Process Theology [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 26 (1):155-156 (1972)

This anthology is intended primarily to provide students of theology with some of the basic writings of the major thinkers who have contributed to the development of the movement known as "process theology." Because of the content students of philosophy will likewise find it useful. The editor begins the work with an introduction in which he ably traces in broad perspective the various ways in which a mental attitude stressing process is reflected in contemporary culture, philosophy, and theology. The first part of the volume then provides essays that center on process thought as this has emerged from the writings of Alfred North Whitehead and his American disciples. Two essays in this part are concerned with tracing the development of process thought, the one by Norman Pittenger centering on its historical evolution from Whitehead through Hartshorne and others into a distinct theological movement, whereas the one by Charles Hartshorne is concerned with the inner development of process thought as a noetic capable of dealing with relational reality. In other essays in this part Bernard Meland comments on the value of process thought in providing an imagery and concepts congenial to contemporary man in his struggle to understand his experience, and Bernard M. Loomer examines in detail the empirical basis and methodology central to Whitehead’s philosophy. The essays in the second part focus on the relationship between God and the world as this relationship is interpreted by process thinkers. Here selections include the final chapter of Whitehead’s Process and Reality, Hartshorne’s suggestive account of the philosophical and religious uses of the term "God," Schubert Ogden’s attempt to defend a concept of God modeled on process thought as more conformable to biblical testimony than the concept of God classical in Christian thought, Walter Stoke’s endeavor to integrate features of process thought within a more Thomistic framework relative to the being of God, and two essays by Daniel Day Williams and John B. Cobb, Jr. on the relationship between God and world and God and man. Essays in the third part, called "Christ and Redemption," reflect the efforts of three Whiteheadian-inspired theologians, Meland, Pittenger, and Henry Nelson Wieman, to rethink the Christian doctrine of the incarnation within the framework provided by process thought. In the fourth part of the work attention is directed from Whitehead to another major source of contemporary process theology, Teilhard de Chardin. The essays include Theodosius Dobzhansky’s lengthy critical appreciation of the major directions in Teilhard’s vision of the universe, Teilhard’s own views on a cosmic Christology, a development of his views on this topic by Henri de Lubac, and other studies of aspects of Teilhard’s thought by N. M. Wildiers, George Crespy, and Christopher F. Mooney. An appendix includes a comparative study of the metaphysics of Teilhard and Whitehead by Ian G. Barbour. A useful bibliography completes the anthology.—W. E. M.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1972261110
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