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1. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Steven T. Ostovich Messianic History in Benjamin and Metz
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History is not the record of humanity’s progress through otherwise empty time. It is rather to be conceived messianically, i.e., in terms of God’s eschatological promises and the interruptive capacity of dangerous memories of human suffering. This insight is contained in both the historical philosophy of Walter Benjamin and the political theology of Johann Baptist Metz. Metz’s theological categories also contribute an understanding of messianic history that avoids the dualism of Benjamin’s description of history in both messianic and materialist terms.
2. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
David M. Hammond Hayden White: Meaning and Truth in History
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Hayden White’s proposal that the meaning of historical writing is determined by the figure of speech (“trope”) which the historian applies to the data of research challenges a naive understanding of historical writing concerned merely with the presentation of past facts . To answer the charge that the poetic imposition of meaning does not allow for truthful representation of the Holocaust, White appeals to the knowable facts of the past which are then structured according to a figure of speech. He thus hopes to secure the element of ideology critique while maintaining that facts are arranged according ta the historian’s decision and not according to the historian’s understanding of what was, in Lonergan’s language, “going forward” in the past. This essay argues that, although meaning is not already present in the events of the past, neither is it simply imposed on these events by the historian’s trope. Lonergan’s more adequate construal of historical writing recognizes the dynamism of inquiry which rejects a naive view of facts, yet also argues for the possibility of truthful, albeit always partial, representations of events.
3. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Walter Soffer Descartes’ Secular Paradise: The Discourse on Method as Biblical Criticism
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This paper attempts to show the way in which the Discourse on Method participates in the antitheological launching of the modern project---the securing of a secular paradise by the “universal instrument” of human reason. It is argued that the order of the presentation of the parts of the Discourse conceals the true architectonic order of the Cartesian edifice because the physics of Part Five is more foundational than the metaphysics which seemingly must ground it in Part Four.
4. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Theresa Sanders Rest for the Restless?: Karl Rahner, Being, and the Evocation of Transcendence
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In Spirit in the World, Karl Rahner contends that the existence of an Absolute Being is affirmed. However, such an affirmation is beyond the scope of his own methodology. Since the questions that characterize the philosophical theology of Rahner are also those that occupy postmodern thought (structures of knowing, the status of ontology, and the constitution of the subject) , this essay attempts ta read Rahner through the insights of philosophers such as Derrida and Taylor. The thesis is that Rahner’s method does not lead to Absolute Being; rather, God can be understaod as the restlessness that drives the human heart.
5. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Philip J. Rossi Editor’s Page
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6. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
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7. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
John J. Conley The Silence of Descartes
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Certain passages in the Meditations indicate a silence of Descartes before the mystery of God. These passages underscore the inadequacy of reason to penetrate God’s attributes. Descartes underlines the incomprehensibility of God’s infinity and God’s purposes. He evokes an intuitive knowledge of God which transcends the conceptual. Relevant passages in the correspondence of Descartes indicate Descartes’s repeated concern with the limits of philosophical theology and support a deconstruction of the Medítations which privileges its recurrent theologia negativa. Such an interpretation of the religious theory in public and private Cartesian texts contests the persistent “rationalist” interpretation of Descartes, which reduces the theology of the Meditations to a series of deductive proofs.
8. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
Frank Schalow The Dialectic of Human Freedom: Schelling on Love and Evil
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Schelling’s philosophy has been construed either as endorsing a Christian view of revelation or as setting the stage for an existentialist account of human freedom. There has been a tendency to ignore the interface of Schelling’s task, namely, as exploring the presuppositions that govern an attempt to rethink the affinity between the Divine and the human will. This paper aims to rectify the above deficiency; it shows how Schelling offers a more radical account of human freedom than can be found in either a conventional Christian or in a secular account of the frailty of the human situation. The key to this interpretation lies in showing that Schelling developed a dialectic of human freedom which establishes how the self-devisiveness of evil can arise as a corollary to the harmony of love. Through his dialectic, Schelling cultivates the insights of German idealism in a manner which clarifies rather than undermines the basic motifs of Christianity.
9. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
Jacquet Chantal Sub Quadam Specie Aeternitatis: Signification et Valeur de Cette Expression Chez Spinoza
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L’enjeu de cette analyse de la signification de l’expression sub quadam specie aeternitatis est double: projeter un éclairage nouveau, d’une part sur la nature des rapports entre raison et science intuitive, d’autre part sur l’articulation entre durée et éternité. Que les formules sub specie et sub quadam specie aeternitatis soient équivalentes ou non, il s’agit dans les deux cas de figure, de déterminer les raisons de la présence, puis de la disparition de l’adjectif quadam. Enfin on examine les occurrences de l’expression sub quadam specie aeternitatis et des deux autres variantes pour mieux cerner leur signification et leur portée.
10. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
Keith Burgess-Jackson Anselm, Gaunilo, and Lost Island
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The received view is that Gaunilo’s attempted refutation of Anselm’s ontological argument fails. But those who believe this do not agree as to why it fails. The aim of this essay is to show that whether the attempted refutation succeeds depends crucially on how one formulates the so-called greatmaking principle on which Anselm’s argument rests . This principle has largely been ignored by contemporary philosophers, who have chosen to focus on other aspects of the argument. I sketch two analyses of metaphysical greatness and suggest that on one of them, which Anselm may have held, his argument avoids Gaunilo’s criticism.
11. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
Hendrik Hart Faith as Trust and Belief as Intellectual Credulity: A Response to William Sweet
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In response to the critique of his work by William Sweet, Hendrik Hart first offers some terminological clarifications. The important difference between ‘faith’ (trust in God) and ‘belief’ (our network of accepted understandings of things, expressed in concepts and propositions) is emphasized and his use of terms such as ‘religion,’ ‘knowledge,’ and ‘truth’ are explained. Hart then clarifies his approach to the Western philosophical tradition . He argues that Christian accommodation to philosophy and its idea of ‘reason’ as ultimate arbiter have hindered proper understanding of biblical faith. He finds support for his critique within the philosophical tradition itself, particularly in the form of feminist and postmodern thought. In the end, he offers a vision of religious truth, encapsulated in Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the truth,” that is based upon the embodiment of God’s will and intent.
12. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
William Sweet Faith, Belief and Religious Truth: A Rejoinder to Hart
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William Sweet offers a rejoinder to Hendrik Hart’s response. He begins with terminological considerations, and argues that, despite Hart’s further clarifications regarding his use of such terms as ‘faith,’ ‘belief,’ and ‘rational,’ the concerns raised in his first critical essay (“Anti-foundationalism, Hendrik Hart, and the Nature and Function of Religious Belief,” Philosophy & Theology 8:2) still stand. He raises two substantive issues which, he argues, Hart has yet to explain fully and convincingly: the nature of faith, and how what religious believers say about their faith can be understood as meaningful or true. He concludes by suggesting that the future conversation focus on two central questions: the nature of faith, and whether Hart is arguing for an ‘alternative’ vision of meaning and truth, or simply a ‘broader’ one.
13. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 3
Philip J. Rossi Editor’s Page
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14. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Caroline J. Simon Just Friends, Friends and Lovers, or…?
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This paper explores the question of whether there is a conceptual distinction between romantic love and friendship and whether such a distinction would support the normative conclusion that friends should not be lovers. Laurence Thomas has argued that, given an egalitarian conception of romantic love, there is no such distinction between romantic love and friendship. This paper shows that equally egalitarian alternatives to Thomas’s conceptions of love and friendship do suggest that friends should not be lovers. Moreover, the alternative view of romantic love defended in the paper supports a link between romantic love and sexual exclusivity.
15. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
James Gaffney Patriotism: Virtue or Vice?
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The term “patriotism” has had different meanings, deriving from different historical circumstances. In its predominant modern sense it has been condemned as vicious, extolled as virtuous, and judged to be a quality potentially virtuous, but only in moderation. It is argued that, as most commonly understood by writers in this century, neither unrestricted patriotism, nor even moderate patriotism, is a virtue, but it is a socially pernicious vice, the more virulent for being associared with virtue.
16. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Hendrik Hart Liberalism, Pluralism, and Lived Faith
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Liberalism is no longer defensible as a strategy for coping with conflicts in a pluralistic society, but is itself one of the pluralities in conflict. Hence its strategy for coping with plurality---tolerant suspension or privatization of the deep commitments that are the roots of conflict, coupled with rational discussion to form a public consensus not connected to the plurality of commitments---can no longer serve as a common sense approach for all citizens. In this paper I explore as a solution the continuation of discussion toward shared public policy, but now discussion openly tied to underlying commitments. Truth in this context is pursued not as a matter of argument, but as fruitful consequences of action.
17. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
William Sweet Anti-foundationalism, Hendrik Hart and the Nature and Function of Religious Belief
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ln a number of recent essays, Hendrik Hart has elaborated an account of the nature and function of religious belief that, he believes, is post-modern in inspiration and anti-foundationalist in character. ln this paper, I reconstruct what I take to be Hart’s central claims. While Hart does remind us of some important aspects of the nature of religious belief---aspects often overlooked by many critics---l suggest that there are several problems in the account he provides, that there are tensions between his view of religious belief and his claims about how it can function, and that it is not clear that he ultimately avoids adopting a variant of the foundationalism he explicitly rejects.
18. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Phillip J. Rossi Editor’s Page
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19. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Jon Nilson The Unity of the Churches: Actual Possibility or Eschatological Actuality?
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This paper contends that the dispute between Avery Dulles and Karl Rahner on the prospects for the unity of the churches is not fundamentally theological. Instead, their sharply contrasting perceptions of contemporary culture lead them to construe the ecumenical imperative quite differendy. If this analysis is correct, what may be most divisive between and within the churches is not faith or doctrine at all but different readings of “the signs of the times.” If so, ecumenists will have to undertake cultural interpretation as an essential component of their work. Without careful cultural analyses, the goal of unity of the Christian churches may be held hostage to impressions stemming more from bias than reasoned judgments.
20. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Stephen Fields Blondel’s L’Action (1893) and Neo-Thomism’s Metaphysics of Symbol
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The first three sections of this study explain the debt that Karl Rahner’s metaphysics of symbol owes to the influence of Maurice Blondel and Joseph Maréchal. The concluding section suggests that a Blondel-inspired renewal of the metaphysics of symbol could challenge the restricted claim for reason offered by secular and religious post-modernity.