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101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology Paperback – July 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

""To theological students I, as a philosopher, have sometimes said that what I hope for is not that they become philosophers but that they become sure-footed in philosophy. These 101 definitions will be a great aid to becoming surefooted in philosophy. But apart from such utility for theology students, I myself found it fun to read around in them. They are crisp, lucid, accurate, and superbly informed. An admirable achievement!"

About the Author

Kelly James Clark is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Richard Lints isAndrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

James K. A. Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster / John Knox Press (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664225241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664225247
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been teaching in introduction to theology and systematic theology course for the past half decade, and if there is one deficit that I find fairly common among the students, it is a lack of knowledge about philosophy. Once upon a time, a young man going to seminary would have a background in liberal arts with a thorough grounding in the basics of philosophy - things have changed! Many seminary students are second-career, having had business or career-oriented educations, and every little philosophy along the way. This text is a very welcome resource for those students, as well as students who do have a background in philosophy, as a ready reference.

This is a book of philosophy terms - specifically theological terms are not covered save insofar as they are direct cross-over terms to theology. There are entries for key philosophers (Descartes, Heidegger, Hume, etc.) and key philosophical topics (ethics, metaphysics, etc.), as well as philosophical schools. Natural theology is covered - this was a topic in philosophy; hermeneutics is a cross-over term that gets dealt with in different ways.

One might quibble with some of the choices here, but for 101 topics in 100 pages, there will necessarily be omissions -- being interested in hermeneutics and Paul Ricoeur, I was sorry to not see Ricoeur's name in the book, mentioned in the topic, or referenced in the back; similarly, having a major entry for Feuerbach but no entry for Kant might be something I would change. However, these are minor concerns that those with more philosophical education would express; from the standpoint of the student and new learner, these are not major problems by any means.
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This book is a useful resource and a reference work. The book is a compendium of 101 philosophical terms that are of particular relevance for anyone who is interested in theology. It is probably not the most comprehensive list of those terms, but all the references are very well written and intelligible. I think it will be particularly useful to people who study and read theological works on their own. Even in the age of Internet and easy access to information, it is still good to have all the terms covered in a single accessible book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on May 13, 2015
Format: Paperback
Smith begins his section on aesthetics with a good discussion of Platonism’s rejection of art as a category of knowledge. That’s fine but then he projects that understanding forward to modern day Reformed, and then ties in the Reformed with 8th century iconoclasts. While some Reformed are gnostic platonists, the main reformed objection is not that beauty is bad and the divine can’t be imaged, but what has God said for his worship? Smith writes, “appeal is often made to the liturgy...where all of the senses are engaged in order to communicate the truth of grace” (1). Maybe so, but that is no safeguard. Any Baalist in ancient Israel could have made the same argument. “We aren’t worshipping the image, you silly Jew; we are worshipping God through the Golden Calf.”

Good section on apologetics. what is considered as “rational” is always conditioned by pre-rational beliefs and assumptions (7). Is this similar to Dooyeweerd’s “pre-theoretical thought?” They note elsewhere that “what goes under the name ‘reason’ depends on religious commitments” (28).

Dualism/Monism: dualism is two kinds of things existing in the world. Monism one.

Epistemology: the standard question was phrased around justified true belief: a person p knows x if and only if p believes x and p belief in x is justified and p is true. Plantinga has replaced and bettered this model with “a belief is warranted if it is produced by our cognitive faculties working in accord with their design (20).

essence/essentialism: belief that objects have essences and that is their identity. An object’s essence is a collection of all the universal properties it possesses (20).

Free-will: usually defined as “the ability to do otherwise” (30).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rick Tanney on April 11, 2014
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I am working on a PhD in Christian Apologetics, and this book will ease my search for terms and ideas for my research papers. It is brief and concise in its presentation, and is a useful tool for quick reference. Serious seminarians as well as laymen will benefit from this tool for relating philosophical concepts to study of the Bible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Katrina Swain on September 26, 2013
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Required textbook. Helped to understand philosophy terms and gave an expanded history of the major philosophical influences. I would recommend this book to anyone in seminary.
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By Burgoyne Porter on July 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
For at least a year and a half I've been looking for such a reference and have during that time come across a few dudes. This book is exactly what I've hoped for. I have some knowledge in the natural theology field. I have found that the explanatory articles are thorough without a great deal of distracting detail. Every undergraduate college that offers courses in either philosophy or theology should have this book at the reference area of it's library.
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Being a teacher, this is SUCH a handy resource for gleaning the "essence" of philosophical movements, and how they compare to/contrast with/influenced Christian ideals & movements. It's scholarly, accurate, but completely accessible for even the philosophical novice like me. It won't insult your intelligence, either, if you're well-seasoned in all things philosophy. A great resource for students, too!
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