Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology by Oliver D. Crisp, Michael C. Rea

By Oliver D. Crisp, Michael C. Rea

Philosophy within the English-speaking international is ruled through analytic methods to its difficulties and initiatives; yet theology has been ruled by means of replacement techniques. Many might say that the present country in theology isn't really mere old twist of fate, yet is, fairly, how issues needs to be. however, many others may say exactly the contrary: that theology as a self-discipline has been beguiled and brought captive by means of 'continental' methods, and that the consequences at the self-discipline were principally deleterious. The methodological divide among systematic theologians and analytic philosophers of faith is ripe for exploration. the current quantity represents an try and start a much-needed interdisciplinary dialog in regards to the worth of analytic philosophical techniques to theological subject matters. many of the essays herein are sympathetic towards the company the editors are calling analytic theology; yet, with an eye fixed towards stability, the amount additionally contains essays and an creation that attempt to provide extra severe views on analytic theology.

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35 Presumably a further constraint is that each term must be uniformly interpreted throughout the system. Thus, though Lindbeck doesn’t explicitly say anything to rule out our interpreting ‘Jesus is the Son of God’ as having the same meaning as ‘2 þ 2 ¼ 4’, I take it that the demand for uniform treatment of terms will rule out such interpretations. For, given the uniform-treatment constraint, a mathematical interpretation of ‘Jesus is the Son of God’ would force at least a partially mathematical interpretation of (say) the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed; but it would be extremely diYcult, at best, to provide consistent interpretations of that sort.

To take one example, the threeness–oneness problem associated with the doctrine of the Trinity may be approached by dividing it up into smaller parts: what do we mean by ‘divine person’; what is meant by ‘trinitarian perichoresis’; what can be said about ‘divine substance’, and so forth. A resolution of these issues that are elements of the larger threeness–oneness problem, will certainly help the theologian to make sense of the whole (to the extent one can make sense of this doctrine). As I have already indicated, there is nothing novel in the idea that theologians might make use of the latest in philosophical thinking to help them express the great things of the Gospel in a contemporary idiom.

Contrast this strong use of reason in theology with the weaker, procedural sense. On this way of thinking, reason is a tool for establishing the logical connections between diVerent propositions, for distinguishing what I am talking about from what I am not, and whether what I am saying makes sense, or is incoherent. Such reasoning also enables me to consider the validity of a particular argument that is put forward, and whether or not it is subject to less obvious defects of reasoning, like question-begging or aYrming the consequent, and so on.

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