In God as Reason: Essays in Philosophical Theology, Vittorio Hösle presents a systematic exploration of the relation between theology and philosophy. In examining the problems and historical precursors of rational theology, he calls on philosophy, theology, history of science, and the history of ideas to find an interpretation of Christianity that is compatible with a genuine commitment to reason.
The essays in the first part of God as Reason deal with issues of philosophical theology. Hösle sketches the challenges that a rationalist theology must face and discusses some of the central ones, such as the possibility of a teleological interpretation of nature after Darwin, the theodicy issue, freedom versus determinism, the mind-body problem, and the relation in general between religion, theology, and philosophy. In the essays of the second part, Hösle studies the historical development of philosophical approaches to the Bible, the continuity between the New Testament concept of pneuma and the concept of Geist (spirit) in German idealism, and the rationalist theologies of Anselm, Abelard, Llull, and Nicholas of Cusa, whose innovative philosophy of mathematics is the topic of one of the chapters. The book concludes with a thorough evaluation of Charles Taylor’s theory of secularization. This ambitious work will interest students and scholars of philosophical theology and philosophy of religion as well as historians of ideas and science.
“The essays in this collection constitute a fresh exploration of the relation between theology and philosophy throughout the history of the Western world and a brilliant achievement. This is truly a book for our post-secular age. It is a text peppered with criticism of our contemporary attitudes in very numerous fields including philosophy, ours being a ‘time in which the essence of philosophy is being undermined by an increasingly narrow specialization,’ and it stimulates the reader on almost every page. This is not only a major challenge to fideists and fundamentalists of every hue, and a demonstration of the centrality of the quest for rational religion in our not so secular age, but a powerful challenge to the secularists themselves.” — Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
“God as Reason makes a powerful contribution to the task of the philosophical assessment of religion and theology, and indeed to the task of arriving at a philosophically defensible account of God. Vittorio Hösle here addresses key questions concerning teleology in nature, theodicy, freedom and determinism, and the mind-body problem in essays of exemplary clarity and economy of expression that are equally informed by the full breadth of the philosophical tradition of the West and by the most important contemporary developments in both philosophy and the natural sciences." — Jennifer A. Herdt, Yale Divinity School
“With an inductive style, Hösle seeks to demonstrate his thesis that ‘modernity is Christianity’s legitimate child’. . . . God as Reason is an elegant demonstration of Hösle’s masterful grasp of historical philosophy and theology.” — Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
“Vittorio Hösle’s latest publication is an excellent look at the interrelatedness of faith and reason. He presents a fascinating series of essays, all written between 1997 and 2009, in an attempt ‘to find an interpretation of Christianity that is compatible with . . . [a] commitment to reason.’ Of notable interest in this volume is Hösle’s philosophical dialogue between the mind and body, which contains several humorous exchanges.” — Catholic Library World
“[Hösle] shows an especially sensitive appreciation for the ‘pragmatics’ of the exchange between the various parties before turning to consider their arguments. His treatment concludes with a useful summary and the provocative idea that ‘the human prospect would look better than it does if a function equivalent to [a common religion] could be found for the twenty-first century.’” — Toronto Journal of Theology