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BOOK REVIEWS 143 engagement with their arguments for naturalism the book seems oddly truncated. Within that central dilemma of panentheism vs. naturalism another issue also looms without ever getting the kind of treatment it deserves: teleology. Leaving aside the validity of the specific arguments for design advocated by recent anti-Darwinian spokesmen such as the biochemist Michael Behe and the mathematician William Dembski, there is a peculiar absence of any treatment of teleological issues throughout this book. Of course, these last two chapters come after an intense diagnostic analysis of the contemporary dilemma and are thus clearly meant only to get the conversation off the dime. The debate has really only just begun, as the next century will no doubt witness. We can certainly be happy that one of the last contributions of this century to the dialogue will be one that will continue to resonate and echo well into the next. Regis University Denver, Colorado EDWARD T. OAKES, S.J. Faith and Understanding. By PAUL HELM. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997. Pp. viii + 212. $26.00 (paper). ISBN 0-8028-4451-0. This book, which has been touted as "the first book-length study of the 'faith seeking understanding'(FSU) program," appears in a series on Reason and Religion, of which the present author is also the series editor. Instead of attempting a history of the faith-seeking-understanding tradition, Helm undertakes to set up the philosophical issues involved in using reason to develop faith and then to present a series of "case studies" which effectively show how diversely conceived and executed the project has been through the ages. Yet while philosophical in its approach, the book is aimed at students and "educated general readers" and pitched at an introductory level, an aim well served by Helm's clear and patient exposition. The exposition is also marked by an impartiality on the author's part so scrupulous that the reader catches only glimpses of Helm's own views beyond his general sympathy with the project and occasional critical remarks on various recent discussions, including those of Kretzmann, Hoitenga, and Plantinga. The book is organized in two parts. The first part consists of three chapters which lay out the epistemological issues relevant to the problem of relating faith and reason. The second part, which takes up roughly the remaining two-thirds ofthe book, is made up ofcase studies devoted to Augustine on time and creation (chap. 4), Anselm on God's existence and the Incarnation (chaps. 144 BOOK REVIEWS 5 and 6), Jonathan Edwards on original sin (chap. 7), and Calvin on the sensus divinitatis (chap. 8). The appearance that the last chapter breaks the historical order is, however, only an appearance, for Helm uses Calvin primarily as a springboard for discussing Reformed epistemology, and especially Plantinga's contribution. Helm explains in the introduction that "faith seeking understanding is an attempt to articulate faith, to elucidate its metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical implications" (vii). In chapter 1 he turns directly to the epistemological dimension, and gives what is perhaps his most succinct definition of FSU: "The chief feature of faith in 'faith seeks understanding' is that although it is essentially incomplete . . . the intellectual and evidential basis of faith is capable of being augmented by a process of reflection and investigation in which reason is necessarily employed, and that this process is inherently desirable and appropriate" (15). In addition, FSU has been characterized by a nonreductive view of testimony in acquiring knowledge, where confidence in the word of others (whether human or divine) is required to gain certain kinds of knowledge. Finally, Helm notes that FSU thinkers probably practice a certain measure of "methodological insulation" in accepting or assuming the truth of propositions that form the starting-point of the exercise (24), yet he finds this practice philosophically "innocuous" and perhaps even necessary. The first chapter deals with the terms of the problem, including how exactly reason is to be defined, how faith is to be understood, and what relation may be found between them in the FSU project. Helm assembles the conceptual tools that will be needed by FSU thinkers as follows. Reason is to be distinguished into substantive...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 143-146
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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