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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 3rd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199263479
ISBN-10: 0199263477
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Davies' book is among the best -- if not the best -- introductions to philosophy of religion. It is engaging, clear, rich in arguments, and provocative. This book provides a wonderful entry point into the field as well as offering the trained scholar some powerful, challenging arguments."--Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf's College


"I am stunned at the completeness of the work, and especially at its equanimity in approaching and helping others to grasp quite contrary philosophical positions . . . a masterpiece of its genre."--David B. Burrell, University of Notre Dame


"Once again, Davies' treatment of the issues is sufficiently engaged to excite the reader's attention, and sufficiently sympathetic to alternative viewpoints to meet the needs of a beginner in the subject."--Mark Wynn, University of Exeter


About the Author


Brian Davies is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (January 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199263477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199263479
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Brian Davies takes complicated issues involving God, metaphysics, ethics, etc. and presents them in clear, common language anyone can read. It is clear from reading Davies' book that he has been in dialogue with philosophers who come at these subjects from many contrasting perspectives. He presents the varying arguments, demonstrates their strengths and weeknesses and, in the end, leaves it up to the reader to decide whether or not to support the arguments presented. Great reference book for anyone engaged in the philosophy of religion or in metaphysics.
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Format: Paperback
This book was my "textbook" when I took Philosohy of Religion back in 1985. Compared to most philosphy of religion books, Brian Davies does an excellent job in reviewing, describing, explaining, and showing the strengths and weakness of each metaphysical idea without showing too much of a bias one way or the other.
This text is small, yet, thorough. He deals masterfully with some of the biggest arguments for God: Ontological, cosmological, and teleogical as well as others. His chapter on miracles is easy to understand and well written. The book doesn't try to sway the student in any direction, but instead, shows that it is reasonable to believe or not to believe in God.
Well balanced.
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By A Customer on November 19, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book to teach Theology in seminary and found it always successful at engaging the students and generating real discussions. The biggest difficulty for students is to see the point of the issues that Theologians wrestle with and Davies does an excellent job with that. I would recommend this for those reading alone as well as for groups of adults or teachers of introductory courses. Individual chapters could also be very useful for more focused discussions or for parts of courses.
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Format: Paperback
Though I took a course in the philosophy of religion as an undergraduate some years ago, I needed a refresher and Brian Davies' AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION proved an accessible resource. Davies' book is set up in twelve chapters on the subjects of 1) concepts of God, 2) philosophy and religious belief, 3) cosmological arguments, 4) design arguments, 5) ontological arguments, 6) experience and God, 7) talking about God, 8) divine simplicity, 9) omnipotence and omniscience, 10) God and evil, 11) miracles, 12) morality and religion, and 13) life after death.

As an introductory textbook, Davies' book serves fairly well. I especially like his clear explanation of the difference between classical theists and theistic personalism, a recent trend which older textbooks don't adequately cover. I have only a couple of complaints. The first is that his explanation of the ontological arguments isn't as clearly written as it could have been. The ontological argument is as opaque as a Zen koan to most of the public, and demands just the right approach. The other weak aspect of the book is the lack of any discussion of the probability calculus as used in the philosophy of religion, widely known from e.g. Swinburne's THE RESURRECTION OF GOD INCARNATE.

Nonetheless, Davies' book seems to be a good choice if you want to start in this field from scratch. Be prepared, however, to start chasing primary documents soon.
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Format: Paperback
Davies' Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion is clear and concise. He quotes the major philosophers and brings their varying views together for the reader's comparison. I have not studied philosophy or religion and found this fairly easy to comprehend; it opened my eyes to a number of aspects of religious thought and I feel, having read it, on more solid footing in my thinking about God, creation, miracles, evil, and so on.
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Format: Paperback
I'm reading this as part of a theology class, and I've instantly fell in love with it. Davies presents a clear, unbiased view of the many historical arguments for and against the existence of a supreme being, and does so in artful, elegant prose. The book examines the teachings of a veritable array of philosophers, including Humes, Aquinus, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, as well as many others. Overall, a comprehensive entry level guide to the subject.
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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
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