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666 BOOK REVIEWS These books provide fruitful ways offraming the entire conversation about theodicy and mysticism: one must concede that in doing this Stoeber had to sketch his positions broadly; and yet one can still wish that he had done more. The point is not that he should have written different books-less broadly philosophical and more Indological, for instance-but rather that he might have been yet more attentive to the possibilities and problems of language . In rejecting the constructivist viewpoint. Stoeber's comparative approach is ultimately undergirded by the same realist expectation with which he informs his study of mysticism, and he leans too far toward an essentialist position: i.e., we know that there are deep similarities in how humans everywhere deal with the real; mystical experience has the same complex features everywhere; its problematization is everywhere the same; and each of us speaks about the same things in a way that the rest of us can understand, even in translation. Regarding the last point at least the constructivists provide a corrective: ifexperience is mediated through words, and as long as we do not jump to the conclusion that there are only words, we can justly value the way in which words provide the education and discipline by which we learn to extend our thinking to what is new and unfamiliar. The particular words of particular cultures, when read in larger contexts and not merely excerpted, train us to understand experience in particular and differing ways; even fundamental issues are differently situated and opened from new vantage points, and one's questions are themselves interrogated as to their sources and motives. Stoeber's books are best appreciated then as providing a sound and sensible foundation for a larger, more complex comparative project which will get us to think not just more broadly, but also differently, articulating not just more comprehensive frameworks about shared human experiences, but also different approaches and questions fashioned according to what people experience -universally, concretely-in their differing cultural and linguistic settings. FRANCIS X. CLOONEY, S.J. Boston College Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts The Panther and the Hind: A Theological History ofAnglicanism. By AIDAN NICHOLS, 0.P. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993. Pp. xxi + 186. $19.95 (softcover). The fable of the four blind men presented with an elephant is well-known. Each examined a part of the elephant, and declared it to be something other than it was; none of the four realized it was an elephant. This story comes to BOOK REVIEWS 667 mind once more after reading Aidan Nichols's recent book, The Panther and the Hind. The subtitle (A Theological History of Anglicanism) presents the problem: Can anyone, in fact, write a theological history of Anglicanism? Does the final product, accurate as far as it goes, depend upon what evidence one considers, just as what each blind man thought he was touching depended on which part of the elephant he had gotten hold of? The title is taken from the 1687 "bittersweet" poem of the same name by John Dryden; each chapter begins with a passage from the poem, written after Dryden's conversion to Catholicism, about the relationship between Canterbury ("the panther") and Rome ("the hind"). History suggests that Anglicanism has not been as fierce, nor Rome as defenseless, as this metaphor would suggest. The strong points of this work are not few. It is a summary of a great deal of information, and both the texts and their context are spelled out. Nichols's style of writing, if occasionally facile and often polemical, is nevertheless clear and economical. This style is also mirrored in the clarity of Nichols's exposition. The bibliographies at the end of each chapter are helpful suggestions for further reading, not all of which agrees with the author's premises. The weak points, however, are evident as well. The most significant one has to do with the selectivity of this exposition of Anglicanism. The book's consideration is limited almost exclusively to Great Britain, or even more particularly, England. While this limitation may be permissible and effective for the first few centuries, it cannot be maintained in a world where a majority of all Anglicans...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 666-670
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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