From Library Journal
Conyers (theology, Baylor Univ.; How To Read the Bible) examines the philosophy of toleration and its application through history, tracing the path of this rarely questioned principle to its current place in our culture and government. By examining the concept of tolerance as viewed by Thomas Hobbes, Pierre Bayle, John Locke, and others, he shows that, historically, toleration has existed in groups and societies that had moral purposes and a conscience. Whereas toleration had historically been group related, now we see individual personal preference as a major basis for toleration. Conyers contends that as a public policy tolerance is used to lay the ground for peace and harmony, but instead of protecting minority groups, it allows for the centralization of power and indifference to values. Conyers believes that there is a need, in humility, to recover God's overall purpose of "telos," a morality that recognizes final causes. This thought-provoking study is recommended for academic libraries. George Westerlund, formerly with the Providence P.L.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Conyers is a professor at Baylor University's Truett Theological Seminary and the author of The End: What Jesus Really Said about the Last Things
(1995) and How to Read the Bible
(1986). He now considers the concept of toleration and contends that the developing nation-states of the seventeenth century transformed toleration from an ancient and universal practice based on humility to a strategy for governing and controlling increasingly diverse populations. The result, he charges, is that differences between cultures become minimized and that the influence of an individual culture that claims a universal validity such as religion becomes neutralized. Both conditions pave the way for a central government to extend its power. As nations assumed responsibility for trade, manufactures, banking, monetary policy, education of the young, and public welfare, the family and religion lost dignity, independence, and authority. Conyers analyzes the philosophical arguments of Thomas Hobbes, Pierre Bayle, and John Locke to show that the rise of toleration was not coincidental to the rise of the nation-state but rather a necessary condition. David RouseCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved