Book Review: Jonathan Edwards: A life. By George M. Marsden. Yale University Press. 505 pp. Only one portrait of Jonathan Edwards was painted during his lifetime, a rather conventional “likeness” done by the Boston-based painter Joseph Badger. The face is severe, aloof, unsmiling and suspiciously similar to many of the other faces in Badger’s …
Sixth in a Series: New Turns in Religious Thought Women theologians are still rarities; in another ten years this may not be the case. Fifteen years ago when I started work on a Ph.D. at Yale, they were even more rare, but I realized it less then than I do now. Formation counts, of course, …
The world is the outcome of movement. Whether we consider the rocky layers enveloping the Earth, the arrangement of the forms of life that inhabit it, the variety of civilizations to which it has given birth, or the structure of languages spoken upon it, we are forced to the same conclusion: that everything is the sum of the past and that nothing is comprehensible except through its history. ‘Nature’ is the equivalent of ‘becoming’, i.e., self-creation.
For Charles Hartshorne, a metaphysical statement is a unique form of statement. It is to be distinguished from empirical (that is, factual) assertions, which if true at all are true contingently. Metaphysical statements, if true, are true not contingently but necessarily.
If religion is significant when it deals with the whole range of man’s experience (which it is the business of reason to coordinate) and when it is concerned with the widest meanings, connections, and implications (all of which are the province of reason), and if religion is good when it promotes community (which is the function of reason in the life of the mind), it follows that reason must be a powerful ally of significant and good religion.
Hartshorne’s dependence upon Whitehead finds clearest expression in his enthusiastic adoption of Whitehead’s view of the universe as essentially one of perpetual change and becoming, in opposition to the dominant views of traditional Western philosophy and theology that the basic realities of both God and the universe endure permanently without essential change.
At least there can be no doubt that Jesus like other agitators died on the cross as a Messianic prophet.
Using the Roman Catholic mass as a metaphor for his philosophical understanding of man in relation to the universe, the author explores in poetic prose the unity and sacredness of all creation using concepts like power, Word (logos), and fire to relate to ecclesiastical terms like communion and prayer, and emphasizing the simplicity, coherence and harmony of everything through the universal presence of the Word.
Perhaps no other phrase so aptly characterizes the quality and significance of Martin Buber’s life and thought as the one of the ‘narrow ridge.’ It expresses not only the ‘holy insecurity’ of his existentialist philosophy but also the ‘I-Thou,’ or dialogical, philosophy which he has formulated as a genuine third alternative to the insistent either-or’s of our age.
While achievements in practical and scientific matters has progressed by leaps and bounds, the presentation of the Christian religion is still frequently made in an atmosphere at once stuffy and old-fashioned.