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Distinctions of Reason and Reasonable Distinctions

The Academic Life of John Wallis (1616–1703)

Series:

Jason M. Rampelt

Distinctions of Reason and Reasonable Distinctions is an intellectual biography of John Wallis (1616-1703), professor of mathematics at Oxford for over half a century. His career spans the political tumult of the English Civil Wars, the religious upheaval of the Church of England, and the fascinating developments in mathematics and natural philosophy. His ability to navigate this terrain and advance human learning in the academic world was facilitated by his use of the Jesuit Francisco Suarez’s theory of distinctions. This Roman Catholic’s philosophy in the hands of a Protestant divine fostered an instrumentalism necessary to bridge the old and new. With this tool, Wallis brought modern science into the university and helped form the Royal Society.

The Veiled God

Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Theology of Finitude

Series:

Ruth Jackson Ravenscroft

In The Veiled God, Ruth Jackson Ravenscroft offers a detailed portrait of Friedrich Schleiermacher’s early life, ethics, and theology in its historical and social context. She also critically reflects on the enduring relevance of his work for the study of religion.
The book analyses major texts from Schleiermacher’s early work. It argues that his experiments with literary form convey his understanding that human knowledge is inherently social, and that religion is thoroughly linguistic and historical. The book contends that by making finitude (and not freedom) a universal aspect to human life, Schleiermacher offers rich conceptual resources for considering what it means to be human in this world, both in relations of difference to others, and in relation to the infinite.

Divine Causality and Human Free Choice

Domingo Báñez, Physical Premotion and the Controversy de Auxiliis Revisited

Series:

Robert Joseph Matava

In Divine Causality and Human Free Choice, R.J. Matava explains the idea of physical premotion defended by Domingo Báñez, whose position in the Controversy de Auxiliis has been typically ignored in contemporary discussions of providence and freewill. Through a close engagement with untranslated primary texts, Matava shows Báñez’s relevance to recent debates about middle knowledge. Finding the mutual critiques of Báñez and Molina convincing, Matava argues that common presuppositions led both parties into an insoluble dilemma. However, Matava also challenges the informal consensus that Lonergan definitively resolved the controversy. Developing a position independently advanced by several recent scholars, Matava explains how the doctrine of creation entails a position that is more satisfactory both philosophically and as a reading of Aquinas.