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744 BOOK REVIEWS tension. He rightly argues that indigenization is mission and that only in dialogue can mission take place, while both are distinct from one another. Hillman's hook is full of promise hut requires more self-critical scrutiny, some sense of historical substantiation, as well as interac· tion with the specificities of the world religions. For a ' Catholic ' ap· proach there are too many questions left unanswered and too many problems left unexplored. West London Institute of Higher Education lsleworth, Middlesex GAVIN D'CosTA Religions and the Truth: Philosophical Reflections and Perspectives. By HENDRIK M. VROOM. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989. Pp. 388. $23.95 (paper). Hendrik Vroom announces his purpose in Religions and the Truth as " an inquiry into what people understand by truth in religion." What puzzles him is that religions commonly claim to provide an access to the truth and yet differ not only about the access and about the truth, hut also about what it means to achieve the goal. His basic strategy is to find both the common ground and the differences through a detailed study of five major religious traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism , Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In this way, he hopes to find out something about each tradition and its peculiar concern with truth and then to work out a model for inter-religious conversation. It is thus a philosophical effort not depending essentially on any one of the traditions, hut it is also of theological relevance, as each of the traditions appraises its relations with the others. Clearly Vroom works at the intersection of several major controver· sies. He starts with the philosophical debate about the concept truth itself. Immediately the strengths and weaknesses of the whole hook become apparent. Vroom is outstanding at posing the problem and at surveying the major positions in the debate. Yet, although he is will· ing to lay out the pros and cons, he avoids stating and defending a full position of his own. Later in the hook, this avoidance is a major drawback in the analysis. First of all, some inchoate theory of truth always lies behind the sorting out which goes with a descriptive analysis. Won't a decision about truth as correspondence or as coherence affect how one appraises different interpretations of this or that religious tradition? More importantly, the transition from the descriptive to the normative in the last two chapters absolutely requires such a decision. BOOK REVIEWS 745 Having explored the truth-debate and its extension into the philos· ophy of religion, Vroom embarks on his investigation of the traditions. His approach in each case is to look for some general notions which permeate the tradition and in particular for ways in which "truth " and " reality " come to the fore as concepts and as preoccupations. In this way, one gets not only a feel for the nuances of satya, emet, aletheia , and haqq in the various scriptures hut also for their place in a total world-view and life-orientation. It becomes obvious that these terms {roughly translated as truth) are neither completely univocal nor completely equivocal. The Moslem and the Christian arguing about (the) truth may indeed talk the same language about the same world, hut they {and we) should not be quick to think that they do so. Strangely, although I enjoyed this journey through the traditions greatly , I felt least satisfied with the depiction of Christianity, where presumably I am most at home. The exploration of the five traditions leads hack to another general philosophical controversy, about religion taken generally. In this section , Vroom's method is more successful, since the close attention to diversity reveals how hard it is to zero in on some one element such as "the sense of the sacred." Vroom finds instead a conglomerate of in· sights and experiences with some reference to a transcendent under· stood (or not understood) differently in every case. How a tradition deals with finitude, responsibility, happiness, understanding, evil, and suffering makes for its own unity, and its connection to "the trans· cendent " marks it as characteristically religious. He has the greatest difficulty fitting Buddhism into this scheme, but he does so by stretching...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 744-746
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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