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BOOK REVIEWS 315 also 31-32, 58-64). Wanting to secure some autonomy for practical reason, he makes it consist entirely in what distinguishes it from speculative reason. As a result he degrades it. The book is stimulating, and its ultimate goal quite positive. Had his immediate object not been so polemical, perhaps Rhonheimer would have been less apt to read his own ideas into St Thomas. Their presentation would then have been clearer and, philosophically, even more engaging. Pontifical University ofthe Holy Cross Rome, Italy STEPHEN L. BROCK The Shaping ofRationality: Toward Interdisciplinarity in Theology and Science. ByJ. WENTZELVAN HUYSSTEEN. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999. Pp. xii+ 303. $35.00 {cloth). ISBN 0-80283868 -5. The proper relating of faith and reason is perhaps the most knotted of all theological problems. The difficulty resides notsolelywithin the mystery offaith itself, but in how one understands the contours and capacities of human rationality. While theologians can claim some special expertise with the former, the same cannot be said about the latter. It falls within the province of philosophy to discern the character of reason, and theology must be attuned to its insights. Unfortunately, contemporary philosophy has proved an unreliable handmaid in this respect, failing to provide a stable definition for theologians to take up. Indeed, debates concerning the power of reason define our modern/ postmodern age. At one end ofthe spectrum reclines natural science, at ease with reason's power one day to attain a "theory of everything." At the other end are the humanities, either plagued by self-doubt or happily resigned to reason's impotency in the domains of meaning and value. It is no wonder, therefore, that so few theologians dare a new resolution to the problem of faith and reason, most being content to rely upon traditional formulae. The danger ofthis strategy is that a faith not properly related to a convincing conception ofreason is a faith that soon fails to convince. Among the great values of Wentzel van Huyssteen's latest work is its forthright recognition that theology cannot formulate its own idea of reason independent of philosophy or any other type of rational inquiry. Of special interest for him is the rationality operative in the natural sciences. An active participant in the dialogue of science and religion, Huyssteen is convinced that theologians must face squarely the fact that while natural science is seen by the majority of educated adults as the pinnacle of rationality, religious faith is 316 BOOK REVIEWS increasingly seen as a mode of sentiment, private at best and ruled by sheer irrationality at worst. Any approach to the relationship of faith and reason that leaves theology without the capacity for or an urgent interest in relating faith to the claims of science is, according to Huyssteen, the theological equivalent of whistling past the graveyard. At the same time, Huyssteen's approach to conceptions of reason outside the walls oftheology is far from subservient; rather, it represents a lively and critical engagement with contemporary philosophical debates. This attitude is reflected in the judgmentthat contemporary philosophy ofreason has reached a stalemate ยท between two exhausted options: foundationalism and nonfoundationalism. Huyssteen defines foundationalism as "the powerful thesis that our beliefs can indeed be warranted or justified by appealing to some item of knowledge that is self-evident or beyond doubt" (62). The idea is closely connected to the Enlightenment's dream of an experimental science that would provide a universal and certain path to the truth. Nonfoundationalism, on the other hand, belongs to the postmodern and repudiates the notion of a privileged path to knowledge. It asserts that when human beings experience anything-themselves, the world, the divine-that experience is determined by the cultural, religious, historical, and political domains in which they live. Absent a neutral standpoint or a universal method for discerning certain truth, epistemology, like experience itself, is contextual, shaped bywhat counts as good reasons for a particular group of persons living at a particular time and place and living within a particular tradition. In otherwords, we-whoever "we" are-label beliefs "justified" solely on the basis of their coherence with other beliefs "we" view as "justified." Instead of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 315-320
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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