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God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness Paperback – November 1, 2011
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Regent College, Vancouver
"James E. Dolezal has authored a philosophically rigorous and theologically thorough defense of divine simplicity, and he has done so for positive reasons. For Dolezal, the whole rationale for defending the simplicity of God is to assure that we actually come to know, though not fully comprehend, God as he truly is--the God of reason and revelation, the God of the Christian philosophical and theological tradition. Dolezal has made a very admirable and extremely significant contribution to the discussion of God's simplicity."
-Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
"At a time when the simplicity of God has fallen on hard times, James Dolezal does a fine job of navigating current objections to this central aspect of theology proper. In particular, Dolezal shows the intimate relationship between those who would affirm God's absolute character, and an affirmation of divine simplicity. He brings Aquinas' affirmation of simplicity into the contemporary debate in a way that Thomas himself might have done."
-K. Scott Oliphint
Westminster Theological Seminary
"James Dolezal offers an exceptionally rich, lucid, and creative insight into the meaning and significance of the doctrine of God's simplicity. Engaging in a lively, sincere discussion with the major contemporary opponents and with representatives of the broad theological tradition, he gives not only a thorough introduction, but also advances the debate: Dolezal translates the discussion about ontotheology into an analytical framework and suggests a new solution for the compatibility of God's simplicity and freedom."
"God without Parts is a valuable contribution to the field of philosophical-theology. Looking to the thought of Thomas Aquinas, James Dolezal carefully presents the logical coherence of the doctrine of divine simplicity, cogently illustrating how the doctrine is a necessary ontological condition for affirming God's absoluteness with regard to his existence, essence, knowledge, and will. This work will be a welcome addition to the libraries of philosophers and theologians alike."
-Gregory T. Doolan
The Catholic University of America --Wipf and Stock Publishers
Dolezal's book is a delight to read — insightful, well-researched, and clearly written. . . . Most especially, it is a prophetic work, providing a resounding call to recover and reaffirm the absolute God of the Christian tradition who is not pieced together from univocal fragments of human thought but is rather the transcendent Creator who has formed us in his own image and likeness. The Thomist
God without Parts deals with an important topic in philosophical theology, and anyone interested in the fate of the [doctrine of divine simplicity] should read it. . . . an instructive study of a difficult problem, written in scrupulously sober prose. Heythrop Journal
This book is a good and useful addition to the literature on the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity. Faith and Philosophy
God without Parts is meticulously researched, cogently argued, and eminently readable. . . . both an excellent study of the historic doctrine of divine simplicity and a rigorous defense of the doctrine with the contemporary philosophical and theological context. Philosophia Christi
James Dolezal s work not only manages to capture the wide-ranging significance of [divine simplicity], but also skillfully exposits the Christian tradition by leveraging the traditional [doctrine] to profitably engage contemporary philosophical suspicions. Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology
[T]he book represents the most thorough and up-to-date explication and defense of the doctrine of divine simplicity from within the Protestant tradition. Dolezal has given us a fine example of Reformed philosophical theology: historically informed, confessionally observant, ecumenically oriented, and analytically rigorous. Themelios --Wipf and Stock Publishers
About the Author
- Publisher : Pickwick Publications (November 1, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 260 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1610976584
- ISBN-13 : 978-1610976589
- Item Weight : 12.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #490,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In the span of 7 chapters - with the first generally being a historical survey of affirmations and criticisms of the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS) - the author clearly explains DDS, with the end result being the edification of the reader.
In all of this, though, it is not the lightest of reads. Chapter 2, "Simplicity and the Models of Composition," is in my opinion the most interesting and quite weighty.
This book, therefore, deserves a broader audience and proves how Catholic and Protestant authors were generally in sync on matters of theology proper.
He does a wonderful job exposing the univocal arguments (God is identical to/with his creation) against the DDS and its variations in favor of the analogical nature of revelation and our knowledge.
From the conclusion, “...the fact that we cannot explain ontologically or modally ‘how’ God is simple yet free does not prevent us from affirming ‘that’ he is both. God could not be absolute if he were not pure act inasmuch as only a being that is pure act is sufficient to account for the existence of anything at all.”
Top reviews from other countries
Advocates of philosophy would do well to attend to Weinberg's strong cautions about its repeated valuelessness to theoretical physics (chapter 7), except in sometimes disarming bad philosophy (Mach's positivism lead him to say, 'if belief in the reality of atoms is so crucial, then I renounce the physical way of thinking'). Dreams Of A Final Theory: The Search for The Fundamental Laws of Nature: Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature . The passage cited on Aristotle's 6th book of Physics is a choice example of bad science posing in the guise of philosophy - magnitude, time and motion are 'proven' all to be infinitely divisible (sorry the kindle doesn't give page no.s, ch.2, 'bodily parts' section).
Lovers of Aquinas would do well to remember the Aristotelian strait jacket he helped impose on the Vatican has much more to do with Galileo's trials than anything in the Bible. The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History (California Studies in the History of Science) Lutheran Copernicus was a freer and somewhat less fettered mind. A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionised the Cosmos
The problem with simplicity, most especially with advocacy of the rigorous identity of the Divine attributes, is that it requires a species of logic, conception and expression so dislocated from their ordinary use, that the doctrine collapses into a black hole of meaningless abstraction. Dolezal's main apology for this is what he calls ontological univocism - which I will leave the gentle reader to discover for himself. No doubt the Deity is far beyond our conception, but Plotinus' Simplex is an impersonal and unbiblical pattern to trace, and he and his pagan forebears are the root of this doctrine, not the scriptures.
The doctrine of simplicity has an ancient if dubious theological heritage, a rich history of misguided use in the defence of the Unity of the Godhead, in all three monotheistic faiths. It has been employed both by advocates and adversaries of the Deity of Christ. Dolezal tries valiantly to breathe life into the old corpse. This represents an impassioned philosophical defence that may or may not impress the philosophical, theologians would be wise to heed Isa.8.20, Col.2.8 and many other similar warnings more carefully.