In Truthfulness and Tragedy Stanley Hauerwas provides an account of moral existence and ethical rationality that shows how Christian convictions operate, or should operate, to form and direct lives. In attempting to conceptualize the basis of Christian ethics in a manner that will render Christian convictions morally intelligible, the author casts fresh light on traditional theoretical issues and articulates the distinctive Christian response to contemporary concerns such as suicide, medical ethics, and child care. The first section of the book deals (...) with methodological issues: the meaning and nature of practical reason, obligation claims, natural law, and self deception, and the affinity of story and ethics. It focuses on the relation of truthfulness and tragedy and the need for a story--a set of religious convictions or "grammar of theology"--that does justice to the tragic character of human existence. The second section addresses substantive issues: suicide, euthanasia, and the value of survival; the moral limits of population growth; the definition of "person" for medical reasons; and social involvement and Christian ethics. The overall theme is the need for a community in which truthfulness is a way of life. In the final section, devoted to the problem of how to care for retarded children, the implications of the author's ethical position are given concrete expression. He discusses the assumptions underlying the willingness to have children, criteria for humanness, medical ethics, and how truthful communities deal with suffering. In Truthfulness and Tragedy Stanley Hauerwas extends and clarifies the ethical position set forth in his earlier books Character and the Christian Life and Vision and Virtue. He is associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. He was a senior fellow in Christian medical ethics at the Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute for the Study of Reproduction and Bioethics, and taught medical ethics at the University of Texas medical branch in Galveston. (shrink)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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’.
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)
Creatio ex nihilo sounds like a philosophical teaching, but philosophy has been utterly unprepared to offer proper expression for an origination which presupposes nothing at all! Yet each of the Abrahamic faiths insists on such an origination, so it proved serendipitous when sufficient contact opened between these diverse religious traditions to allow thinkers to assist one another in what proved to be a shared task—and indeed gain assistance from others as well, as Sara Grant elucidates the sui generis relation between (...) creatures and creator using Shankara's “non‐duality”. With Robert Dobie's help, we shall can find ourselves attaining mutual illumination from witnessing Meister Eckhart and Ibn ’Arabi struggle with the same conundrum, reminding us how we will invariably falsify this crucial relating if we insist on thinking of Creator and creatures as “two things”, inevitably yielding a creator who must be the “biggest of all”. Yet this witness of classical explorers from different traditions may embolden contemporary thinkers to try their hand as well. (shrink)
In this collection, Stations on the Journey of Inquiry, David Burrell launches a revolutionary reinterpretation of how any inquiry proceeds, boldly critiquing presumptuous theories of knowledge, language, and ethics. While his later publications, Analogy and Philosophical Language (1973) and Aquinas: God and Action (1979), elucidate Aquinas's linguistic theology, these early writings show what often escapes articulation: how one comes to understanding and "takes" a judgment. Although Aquinas serves as an axial figure for Burrell's expansive corpus of scholarship spanning more than (...) fifty years, this selection of essays presents other positions and counterpositions to whom his own philosophical theology is beholden: Plato, Aristotle, Cajetan, Kant, Peirce, Moore, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Weiss, Ross, McInerny, and Lonergan. With renewed interest in philosophy of language by postmodern thinkers as well as in the wake of Mulhall's Stanton Lectures on Wittgenstein and "Grammatical Thomism," the publication of these formative writings proves timely for the academy at large. Burrell invites us to reconsider not only the way in which we conduct an inquiry, but what it is we take language to be and how we take responsibility for what we say. (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.
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)
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 (or lack of exchange) between these two medieval thinkers, assessing the implications of her presentation of their (...) interaction for the “unending discussion between Judaism and Christianity.”. (shrink)