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184 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Like volume 1 (which I reviewed in UTQ 72:1), volume 2 is exemplary in the quality of both the translation and the editorial apparatus. The text is presented in a dual-language format, with the English translation on the opposite page to the Latin text. The chapters in both the Latin text and the translation are developed according to paragraphs, also facilitating comparison between the translation and the original. The volume includes a section of crisp and informative explanatory notes (one set to the Latin text and one to the translation), a selected bibliography of influential philosophical studies of Ficino=s works, and an index of names. The general introduction covers a broad range of topics, including Ficino=s sources; the philosophical, historical, and political contexts of Ficino=s metaphysics and his >missionary goals=; the open-ended structure of the work, which is consistent both with >a medieval formatting= and the Platonic >dialogic inquiry=; and Ficino=s >intended audience= of >ingeniosi,= the young scholars >who were the Florentine counterparts to Socrates= most gifted interlocutors and questioners, and who required intellectual conviction= for their >acceptance of= and >fervent commitment to= Christianity. Allen and Hankins=s commendable scholarly endeavour will be invaluable not only to individuals interested in the legacy of Ficino=s contributions to Renaissance Neoplatonic philosophy, but also to those interested more generally in questions of early modern intertextualities and interdisciplinary cross-fertilization. (VIVIANA COMENSOLI) Elmar J. Kremer and Michael J. Latzer, editors. The Problem of Evil in Early Modern Philosophy University of Toronto Press 2001. viii, 180. $60.00 In the popular understanding of what philosophers spend their time thinking about, the question of theodicy B how a perfectly good and perfectly powerful God can allow evil B holds a place of prominence. This is sometimes a source of surprise and irritation for academic philosophers, many of whom long ago abandoned questions about God in favour of more practical concerns, such as why more people are not socialist or how many clones of Hitler one must make before cloning itself is judged unethical. However this may be, the popular view is not entirely wrong: in recent years there has been a growing scholarly interest in the philosophy of religion, particularly in connection with seventeenth- and eighteenthcentury thought, and The Problem of Evil in Early Modern Philosophy provides some fine examples of the substantial work being done in this area. The volume brings together nine papers originally delivered as part of a conference on the problem of evil in early modern thought held at the University of Toronto in late 1999. Following historical order, the collection begins with Francisco Suarez, and moves smoothly through essays on Descartes, Spinoza, Malebranche, Pierre Bayle, and Leibniz. The editors humanities 185 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 have done an excellent job; the papers here fit together so well that one sometimes has the impression that the authors are responding to one another . The scholarship is solid and frequently quite original, and the writing is clear and free of jargon in every case but one (Robert C. Sleigh, Jr=s piece on Leibniz, which employs a number of ponderous academic gimmicks). Not surprisingly, the author of the Theodicy is given more sustained attention than the other thinkers considered in the book. Of the three essays on Leibniz, Donald Rutherford=s piece on the philosopher=s debt to the stoics is the standout. Rather than focusing on the justifications for God=s action and inaction in the world, Rutherford turns the discussion around and concentrates on the implications that knowledge of divine order has for human happiness. His argument develops so elegantly that one almost misses the striking conclusion: Leibniz=s attempt to reconcile his stoic affinities with Christianity reveals in him a strain of progressive, even radical, thought which ultimately calls into question the authenticity of his Christianity. The deep tension in early modern attempts to combine classical thought with biblical religion is very fertile ground, and Rutherford=s cageyness about resolving this conflict is helpfully suggestive of how the issue might...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 184-185
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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