Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology by Oliver D. Crisp, Michael C. Rea

By Oliver D. Crisp, Michael C. Rea

Philosophy within the English-speaking global is ruled via analytic techniques to its difficulties and initiatives; yet theology has been ruled through replacement techniques. Many might say that the present nation in theology isn't mere old twist of fate, yet is, fairly, how issues needs to be. however, many others may say exactly the contrary: that theology as a self-discipline has been beguiled and brought captive via 'continental' techniques, and that the results at the self-discipline were principally deleterious. The methodological divide among systematic theologians and analytic philosophers of faith is ripe for exploration. the current quantity represents an try to start a much-needed interdisciplinary dialog concerning the worth of analytic philosophical techniques to theological issues. lots of the essays herein are sympathetic towards the company the editors are calling analytic theology; yet, with a watch towards stability, the quantity additionally comprises essays and an creation that try and provide extra serious views on analytic theology.

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7 Alister McGrath distinguishes between Christian doctrine and theology. Whereas the former is the activity of a particular community, the Church, individuals may practise the latter with no commitment to a particular ecclesiastical body. g. the propositions of the Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed. In this essay I shall not observe these distinctions since I am interested in the way theologians and churches formulate their discussion of Christian teaching, not the nature of that teaching. 8 More often than not debates about theological method incorporate aspects of both of these, although discussions focused on the nature of Christian doctrine predominate.

As with Van Fraassen, this looks initially to be an objection simply against explanation via theoretical posit. But the fact is that one arrives at this particular posit ultimately by way of something like conceptual analysis: unpacking our concept of God (as the sort of thing capable of serving as ultimate ground), our concept of contingent being (as something in need of a ground), and so on. Of course, one might well point out that Marion’s point will have purchase only on those who (unlike most of us nowadays, I should think) are inclined to think of God as something whose existence is posited as the ‘ground of all being’.

One could use well-formed, logical arguments to defend a rationalistic approach to theology, consistent with a substantive use of reason, or, indeed, some other philosophical notion whose theological redeployment theologians may be right to regard with suspicion. But one need not. Analysis may also be part of a much more modest use of reason, such as that found in the procedural approach. Such a use of reason in theology provides, amongst other things, an argumentative framework within which theological discussion can take place.

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