McCall: Invitation to Analytic Theology

Not open for further replies.


Puritanboard Clerk
Despite it's relatively simple-sounding and generic title, this book is unique in offering both a model for analytic theology as well as a brief crash course in certain debates. There are a handful of books (Richard Muller's Dictionary is one) that could replace a seminary class. This is one of them.

McCall begins by dispelling myths about analytic theology (hereafter AT). AT doesn't *necessarily* entail univocal language, substance metaphysics or naiveté about church history (though that probably is true about analytic philosophy--JBA).

McCall makes clear that AT doesn’t entail the following

  1. A univocal view of language (25). (NB: Does William Alston hold to univocity? Cf. Divine Nature and Human Language, pp. 17-117).

  2. AT entails natural theology (26).

  3. AT is naive about the history of doctrine.

  4. AT is apologetics for conservative theology. Depends on what we mean by “conservative.” Plantinga, for one, has advanced problems of divine simplicity; yet, it probably is true, pace the current leadership of the Society of Christian Philosophers, that analytic theologians are committed to Christian orthodoxy and ethics.

  5. AT relies on substance metaphysics (30ff). The battle isn’t between pre-Kantian and Kantians, but between Kantians and post-Kantians. It is possible to read Kant and remain unconvinced.

  6. Analytic Theology isn’t spiritually edifying.
The true gold-mine of the book is McCall's "Case Studies" dealing with metaphysics, compatibilism, and evolution. Particularly, one gets a refreshing survey of what it means for something to have an essence (kind-essence, Individual essence, common properties, merely human, fully human) and how this pays significant dividends for Christology.

He gives a wonderful rebuttal to theistic evolutionism simply by showing how sloppy their language is. Thus, the whole point of analytic theology.

My only criticism of the book is the lack of survey on how to get started in AT (e.g., which texts to read first).
Not open for further replies.