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Subject: Philosophy

Better to Reign in Hell, Than Serve In Heaven

Satan's Metamorphosis From a Heavenly Council Member to the Ruler of Pandaemonium

Allan Wright, University of Alberta

October 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-287-6
Availability: In stock
$57 £47 €54

In this monograph, I argue that Satan was not perceived as a universal malevolent deity, the embodiment of evil, or the “ruler of Pandemonium” within first century Christian literature or even within second and third century Christian discourses as some scholars have insisted. Instead, for early “Christian” authors, Satan represented a pejorative term used to describe terrestrial, tangible, and concrete social realities, perceived of as adversaries. To reach this conclusion, I explore the narrative character of Satan selectively within the Hebrew Bible, intertestamental literature, Mark, Matthew, Luke, Q, the Book of Revelation, the Nag Hammadi texts, and the Ante-Nicene fathers. I argue that certain scholars’ such as Jeffrey Burton Russell, Miguel A. De La Torre, Albert Hernandez, Peter Stanford, Paul Carus, and Gerd Theissen, homogenized reconstructions of the “New Testament Satan” as the universalized incarnation of evil and that God’s absolute cosmic enemy is absent from early Christian orthodox literature, such as Mark, Matthew, Luke, Q, the Book of Revelation, and certain writings from the Ante-Nicene Fathers. Using Jonathan Z. Smith’s essay Here, There, and Anywhere, I suggest that the cosmic dualist approach to Satan as God’s absolute cosmic enemy resulted from the changing social topography of the early fourth century where Christian “insider” and “outsider” adversaries were diminishing. With these threats fading, early Christians universalized a perceived chaotic cosmic enemy, namely Satan, being influenced by the Gnostic demiurge, who disrupts God’s terrestrial and cosmic order. Therefore, Satan transitioned from a “here,” “insider,” and “there,” “outsider,” threat to a universal “anywhere” threat. This study could be employed as a characterization study, New Testament theory and application for classroom references or research purposes.

Beyond Realism: Seeking the Divine Other

A Study in Applied Metaphysics

Simon Smith, University of Surrey

June 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-225-8
Availability: In stock
$65 £55 €60

The meaning of “God-talk” remains the fundamental issue facing religious thinkers today. This study concerns the analogies needed to make sense of that talk. Embracing those analogies signals the application of Austin Farrer’s cutting-edge theology. Almost fifty years after his death, Farrer remains one of the twentieth century’s last great metaphysical minds, his grasp of faith and philosophy unequalled. Having defended religious thought against both Positivist and Process reduction, he pursued his own revision of scholastic tradition, ultimately developing the vital corrective to an overweening impersonalism, one which depersonalises the divine so severs the cosmological connection. Following this course returns us to an earlier tradition, to a metaphysic of persons exemplified in the expressions of lived faith. This draws upon the logic of personal identity: what it means to be, or rather, to become, a person. Hence, journey’s end lies in a Feuerbachian anthropology of theology or ‘anthropotheism’. Like Farrer, Feuerbach used the believer’s language to relocate theology and philosophy within a framework that makes fertile use of anthropomorphic personifications to ‘think’ God. Revisiting the personalist presuppositions of metaphysics in this way throws light on the most vital questions of personal identity. To answer them is to ‘draw’ reality on a grander scale than either realism or consequentialism is capable of. Most importantly, it is locate our place within that image. Doing theology dynamically or psychologically informed – as both Farrer and Feuerbach insisted – means recognising the constitutive role such images play in self-construction. Without active participation in our ideals and aspirations, we cannot become persons at all; participation entails the enactment of our prospective selves. This returns us to the practice of piety: faith in a Godly person. Here we find the reconstruction of Feuerbach’s anthropology as applied theology and, by extension or amplification, the completion of Farrer’s personalist metaphysics.

Atheism and the Christian Faith

Edited by William H. U. Anderson, Concordia University of Edmonton, Canada

June 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-173-2
Availability: In stock
$70 £60 €67

Atheism and the Christian Faith is an anthology of the proceedings from a conference of the same name which convened at Concordia University of Edmonton in May 2016. The book represents a wide diversity of subtopics—primarily from a philosophical perspective—including submissions from atheists, agnostics and theists. This combination of topics and perspectives makes the book totally unique. There are arguments for and against theism. The foreword to the book is by Professor Richard Swinburne, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Oxford University, who contributes two chapters to the book: “Why Believe That There is a God?” and “Why God Allows Suffering”. The book includes a chapter from renowned astrophysicist, and former student of Stephen Hawkins, Professor Dr. Don Page from the University of Alberta “On the Optimal Argument for the Existence of God”. Atheism and the Christian Faith advances arguments around serious philosophical issues of direct relevance to contemporary society. It will be of interest to a broad range of scholars in philosophy, theology and epistemology.

Neither Capital, Nor Class

A Critical Analysis Of Pierre Bourdieu's Theoretical Framework

Jacek Tittenbrun, University of Poznan, Poland

June 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-207-4
Availability: In stock
$75 £65 €72

This book offers an in-depth examination of Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework. The book is not just a collection of more or less critical remarks but constitutes a coherent whole, underpinned by an original analytical framework. This conceptual apparatus makes it possible to present some alternative solutions to the theoretical problems under consideration. The book goes largely against the grain of views that are dominant in the literature on Bourdieu. Therefore, its conclusions may be surprising to many a reader. The book demonstrates that Bourdieu's well-known theory of 'capital' forms is untenable, resembling more an illegitimate metaphor rather than a scientific concept. In a similar vein, the Bourdesian class theory should be largely regarded as a variant of social stratification rather than class. There are many theoretical and empirical problems with Bourdieu's theory of social and cultural reproduction as well. There is more to the above criticisms than meets the eye. The point is that many weaknesses of Bourdieu's style of theorising seem to stem from his intellectual dependence upon structuralism, especially in Claude Lévi-Strauss' version. It is this affinity that accounts for such features of Bourdieu's approach as its essentialism, formalism and epistemic idealism. The book will be of interest primarily to students of Bourdieu's many and varied contributions to social theory. In view of Bourdieu's immense influence, it will also hold interest to critical scholars in political science, economic sociology and political philosophy.

Bertrand Russell’s Life and Legacy

Edited by Peter Stone, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

June 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-191-6
Availability: In stock
$60 £49 €57

Almost five decades after his death, there is still ample reason to pay attention to the life and legacy of Bertrand Russell. This is true not only because of his role as one of the founders of analytic philosophy, but also because of his important place in twentieth-century history as an educator, public intellectual, critic of organized religion, humanist, and peace activist. The papers in this anthology explore Russell’s life and legacy from a wide variety of perspectives. This is altogether fitting, given the many-sided nature of Russell, his life, and his work. The first section of the book considers Russell the man, and draws lessons from Russell’s complicated personal life. The second examines Russell the philosopher, and the philosophical world within which his work was embedded. The third scrutinizes Russell the atheist and critic of organized religion, inquiring which parts of his critical stance are worth emulating today. The final section revisits Russell the political activist; it directs an eye both at Russell’s own long career of peace activism, but also at his place in a highly political family tradition of which he was justifiably proud. This book thus constitutes an invitation, if one were needed, to the world of Bertrand Russell. Those new to Russell, but with an interest in biography, philosophy, religion, or politics, will hopefully find something to learn here. This may spark an interest in learning more about Russell. But this book is not just intended for the Russell neophyte. The book sheds fresh light on a number of topics central to Russell studies—his connections to other philosophers, for example. Scholars well-versed in Russell studies will enjoy grappling with the treatment given to these topics here.

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