McCall and Rea, eds. Christian Analytic Theology--Readings

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Puritanboard Clerk
Some essays were magnificent. Others seemed to miss the mark. The latter would posit topic A (say, the problem of evil) and then spend most of the essay talking about personalism and never really integrate the two. But that shouldn’t detract from the truly outstanding essays by Crisp, McCall, Rauser, and to an extent, Wolterstorff.

Crisp introduced the topic of analytic theology and nicely distanced it from ontotheology (i.e., positing God as a being among beings). Analytic theology took a metaphysical turn after everyone saw that the Vienna school was discredited. Analytic theology asks what are the ultimate constituents of the world and how they interact.

Thomas McCall gives a fine critique of Barth’s view of Scripture, noting that it contradicts Barth’s Christology; if God has sovereignly limited himself in human flesh, then who are we to say that God can’t do so in the Bible?

Wolterstorff explains how analytic theology became possible in the 20th century. “A consequence of the demise of logical positivism has proved to be that the theme of limits on the thinkable and the assertible has lost virtually all interest for philosophers in the analytic tradition” (Wolterstorff 157).

Gives an interesting survey of post-1950s philosophical tradition. There is a lot of overlap here with his “Then, Now, and Al” essay.

Locke’s project: “ Behind the conviction of a classical foundationalist, such as John Locke, that our beliefs, if they are to count as knowingly or rationally held, must be grounded in certitudes, was the assumption that one is truly certain of something when and only when it is directly present to one—when one ‘perceives’ it, to use Locke’s metaphor” (160).

Wolterstorff’s makes the interesting suggestion that analytic theology is Anselmian theology, not onto-theology (168).

I don’t see Merold Westphal’s essay as an attack on analytic philosophy, but rather a seeking of assurance that it won’t become autonomous and devolve into ontolotheology.

Sarah Coakley ends the discussion noting convergences between William Alston’s religious experience epistemology and certain contributions of feminism. Or so she says. I think she had a good essay and I agreed with her analysis of Alston, but I just didn’t notice anything “feminist” about it.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. While some of the followers have since compromised on Christian sexual ethics (e.g., Wolterstorff, Stump, Rea), Wolterstorff’s essay, in any case, is quite informative.
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