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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion Paperback – January 8, 2004

ISBN-13: 000-0199263477 ISBN-10: 0199263477 Edition: 3rd

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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: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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As an introductory textbook, Davies' book serves fairly well.
Christopher Culver
It isnt biased I enjoyed reading it although i do wish i was a little less complicated to understand.
Sreenadh
I bought this book about fifteen years ago, but did not get round to reading it until last week.
trini

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1998
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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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K.H. on August 23, 2000
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 24, 2008
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kodoku on October 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book offers a very sensible, well-organized explanation of various major themes in the field (concepts of God, reasons for believing, what miracles are and whether they can be known, etc.) that takes into account several different points of view on each issue. It seems difficult to infer Davies' own position on the various issues just from reading the explanations, so it seems that a lot of effort was made to avoid any bias.

The material can get a bit dry, as it's presented as "Here is an issue. Here is why it's relevant. Here is how it's been formulated in the past. Here are some criticisms. Here are some answers to those criticisms. Here is another another formulation: etc... Conclusion: Both sides seem reasonable on this issue, it does not appear possible to conclusively go one way or the other." pretty much throughout the text. Not exactly page-turning stuff, though this is by no means a fatal flaw.

The other issue I have is that it doesn't really give a taste for some recent controversies or highly debated matters in the philosophic literature as of the writing of the book or most recent edition - it gives the impression that the subject is somewhat stagnant.

So to summarize - very solid introduction to the major themes in philosophy of religion, but not a very exciting read and you'll need to supplement your reading (many suggested readings are included) if you want to delve deeply in any particular topic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Sutor on October 10, 2008
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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