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Jesuits and the Complexities of Modernity
This is a bilingual edition of the selected peer-reviewed papers that were submitted for the International Symposium on Jesuit Studies on the thought of the Jesuit Francisco Suárez (1548–1617). The symposium was co-organized in Seville in 2018 by the Departamento de Humanidades y Filosofía at Universidad Loyola Andalucía and the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College.
Suárez was a theologian, philosopher and jurist who had a significant cultural impact on the development of modernity. Commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of his death, the symposium studied the work of Suárez and other Jesuits of his time in the context of diverse traditions that came together in Europe between the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and early modernity.

Abstract

Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption culminates in an aesthetic configuration of simultaneous presences: world, man, God, creation, revelation, and redemption are viewed in a metahistorical side-by-side, connected by the “factualizing power of the And.” But the idea of simultaneity, which is central to Rosenzweig’s configurative thinking, belongs to the historical imagination as much as it belongs to the theological “breaking through the shackles of time.” Rosenzweig’s “and” belongs to both a tradition of cosmic-aesthetic historicism (Meinecke) and the philosophical reconstitution of time as a simultaneous perception. In the co-presence of all historical moments, history’s hidden Gestalt, which only a people that is at once old and young can envision, connects the “and” of history with what Hegel considered history’s end—its ultimate self-recognition. Eternity, then, means neither flight from, nor resistance to, history’s naked fact, but the recognition of history’s Gestalt as an image that “does not tolerate epochs.”

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Abstract

Recent studies have renewed focus on Martin Buber’s “theopolitics” in contrast to “theological politics.” The present study expands this work by looking at what Buber meant by God. His approach to the Bible, informed by his view that “extended, the lines of relationship meet in the Eternal Thou,” illuminates his analysis of the five types of biblical leadership. That analysis, far from separating “religion” and “politics,” seemed to assume what might be designated a civil religion. The social order was integrated with religious concerns. Underneath the socio-religious surface, however, Buber discerned universal principles of relationship. Analyzing each stage in biblical leadership as Buber presented it shows how he extended the lines of historical relationships to reveal an aspect of the Eternal Thou.

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Abstract

In classical American pragmatism, fallibilism refers to the conception of truth as an ongoing process of improving human knowledge that is nevertheless susceptible to error. This paper traces appearances of fallibilism in Jewish thought in general, and particularly in the halakhic thought of Eliezer Berkovits. Berkovits recognizes the human condition’s persistent mutability, which he sees as characterizing the ongoing effort to interpret and apply halakhah in shifting historical and social contexts as Torat Ḥayyim. In the conclusion of the article, broader questions and observations are raised regarding Jewish tradition, fallibility, and modernity, and the interaction between Judaism and pragmatism in the history of ideas.

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Abstract

This paper proposes that Moses Mendelssohn’s Morning Hours be viewed as the final chapter in a philosophy of imperfection that Mendelssohn had been developing over the course of his life. It is further argued that this philosophy of imperfection is still of philosophical interest. After demonstrating that the concept of imperfection animates Mendelssohn’s early work, this paper turns towards the specific arguments about imperfection Mendelssohn made in the midst of the pantheism controversy—in particular, the claim that human imperfection attests to an independent existence. Simply put: God knows human imperfection, but does not possess it. Therefore, there is a sense in which humans, because of our imperfections, are distinct from God. It is shown that, at least in part, Mendelssohn’s entry into the pantheism controversy, and his willingness to engage even his recently departed friend Lessing in argument, is part of his strategy to preserve his philosophy of imperfection.

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
In The Debate on Probable Opinions in the Scholastic Tradition, Rudolf Schuessler portrays scholastic approaches to a qualified disagreement of opinions. The book outlines how scholastic regulations concerning the use of opinions changed in the early modern era, giving rise to an extensive debate on the moral and epistemological foundations of reasonable disagreements. The debate was fueled by probabilism and anti-probabilism in Catholic moral theology and thus also serves as a gateway to these doctrines. All developments are outlined in historical context, while special attention is paid to the evolution of scholastic notions of probability and their importance for the emergence of modern probability.
This volume offers fresh reflections on John Owen, a leading Reformed theologian who sat on the brink of a new age. His seventeenth- century theology and spirituality reflect the growing tensions, and pre-modern and modern tendencies. Exploring Owen in this context helps readers better understand the seventeenth-century dynamics of individualization and rationalization, the views of God and self, community and the world. The authors of this volume investigate Owen’s approach to various key themes, including his Trinitarian piety, catholicity, doctrine of scripture, and public prayer. Owen’s international reception and current historiographical challenges are also highlighted.

Contributors are: Joel R. Beeke, Henk van den Belt, Gert A. van den Brink, Hans Burger, Daniel R. Hyde, Kelly M. Kapic, Reinier W. de Koeijer, Ryan M. McGraw, David P. Murray, Carl R. Trueman, Willem van Vlastuin.
Nicholas of Cusa and Early Modern Reform sheds new light on Cusanus’ relationship to early modernity by focusing on the reform of church, the reform of theology, the reform of perspective, and the reform of method – which together aim to encompass the breadth and depth of Cusanus’ own reform initiatives. In particular, in examining the way in which he served as inspiration for a wide and diverse array of reform-minded philosophers, ecclesiastics, theologians, and lay scholars in the midst of their struggle for the renewal and restoration of the individual, society, and the world, our volume combines a focus on Cusanus as a paradigmatic thinker with a study of his concrete influence on early modern thought. This volume is aimed at scholars working in the field of late medieval and early modern philosophy, theology, and history of science.
As the first Anglophone volume to explore the early modern reception of Nicholas of Cusa, this work will provide an important complement to a growing number of companions focusing on his life and thought.
An English Bishop’s Pastoral Vision
In this book Philippa Hoskin offers an account of the pastoral theory and practice of Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln 1235-1253, within his diocese. Grosseteste has been considered as an eminent medieval philosopher and theologian, and as a bishop focused on pastoral care, but there has been no attempt to consider how his scholarship influenced his pastoral practice.
Making use of Grosseteste’s own writings – philosophical and theological as well as pastoral and administrative – Hoskin demonstrates how Grosseteste’s famous interventions in his diocese grew from his own theory of personal obligation in pastoral care as well as how his personal involvement in his diocese could threaten well-developed clerical and lay networks.

In Augustine and Plotinus: the Human Mind as Image of the Divine Laela Zwollo provides an inside view of two of the most influential thinkers of late antiquity: the Christian Augustine and the Neo-Platonist Plotinus. By exploring the finer points and paradoxes of their doctrines of the image of God (the human soul/intellect), the illustrious church father’s complex interaction with his most important non-biblical source comes into focus. In order to fathom Augustine, we should first grasp the beauty in Plotinus’ philosophy and its attractiveness to Christians. This monograph will contribute to a better understanding of the formative years of Christianity as well as later ancient philosophy. It can serve as a handbook for becoming acquainted with the two thinkers, as well as for delving into the profundity of their thought.