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God as Reason

Essays in Philosophical Theology

Vittorio Hösle

Publication Year: 2013

In God as Reason: Essays in Philosophical Theology, Vittorio Hösle presents a systematic exploration of the relation between theology and philosophy. In examining the problems and historical precursors of rational theology, he calls on philosophy, theology, history of science, and the history of ideas to find an interpretation of Christianity that is compatible with a genuine commitment to reason. The essays in the first part of God as Reason deal with issues of philosophical theology. Hösle sketches the challenges that a rationalist theology must face and discusses some of the central ones, such as the possibility of a teleological interpretation of nature after Darwin, the theodicy issue, freedom versus determinism, the mind-body problem, and the relation in general between religion, theology, and philosophy. In the essays of the second part, Hösle studies the historical development of philosophical approaches to the Bible, the continuity between the New Testament concept of pneuma and the concept of Geist (spirit) in German idealism, and the rationalist theologies of Anselm, Abelard, Llull, and Nicholas of Cusa, whose innovative philosophy of mathematics is the topic of one of the chapters. The book concludes with a thorough evaluation of Charles Taylor’s theory of secularization.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xiv

Philosophy and Christianity are both based on a special relationship to the Logos, that is, Reason, and yet they have often been inimical to each other. The deepest cause is that both have absolute claims to defend, and a plurality of absolute claims inevitably causes difficulties, if they contradict each other. Perhaps it is a wise solution to prevent any such contradiction...

Philosophical Theology

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Chapter 1: The Idea of a Rationalistic Philosophy of Religion and Its Challenges

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pp. 1-23

One of the most important intellectual changes that has occurred within the Catholic Church in the last decades is the shift away from fideism toward rationalism—or, to be more precise, and to use comparative rather than classificatory concepts, a move from a more fideistic to a more rationalistic stance.1 For there is no sharp demarcation but rather a ...

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Chapter 2: Why Teleological Principles Are Inevitable for Reason

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pp. 24-49

One of the most amiable characteristics of Charles Darwin is doubtless his modesty. In his Autobiography, which was begun in 1876 and continued to receive additions until 1882, he sincerely avers that his work has been “over and over again greatly overpraised”1 and never claims to be particularly talented in metaphysical matters: “My power to follow a long and...

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Chapter 3: Theodicy Strategies in Leibniz, Hegel, Jonas

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pp. 50-74

Much has been written about the moral, political, and social import of religion; even critical intellectuals easily and quickly agree about that. But presumably the theoretical relevance of religion is not inferior to its practical significance. By advocating propositions that appear counterintuitive,...

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Chapter 4: Rationalism, Determinism, Freedom

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pp. 75-100

An excellent book about determinism ends with the following advice: “As a practical ‘solution’ I recommend the ostrich tactic: don’t think too closely or too long on the issues raised here, and in daily life continue with the presumption that the ‘I’ that chooses and the self to which we attach value judgments are autonomous. Let those who want to call...

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Chapter 5:Encephalius: A Conversation about the Mind-Body Problem

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pp. 101-136

Philonous: Theophilus, what are you thinking about? To be sure, I can tell by your facial expression that you are concentrating intently and meditating on something difficult, but I cannot discover the content of your thoughts. Only you have immediate access to that content, and it is up to your free will alone whether you want to share it with us....

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Chapter 6: Religion, Theology, Philosophy

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pp. 137-152

In our age, a fresh contemplation of the relation between theology and philosophy is perhaps more urgent than ever. The manifest crisis Christian theology has been laboring under for several decades now is partly a result of the upheavals that the concept of philosophy underwent in the late nineteenth century, which have exerted not always an immediate and...

A Rationalist’s Tradition: Interpretations of Classical Texts

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Chapter 7: Philosophy and the Interpretation of the Bible

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pp. 155-185

One can hardly deny that hermeneutics is one of the basic disciplines of philosophy. Philosophers deal not only (or at least ought not to deal only) with texts and other entities in need of interpretation, such as lectures or discussions at conferences, but certainly they dedicate to them a very great amount of their time. Partly they are the direct object of their efforts,...

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Chapter 8: To What Extent Is the Concept of Spirit (Geist) in German Idealism a Legitimate Heir to the Concept of Spirit (Pneuma) in the New Testament?

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pp. 186-201

Theology has a peculiar status within the theory of science. On the one hand it is, as its name says, not just a human science (Geisteswissenschaft) dealing with the reconstruction of beliefs, for its theme is God himself. Its concern is not primarily of a hermeneutic-historical kind: it cannot, in contrast to the scientific study of religion, be satisfied with an investigation...

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Chapter 9: Reasons, Emotions, and God’s Presence in Anselm of Canterbury’s Dialogue Cur Deus homo

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pp. 202-222

One of the most important results of the historiography of medieval philosophy in the twentieth century was the rejection of the monolithic image that the neo-scholastic revival of medieval thought had favored in the late nineteenth century. One of the reasons medieval philosophy is an important epoch in the history of philosophy is precisely that it contains...

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Chapter 10: Interreligious Dialogues during the Middle Ages and Early Modernity

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pp. 223-249

One of the defining features of religiosity in the contemporary world is the fact that almost every religious person is confronted, already in his immediate life-world, with a plurality of religious offers. This is one of the necessary consequences of globalization—the expansion of our historical and geographical horizon, the mixing of people through migrations...

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Chapter 11: Platonism and Anti-Platonism in Nicholas of Cusa’s Philosophy of Mathematics

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pp. 250-271

One of the reasons Cusanus so deeply fascinates the historians both of ideas and of philosophy in our time consists certainly in the fact that he can be regarded as a Janus-faced thinker, whose thought simultaneously completes medieval philosophy and anticipates central ideas of modern...

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Chapter 12: Can Abraham Be Saved? And: Can Kierkegaard Be Saved?

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pp. 272-300

In this chapter I attempt to answer two questions that appear to stand in tension with one another. First, can Abraham be saved? This question is posed by Søren Kierkegaard with gripping intensity, and insofar as I take it up again, I at least recognize that the question must be asked, and that Kierkegaard demonstrates his greatness in asking it. On the other hand, ...

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Chapter 13: A Metaphysical History of Atheism

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pp. 301-312

Charles Taylor’s most recent book, pithily entitled A Secular Age,1 which grew out of the Gifford Lectures of 1999, can in many ways be considered a synthesis of his extensive oeuvre: his outstanding methodology in the history of ideas, trained in Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s phenomenological approach, is connected with his valuable reflections on ...


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pp. 313-376

Source Credits

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pp. 377-378


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pp. 379-409

E-ISBN-13: 9780268081652
E-ISBN-10: 0268081654
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268030988
Print-ISBN-10: 0268030987

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: NA
Publication Year: 2013