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An Elementary Christian Metaphysics [Paperback]

Joseph Owens
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 30, 1985 0268009163 978-0268009168
Joseph Owens presents an introduction to metaphysics designed to develop in the reader a habitus of thinking. Using original Thomistic texts and Etienne Gilson’s interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas, Owens examines the application of metaphysical principles to the issues that arise in a specifically Christian environment. An Elementary Christian Metaphysics focuses on the questions of existence and the nature of revealed truths. Following his historical introduction to metaphysics, Owens provides a general investigation of the first principles and causes of being and also a study of knowledge and of the divine nature and attributes in light of natural reason.

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Editorial Reviews


"...includes... a general investigation of beings... an analysis of knowledge... and... divine nature... in light of natural reason..." -- Studies in Religion, 15/1, 1986

About the Author

JOSEPH OWENS (1908–2005) taught philosophy at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the University of Toronto for forty years. He is the author of a number of books, including An Interpretation of Existence, also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Center for Thomistic Studies (April 30, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268009163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268009168
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Gem in a Mountain of Rubble June 16, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately this book is not as popular as it should be. Don't let the title fool you, this is not a book about "basic" metaphysics. However, it also not so advanced that one's mind would have to be in the stratosphere to understand it. Joseph Owens discusses one of, if not THE, most important aspects of Thomistic philosophy - Being (esse) and Existence (essence). This is the crux of metaphysics and is the necessary starting point to actually do philosophy properly. Owens begins his work with a brief historical sketch of metaphysics, and then he launches into a full scale explanation of the applications and observations of metaphysics. Owens also delineates the fact that metaphysics is necessary in all realms of philosophy. Moreover, Owens discusses epistemology and the necessity of metaphysics for actually doing epistemology. Owens discusses the various types of knowledge and how they are applicable and useful in philosophical systems. While the book is not too simplistic, Owens totes that the intent of the text is to inform "new" students of the why and how of metaphysics in all aspects of philosophy and theology. Owens believes, and I agree, that a proper understanding of metaphysics formulates good habits of reasoning and assertions in the mind and philosophy of the philosopher. Furthermore, Owens places great emphasis on Etienne Gilson's teaching on the subject of metaphysics. Therefore, it also makes for a nice commentary to Gilson (for those who might find Gilson a little difficult to comprehend). I cannot recommend this book enough - especially for the Christian philosopher.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not all that elementary December 3, 2000
By jl_reed
If you are a Christian and interested in philosophy, then this book is for you. Owens does an excellent job of introducing the student to the science of 'being as being.' However, it is not elementary as the title might suggest. There is a lot to digest, but the Christian intellectual will find a lot of answers to how a theist ought to do philosophy. The best feature are the footnotes. Owens directs the reader to other interesting pursuits. I cannot not recommend this book enough.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great work, but not for beginners January 16, 2002
By Cate b
Fr. Owens truly provides an outstanding work into Christian metaphysical thinking. While this book is titled an "Elementary" introduction and indeed it is, still the subject matter of metaphysics is not easy and hence this material is no cake walk. First time readers on metaphysics should probably read an easier primer, but after doing so they would do well to buy this work of Owens. It is very well done.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little note on Todd B. Vick's review October 9, 2000
In his review of "An Elementary Christian Metaphysics" Todd B. Vick says: "Joseph Owens discusses one of, if not THE, most important aspects of Thomistic philosophy - Being (esse) and Existence (essence)." The wording is mistaken. The topic is the real distinction between being (verb), existence (esse) as act and essence (essentia) as potency. Esse and essentia are the ontological components of finite being (noun) (ens). Thank you
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