics is an attempt by L. Harold DeWolf, Professor of Systematic Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary at a comprehensive treatment of contemporary ethical theory and practice. The author defines his subject within a specifically Christian context; traces the relativistic revolt against moral norms; gives a brief resume of Hebrew and Christian ethics; presents a rather rigorous interpretation of natural law theory; formulates a series of ethical guidelines based essentially on rational responsibility, consistency, (...) ideal values, social concern, and ultimate reality. He then indicates how through ecclesia and community these principles might be applied to such diverse problems as marriage and the family, environment, cultural depersonalization, civil disobedience and war. To those who feel that ethics should be a reasoned science free of theological commitment this work will seem too ambitious; to those who feel that existential ethical judgments should proceed from the total intellectual and religious resources of the individual, it will stand as an updated if necessarily diffuse outline of contemporary Christian ethical theory, formulated with insight and sensitivity.—R. P. M. (shrink)
A lively and sympathetic critique of the ecumenical movement, emphasizing that unity is a Christian goal only as it contributes to the Church's ability to fulfill its mission. There is a good discussion of the significance of Roman Catholic and Orthodox participation in what was originally a Protestant movement. Marty's thesis is that enough unity has been attained now to get on with the mission.--R. J. W.
Until recently, Feuerbach seemed to be a minor footnote in the history of nineteenth century secular and theological development. He was known best because of the interest in those who attacked him. But with the recent concern with the varieties of "radical" theology and the fascination with the intellectual climate of the early Marx, many thinkers have been taking a fresh look at Feuerbach himself. Much of what is "new" in theology as well as atheism is to be found in (...) Feuerbach. Not only does Feuerbach reaffirm the thesis of his The Essence of Christianity—that the "truth" of theology is anthropology whereby "God" turns out to be a name for ideals rooted in man's nature, he now declares that what really motivates the Christian in his belief in God is self-love. There is a helpful introduction by Cherno locating this work in Feuerbach's development and sketching the main stages of its argument.—R. J. B. (shrink)
Prof. Das argues that Sri Ramakrishna was an incarnation of God. He pits the Hindu doctrine of plural incarnations against the Christian doctrine of unique incarnation, but his notion of incarnation is so alien to the Christian conception that there is hardly a meeting of issues. That Prof. Das easily accepts points we would deem in greatest need of justification, e.g., the psychic ability to make oneself invisible, and argues in great detail for what we would take as (...) simple points, indicates that we have yet far to go in creating a context for significant communication between East and West. The book contains some interesting chapters on the historical background and life of Ramakrishna, and an explication of several of his major theses.--R. C. N. (shrink)
A biography made up chiefly of excerpts from correspondence of Paul E. More, literary critic, editor of The Nation and teacher of classical and early Christian philosophy at Princeton. The central theme is More's religious development from Calvinism through humanism to a final great sympathy with Anglicanism.--R. C. N.
A "scientific...objective study of a social phenomenon," not an argument for democracy. The author maintains that the historical opposition between autocracy and democracy reflects the opposition between philosophical absolutism and philosophical relativism. Only relativism can justify an egalitarian democracy ruled by a majority, since today's truths may be to-morrow's errors; Christian and Natural Law theories of democracy are criticised. The work, unfortunately, lacks an adequate philosophical foundation. The discussion of the function of democracy fails to be fully convincing because (...) the underlying distinction between philosophical absolutism and relativism is oversimplified and unclear.--R. G. S. (shrink)
A comprehensive and lucidly written account of Origen's life and thought, relating Origen's writings to his active role in the Christian community, as well as to the religious and philosophic thought of his time. The book's main thesis is that Origen's thought cannot be reduced either to biblical theology or to neo-platonic speculation, but must be understood as an effort to make Christian faith intelligible and systematic.--R. H.
