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God and Philosophy (The Powell Lectures Series) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0300000979 ISBN-10: 0300000979

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Product Details

  • Series: The Powell Lectures Series
  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 10, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300000979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300000979
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,745,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Patrick A Daley on July 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Thales of Miletus, whom tradition regards as the first Western philosopher, is well-known for the rationalist view that the first principle is water, and the religious statement, "all things are full of gods." (p. 1) For Gilson, this epitomizes the problems of relating philosophy and religion. How can religious and philosophical statements about God be reconciled? For Thales and the Greeks, Gilson argues that they cannot, but that it is otherwise with the Christian philosophies of Being.
On this basis, rejects the view that Greek philosophy is a rationalization of a religious viewpoint, apparently on the basis that one cannot interpret a world of personal forces in terms of things. However, F. M Cornford and others argued persuasively for the opposite view, and seem to have in great part won the battle. For example, the classic study of the presocratic philosophers by Kirk, Raven, and Schofield, as well as anthologies by Wheelwright and Barnes, begin with a consideration of their religious and mythological predecessors. So, it does not seem one can understand the origin of Greek philosophy without considering Greek religion.
How well does Gilson understand Greek religion? Is it true that "A world where everything comes from without, including their feelings and passions, their virtues and vices, such was the Greek religious world." (p. 13) As E. R. Dodds has pointed out, this did not seem to deprive them of a sense of responsibility. Before criticizing Gilson too strongly, we should remember that God and Philosophy originates in the Mahlon Powell Lectures on Philosophy at Indiana University in 1938-1939, and that Greek thought and religion are not really his specialty. Historical details aside, Gilson always raises pertinent questions.
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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jason Harrell on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
i gave this book 4 stars because it has motivated me to pursue more study on Aquinas. as for the book itself, it's far from perfect. i agree with the other reviewer in that, towards the end of the book, Gilson's thoughts seemed to lose structure and purpose. By the last chapter, I was scratching my head trying to figure out what his point was in adding another chapter. it was fairly organized right up to the discussion of the Deists, which seemed to be just thrown in so that no part of natural theology in the modern period would be left out. I could appreciate a few pages discussing the faults with following a strict scientism, which has seduced contemporary thinkers, but to devote an entire chapter to saying the same thing over and over again is just a waste of time. Overall, it was worth reading, but I doubt anyone will be convinced by any argument presented in this book. I think Gilson is preaching to the converted, because i doubt anyone but fellow Thomists and Christians agree with Gilson's assessment of the history of the relationship between religion and philosophy. If you've not familiarized yourself with Aquinas' thought, however, reading this book might challenge you to do so.
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