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BOOK REVIEWS 861 acter as to demand and thus warrant the sort of special explanation proposed by the theist. Along the way, we are treated to illuminating discussions of many fascinating and controversial issues, such as the need for a priori probability assignments in science and metaphysics. Chapter six offers a novel defense of Pascal's Wager arising out of the Anselmian concept of God endorsed at the beginning of the hook. Thus a bond is forged between one of the most purely theoretical and one of the most pragmatic ideas in the history of philosophical reflection on religious belief. Schlesinger's defenses of the Wager against numer· ous criticisms are, characteristically, original, engaging, and philosoph· ically stimulating. The final chapter of this hook grapples with the issue of whether a world such as ours, in which individuals seem to he far from equal in religious insight and ability to respond to the divine, can he com· patible with God's being perfectly fair and just. Drawing on some elementary aspects of epistemic logic, Schlesinger first seeks to under· mine the position of the agnostic who claims to he well-informed, well· disposed to fair judgment, and to he in a state of rationally refraining to endorse either theism or atheism. In the course of the argument, he attempts to show how merely understanding theism can increase one's inclination to endorse it, and he traces out various entailments of the traditional idea of God for the issue of how clear evidence of God's existence must he in this world to one who is truly well-disposed toward seeing it. All in all, this is a highly original, provocative hook which should he read and grappled with by all who work in the field of its concern , the philosophy of religion. It should spark debate and enhance the level of reflection about its chosen topics for years to come. It will surely not command agreement at every point, hut it will inevitably stimulate further thought. The University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana THOMAS v. MORRIS God in History: Shapes of Freedom. By PETER C. HODGSON. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989. Pp. 287. $21.95 {cloth). Is it still possible in our postmodern age to speak intelligibly about God's presence and action in human history? Peter Hodgson's discus· sion of this " most difficult of modern theological questions " leads us over the " labyrinthine abyss " of Derrida's deconstructionism, through the " cognitive purgatory " of the postmodern crisis, to the affirmation 36~ BOOK REVIEWS that " God and history are conjoined at the point of . . . free, liberating , emancipatory, transfigurative praxis ..." (147, 162-3, 191). After explaining the inadequacy of the classical model of salvation history (Chapter I), Hodgson develops his approach to the problem around the three central ideas of God (Chapter II), history (Chapter III), and freedom (Chapter IV). A concluding epilogue brings together Hodgson's understanding of the presence of God in history and of the eschatological presence of history in God. Throughout the hook there is a dialogue with and a critique of various postmodern thinkers who question the very notions of God, history, and freedom (162). In postmodern thought, history is a series of mere human constructions-figments of human imagination which need to he "deconstructed." Descriptions of God's action in history dissolve into a "self-referential interplay of signs-an endless milieu of significations that refers to nothing other than itself" {37). In response to postmodernism, Hodgson follows neither the way of " absolutism " by seeking to return to " orthodox doctrine and confessional tradition " nor the way of relativism by pretending that nothing can he " known, believed, or acted upon." He rather points the way to " revision ," to "retrieving and rethinking the deconstructed tradition" (29). The thought of G. W. F. Hegel and Ernst Troeltsch are his consistent tools in this work of revision, and the many years he has spent in preparing a critical edition and translation of Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion provide him with an admirable expertise in using these tools (8, 147). The revision involves a reconstruction or sublation (Aufhebung) of the traditional understanding of God's presence in salvation...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 361-365
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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