"And God said...." The author of this interesting study takes seriously the use of the italicized word in the biblical account of Creation. His thesis is that a modified version of the late J. L. Austin's analysis of "performatory" language can be used to reinterpret the traditional Christian claim that God "created" the world. The first half of the book is a purely philosophical analysis of self-involving language. Of particular importance is its clear distinction between, and logical mapping of, (...) performative and expressive language. In the second half this analysis is applied to biblical talk about Creation, an application which is made more valuable by the author's thorough grounding in biblical theology.—R. J. W. (shrink)
Based on papers read to the Centre Catholique des Intellectuels Français by a group of Catholic authors, including Gustave Thibon and Daniel-Rapa. Freedom is not mere independence: it is the choice of bonds to those we love. Since the Christian is related to his God in love, Christianity is the source and basis of genuine freedom. The authors attempt to substantiate this thesis in essays on Hinduism, Islam, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and Freedom in the Greek World. The concluding essays (...) examine the requirements for the preservation of freedom in our day.--R. G. S. (shrink)
Jacobi first gives a comprehensive survey of interpretations that Nicholas of Cusa's thought has undergone. After examining the methodological problems of reading Nicholas, he reviews earlier Thomistic and Platonic interpretations, as well as the opinion which considers him too original to be included within any school. He then examines those commentators who stress Christian elements in Nicholas' thought, and his place at the beginning of modern philosophy. Part II of the book is a speculative analysis of his thought, centered (...) around the distinction between "functional science" and "identity-ontology." The former is the purely secular analysis of the appearance and structure of things; the latter is a metaphysical and theological grasp of the unity beyond all differences and appearances, the ground for all beings which appear to the human mind, and the origin of the mind's ability to know. Jacobi interprets Nicholas with the help of such modern terms as transcendental reflection and ontological difference, illuminating both the subject of his study and the modern viewpoint from which he examines it. The study is influenced by the work of H. Rombach of Freiburg, where Jacobi presented it as a dissertation. There is a good bibliography and index of passages cited.--R. S. (shrink)
An interesting essay in the phenomenology of moral value. The authors regard all traditional ethics as "deformations" of the Christian ethics of love and submission to God. Traditional mores, or the laws of the state, are seen as substitutes for Christian ethics--as are liberalism, identification of morality with honor, humaneness, self-development, altruism, self-control, moderation, etc. The work is primarily descriptive, and arguments in defense of viewing Christian ethics as the only genuine morality of which all others are (...) preversions, are scarce.--R. G. S. (shrink)
"The Role of the Christian Philosopher" is the principal topic of these discussions; and that role is taken to be the meeting of modern problems, considering criticisms of the established position, and establishing communication with philosophers of different persuasions. Brief but incisive historical studies of possibility in St. Thomas, univocity in Duns Scotus, and of the complicatio-explicatio distinction in Nicholas of Cusa are among the other articles.--R. E.
This is at once a fascinating, illuminating, perceptive, and perplexing book. It has many virtues. There are probably few intellectuals in any "discipline" who can write about the sweep of Western civilization with such scope, insight, and perceptiveness. Nisbet has attempted to write a history of a metaphor which has exerted an enormous influence on Western thinking from the Greeks until our time. It is the metaphor of organic development as applied to the understanding of social development. According to Nisbet (...) we find this basic metaphor at the root of Greek thinking about cycles, the Christian idea of epic, and the modern idea of development as progress. The first part subtly sketches the variations on the metaphor of organic growth in The Greeks, The Christians, and The Moderns. This in turn establishes a background for exploring the theory of social development articulated from the eighteenth century to the present. Although Nisbet is modest in his claims about his distinctive contribution to each of these historical chapters, he does bring fresh insight to bear and exposes numerous myths that have cluttered our historical understanding. Given the scope of his treatment, there is plenty that "specialists" may question, although even where one disagrees with his interpretations, one can't help admiring his command of the material. It is the final chapter that leaves one perplexed. For while Nisbet has made an excellent case for showing how deep the metaphor of organic development has been in Western thought, he seems to be genuinely ambivalent about its significance and pragmatic value. Operating in this chapter is a dichotomy between the "literal" and the "metaphoric" that is never fully explicated. Nisbet seems to think that with proper judiciousness, the metaphor can be revealing when applied to large scale units such as "civilization" and "culture," but that it is disastrous and dogmatic when used to account for specific instances of social behavior. The book ends with a rather sharp polemical attack on contemporary functionalists. It would seem that Nisbet set out to trace the variations of the metaphor of organic development in order to show how it still influences contemporary "sophisticated" thinking and to expose the abuses and irrelevance of the metaphor for understanding social behavior, but in the course of his masterful exploration he has succeeded in laying the groundwork for a serious questioning of his own polemical conclusions.--R. J. B. (shrink)
The radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing's first book, The Divided Self (1960), is informed by the work of Christian thinkers on scriptural interpretation — an intellectual genealogy apparent in Laing's comparison of Karl Jaspers's symptomatology with the theological tradition of `form criticism'. Rudolf Bultmann's theology, which was being enthusiastically promoted in 1950s Scotland, is particularly influential upon Laing. It furnishes him with the notion that schizophrenic speech expresses existential truths as if they were statements about the physical and organic (...) world. It also provides him with a model of the schizoid position as a form of modern-day Stoicism. Such theological recontextualization of The Divided Self illuminates continuities in Laing's own work, and also indicates his relationship to a wider British context, such as the work of the `clinical theologian' Frank Lake. (shrink)
On what grounds will the rational man become a Christian? It is often assumed by many, especially non-Christians, that he will become a Christian if and only if he judges that the evidence available to him shows that it is more likely than not that the Christian theological system is true, that, in mathematical terms, on the evidence available to him, the probability of its truth is greater than half. It is the purpose of this paper to (...) investigate whether or not this is a necessary and sufficient condition for the rational man to adopt Christianity. (shrink)