Being all-good and gracious, God cannot be so envious as not to allow anything else besides him to exist. The necessitarian view thus limits God in His choice of creation and argues that God had to create in the first place out of His infinite ...
First published 30 years ago and long out of print, _Aquinas: God and Action_ appears here for the first time in paperback. This classic volume by eminent philosopher and theologian David Burrell argues that Aquinas’s is not the god of Greek metaphysics, but a god of both being and activity. Aquinas’s plan in the _Summa Theologiae_, according to Burrell, is to instruct humans how to find eternal happiness through acts of knowing and loving. Featuring a new foreword by the author, (...) this edition will be welcomed by philosophers and theologians alike. (shrink)
Author endorses the study by Gaven Kerr, O.P., for the way it shows the centrality of Aquinas’ metaphysics of creation: showcasing the ‘real distinction’ between esse and essentia, followed by Aquinas’ unique treatment of each, as well as a deep consideration of esse tantum. At the end he states the ‘proof’ which Gaven Kerr has articulated so deftly reflects the manner in which the Creator ‘appears’ in creation, thereby ‘showing’ what cannot be ‘said’.
In this book, David Burrell, one of the foremost philosophical theologians in the English-speaking world, presents the best of his work on creation and human freedom. A collection of writings by one of the foremost philosophers of religion in the English-speaking world. Brings together in one volume the best of David Burrell’s work on creation and human freedom from the last twenty years. Dismantles the ‘libertarian’ approach to freedom underlying Western political and economic systems. Engages with Islam, Judaism and Christianity, (...) and with modern and pre-modern systems of thought. The author is noted for his rigorous approach, his wry humor, his intellectual subtlety and his generous spirit. (shrink)
Can philosophical inquiry into divinity be authentic to its subject, God, without adapting its categories to the challenges of its scriptural inspiration, be that biblical or Quranic? This essay argues that it cannot, and that the adaptation, while it can be articulated in semantic terms, must rather amount to a transformation of standard philosophical strategies. Indeed, without such a radical transformation, “philosophy of religion” will inevitably mislead us into speaking of a “god” rather than our intended object.
The main lines of this exploration are quite simply drawn. That the God whom Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship outstrips our capacities for characterization, and hence must be unknowable, will be presumed as uncontested. The reason that God is unknowable stems from our shared confession that ‘the Holy One, blessed be He’, and ‘the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth’, and certainly ‘Allah, the merciful One’ is one ; and just why God's oneness entails God's being unknowable deserves discussion, (...) though that will occur as we move along. The issue facing us is the one which preoccupied al-Ghazali: how does a seeker respond to that unknowability? The root meaning of the Arabic word for ‘student’ means ‘seeker’, and that attitude of ‘seeking the face of God’, along with the indescribability of the face, will be presumed throughout our discussion. That's why we are struck with the clumsy term ‘unknowable’ rather than its more euphonious Greek form ‘agnostic’. For Western agnostics are such largely because they cannot find God sufficiently compelling, while they ‘would not have the impudence to claim to be atheists’ – as one contemporary seeker puts it. So theologians feel it necessary to enclose the term in quotation marks when discussing, say, Aquinas' ‘agnosticism’ regarding divinity. Yet a genuine unknowing does lie at the heart of the inquiry of the Jew, Christian or Muslim seeking after God; indeed, it is the unknowing which distinguishes a search for God from lusting after idols. So let us follow al-Ghazali in an effort to discover the lineaments of both search and seeker after an unknowable God. (shrink)
The dual purpose of this book is to point out the ways whereby reflective religious thinkers work and to suggest how these skills can be acquired. It is a manual of apprenticeship in acquiring religious understanding. The thought of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Kierkegaard, and Jung on selected religious topics is developed expressly to show how each handled these issues and thus to provide living exemplars for religious understanding. The issues have an inherent unity in their dealing with man's knowledge of (...) God, especially in their concern with the ways we treat what must be beyond our grasp. Augustine travels a journey of progressive awareness. As one scheme of understanding after another cannot offer an explanation, so it ends in confession. From his life we learn "how to discriminate our action from God's while discerning God's action in ours." In the case of Anselm and Aquinas the goal was to speak of divine things accurately enough to avoid misunderstanding, yet without giving a false impression that we have made clear what the divinity really is. Kierkegaard and Jung aim to clarify our experience of the transcendent. But this experience is expressed in a language whose success in removing the roadblocks to faith and understanding can be evaluated. (shrink)
Albert Speer's life offers a paradigm of self-deception, and his autobiography serves to illustrate Fingarette's account of self-deception as a persistent failure to spell out our engagements in the world. Using both Speer and Fingarette, we show how self-deception becomes our lot as the stories we adopt to shape our lives cover up what is destructive in our activity. Had Speer not settled for the neutral label of "architect," he might have found a story substantive enough to allow him to (...) recognize the implications of his engagements with Hitler's Reich. This side of Auschwitz we require a story which allows us to appropriate our own capacities for evil and yet empowers us to go on. (shrink)
As an exercise in comparative philosophical theology, our approach is more concerned with conceptual strategies than with historical although the animadversions of those versed in the history of each period will assist in reading the texts of each thinker. We need historians to make us aware of the questions to which thinkers of other ages and cultures were directing their energies, as well as the forms of thought available to them in making their response; but we philosophers hope to be (...) able to proceed without having to arm ourselves with extensive knowledge of the surrounding milieu, trusting that others more knowledgeable will correct and extend our efforts. Our contribution should then be one of offering perspectives within which further discourse may profitably proceed, suitably challenged and amended in the course of a common inquiry. Since my familiarity is with Aquinas, and since he comes chronologically first, I shall begin with him, though there is no discernible connection between the two thinkers other than their preoccupation with establishing the primacy of existing in a metaphysical discourse which had hitherto obscured its significance. (shrink)
This volume contains 17 articles on various aspects of Islamic thought in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia. The first 9 articles concentrate especially on the Qur’ān and its exegesis, Kalām and Sufism; the second 8 articles deal with Javanese Islam, and with Islam and modernity in Southeast Asia.
It would be difficult to find two more paradigmatic interlocutors of Christian theology and Jewish thought than Thomas Aquinas and Moses Maimonides. Yet we are privileged to have in our midst a contemporary philosopher who can be said to have mastered the thought of both and can present them in dialogue. This essay offers a glimpse into Avital Wohlman’s reading of the rich exchange between these two medieval thinkers, assessing the implications of her presentation of their interaction for the “unending (...) discussion between Judaism and Christianity.”. (shrink)