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BOOK REVIEWS 667 It is appropriate to conclude by congratulating the publishers upon their translator and editors, and the theological community upon the availability in English at long last of a masterpiece whose range and power rebuke the triviality of most of what passes for Catholic theology today. Marquette University Milwaukee, Wisconsin DONALD J. KEEFE, S.J.. The God of Faith and Reason. By RoBERT SOKOLOWSKI. Notre Dame, London: University of Notre Dame Press. 1982. Pp. 172. No price given. In his most recent book, The G.od of Faith and Reason, Robert Solokowski seeks to highlight certain views he evidently regards as particularly distinctive of authentic Christian philosophy and/or theology. Foremost among them the author would rank the absolute and major real distinction between God and the world-a distinction he will argue is completely unknown in ancient pagan thought-although he will also emphasize, in somewhat less pronounced fashion, the harmony between faith and reason and grace and nature, where the former of each of these two pairs is seen to complete or perfect the latter. In his attempt to stress what is certainly a Christian view of the radical distinction between God and the universe Sokolowski finds theĀ· Anselmian argument especially valuable, apparently not so much because he believes it is a sound argument (although he does) as because he sees it as perhaps the first to imply the premise that God, as " that being than which no greater can be thought," must, if lfo exists, be so completely independent of the world that He would not be leastwise diminished in being or in goodness if it-the world-did not exist. As he will express this last point (and do so several times), " God plus the world is not greater than God alone." Since Sokolowski believes that Christianity is best understood in its specific uniqueness by being contrasted with paganism (he offers two reasons for this opinion : (1) the fact that modern Western thought, as an aftermath to Christianity, has been in some ways colored by it, and (2) the apparently less obvious one that whereas pagan thought managed to recognize the order of natural necessities, this insight has become obscured in our post-Christian era, thus blurring the distinction between grace and nature and even compromising the integrity of the latter), he begins his argument by contrasting the Christian concept of God's re- 668 BOOK REVIEWS lationship to the world with that to be found in ancient Greek philosophy. According to him, the god or gods of pagan Greek philosophy were viewed as belonging to the world over which they were thought to exercise some causal influence. Thus he observes that no matter how Aristotle's God is described, as the unmoved mover or as the self-thinking thought, he is part of the world and it is obviously necessary that there be other things besides himself, whether he is aware of them or not (p. 16). As Sokolowski will indeed suggest later, the reason why Aristotle (and the other Greek philosophers) saw the world as necessary is that, lacking a doctrine of creation, they assumed its existence. A similar point is made with respect to Plato's "theology " : " Even the One or the Good is taken as ' part' of what is; it is the One by being One over, for, and in many, never by being one only alone by itself" (p. 18). Nor, finally, does Plotinus's philosophy escape this criticism for, as Sokolowski remarks concerning the One, "it too cannot 'be' without there also being its reflections and its emanations in the other hypostases of the Mind and the Soul and in the things of this world" (p. 18). Obviously, what Sokolowski has carefully constructed here is the thesis that a metaphysics of creation is philosophically (and theologically) mandatory if beings other than God are to be considered completely unnecessary and His causal agency is to be seen as absolutely free or gratuitous. To quote him on this point: "And the world must be understood appropriately as that which might not have been. The world and everything in it is appreciated as a gift brought about by a generosity that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 667-671
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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