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Series: Vernon Series in Philosophy of Religion

To Know as I Am Known: The Communion of the Saints and the Ontology of Love

Mark McLeod-Harrison, George Fox University, USA

August 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-388-0
Availability: In stock
$62 £45 €50

The doctrine of the communion of the saints is central in the spiritual lives and theology of millions of Christians. However, it has been neglected by much recent philosophical scholarship. ‘To know as I am known’ addresses this oversight by offering a contemporary analysis of this venerated doctrine. By taking two related puzzles inherent in the doctrine itself, McLeod-Harrison explores and reflects on not only the communion of the saints but also on the ontology of love. Divided into five parts, this book provides an account of human nature and sin, before suggesting a way of thinking of love that is rooted both in the doctrine of the Trinity and in the thought of several contemporary analytic thinkers along with Dostoyevsky, Eckerd, Royce. While the integral issues of the doctrine are related to the “why-be-moral” problem, McLeod-Harrison shows that the challenges of the doctrine arise from the unique nature of agape (divine love). Thus, the communion of the saints comes through the challenges intact with a plausible interpretation of saintly motivation and human solidarity. Born out of 20 years of thought, this essential and sophisticated reflection serves as an important contribution to the field of the philosophy of religion that will inspire and engage students, scholars, and Christians, alike.

Answering the New Atheists: How Science Points to God and to the Benefits of Christianity

Anthony Walsh, Boise State University

May 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-390-3
Availability: In stock
$59 £42 €48

In the face of increasing attacks on Christianity by militant new atheists, Christians should be able to robustly defend their beliefs in the language spoken by Christianity’s detractors—science. Atheists claim that science and religion are incompatible and in constant conflict, but this book argues that this is assuredly not true. In order to rebut the polemic agenda of the new atheists who want God banned from the public square, this book engages with the physical and natural sciences, social science, philosophy, and history. It shows that evidence from these diverse disciplines constitutes clear signposts to God and the benefits of Christianity for societies, families, and individuals. Answering the New Atheists begins by examining what new atheism is, before demolishing its claim that Christianity is harmful by showing the many benefits it has for freedom and democracy, morality, longevity, and physical and mental health. Many historians of science contend that science was given its impetus by the Christian principle that a rational God wants us to discover his fingerprints on nature. Thus, in subsequent chapters, Walsh presents a well-informed and philosophical-based analysis of the Big Bang and cosmic fine-tuning, the unimaginable improbability of factors that make this planet habitable, and the multiverse often called the “last refuge of the desperate atheist.” Interdisciplinary in its approach, this book adeptly explores the very problematic issues of the origin and evolution of life that have forced many top-rate scientists including Nobel Prize winners, who have thought deeply about the philosophical meaning of their work, to accept God as the Creator of everything.

Christian and Islamic Philosophies of Time

Edited by Marcin Podbielski, Jesuit University Ignatianum, Kraków, Poland and Sotiris Mitralexis, City University of Istanbul, Turkey; University of Winchester, UK

April 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-296-8
Availability: In stock
$58 £43 €49

This volume constitutes an attempt at bringing together philosophies of time—or more precisely, philosophies on time and, in a concomitant way, history—emerging from Christianity’s and Islam’s intellectual histories. Starting from the Neoplatonic heritage and the voice of classical philosophy, the volume enters the Byzantine and Arabic intellectual worlds up to Ibn Al-Arabi’s times. A conscious choice in this volume is not to engage with, perhaps, the most prominent figures of Christian and Arabic philosophy, i.e., Augustine on the one hand and Avicenna/Ibn Sina on the other, precisely because these have attracted so much attention due to their prominence in their respective traditions—and beyond. In a certain way, Maximus the Confessor and Ibn Al-Arabi—together with Al-Fārābi—emerge as alternative representatives of their two traditions in this volume, offering two axes for this endeavor. The synthesis of those approaches on time and history, their comparison rather than their mere co-existence, is left to the reader’s critical inquiry and philosophical investigation.

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.

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.

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