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Christian faith & human understanding
studies on the Eucharist, Trinity, and the human person
Robert Sokolowski
Catholic University of America Press, 2006
In this collection of essays, renowned philosopher Robert Sokolowski illustrates how Christian faith is not an alternative to reason, but rather an enhancement of it.

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Christian Philosophy and Free Will
Josef Seifert
St. Augustine's Press, 2014

Following an ardent debate in the 1930s on the question over whether something like a “Christian philosophy” exists, as Etienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain, and others held, the term was used by many thinkers and rejected by many others, not only by Heidegger who called it a contradiction in terms, an “iron wood,” but also by Thomists who wanted to see philosophy and Christian faith strictly separated. Seifert analyses five understandings of the term “Christian philosophy” which have never been expounded with such clarity and which he rejects for different, partly for opposite, reasons. He presents these senses of Christian philosophy, and his reasons for rejecting them, in clear, straight-forward language. He presents for the first time a series of eleven wholly different and thoroughly positive and fruitful ways of understanding the (rather misleading) term “Christian philosophy.” Identifying and distinguishing these legitimate ways to speak of “Christian philosophy” shed light on the manifold fruitful relations between reason and faith. In a second part of the book, Seifert gives an example of Christian philosophy in the sense of a philosophy of religion that shows the absolute presupposedness and necessity of the existence of human, divine, and angelic free will to make any sense of divine revelation and of Christian (but also of Muslim and Jewish) religion. In a third part, he presents a penetrating analysis of seven indubitable evidences that demonstrate the nature and real existence of human free will (in a so-called “libertarian” sense that rejects the thesis of the compatibility between free will and determinism). The book is introduced by the eminent Thomist philosopher, John Finnis.


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Communities of Informed Judgment
Newman's Illative Sense and Accounts of Rationality
Frederick D. Aquino
Catholic University of America Press, 2004
An original contribution to Newman studies, the book has an interdisciplinary focus, drawing from recent work in social epistemology, virtue epistemology, and cognitive science. It also takes up issues relevant to the philosophy of religion, epistemology of religious belief, systematic theology, ecumenical dialogue, and studies in John Henry Newman.

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Faith and Intellect
The Lives and Contributions of Latter-day Saint Thinkers
Leonard J Arrington
Signature Books, 2019
Joseph Smith was not the first to found a Christian denomination, but his addition of a new book of scripture on par with the Bible set him and his movement apart. Even before 1830, Smith was both dismissed and admired, embraced and rejected. But most observers agree that he has rightfully earned a significant place in American religious history. Many of the followers he attracted in his day and after have also helped to shape LDS thought. This volume highlights the lives and contributions of Smith, his successor Brigham Young, and eleven others, including Lowell Bennion, Claudia L. Bushman, Hugh Nibley, Chieko Okazaki, B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and Emmeline B. Wells. All together, the women and men profiled here span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and illuminate what the LDS Church has meant, and continues to mean, to its most thoughtful members. 

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Faith and Reason through Christian History
A Theological Essay
Grant Kaplan
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
It is impossible to understand the history of Christian theology without taking into account the relationship between faith and reason. Many works give an overview of faith and reason, or outline key principles, while others put forward a thesis about how one should understand the relationship between faith and reason. In this theological essay, Grant Kaplan revisits the key figures and debates that shape how faith and reason relate. Divided into three parts, Kaplan invites readers into a conversation rather than a drive-by. Readers will encounter the words and arguments of some of Christianity’s greatest thinkers, some well-known (Augustine, Aquinas, Newman) and others nearly forgotten. Readings of these figures bring them to life in an accessible manner. In Faith and Reason through Christian History, the roughly fifty figures treated are given sufficient room to breathe. Rather than simply summarizing their thought, Kaplan traces their arguments through key texts. This book will appeal to a range of audiences: theologians and philosophers, instructors, graduate students, seminarians, lay study groups, and undergraduate theology majors. No book today accomplishes what this book does!

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Fictions of Certitude
Science, Faith, and the Search for Meaning, 1840–1920
John S. Haller Jr.
University of Alabama Press, 2020
The search for belief and meaning among nineteenth-century intellectuals
The nineteenth century’s explosion of scientific theories and new technologies undermined many deep-seated beliefs that had long formed the basis of Western society, making it impossible for many to retain the unconditional faith of their forebears. A myriad of discoveries—including Faraday’s electromagnetic induction, Joule’s law of conservation of energy, Pasteur’s germ theory, Darwin’s and Wallace’s theories of evolution by natural selection, and Planck’s work on quantum theory—shattered conventional understandings of the world that had been dictated by traditional religious teachings and philosophical systems for centuries.

Fictions of Certitude: Science, Faith, and the Search for Meaning, 1840–1920 investigates the fin de siècle search for truth and meaning in a world that had been radically transformed. John S. Haller Jr. examines the moral and philosophical journeys of nine European and American intellectuals who sought deeper understanding amid such paradigmatic upheaval. Auguste Comte, John Henry Newman, Herbert Spencer, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley, John Fiske, William James, Lester Frank Ward, and Paul Carus all belonged to an age in which one world was passing while another world that was both astounding and threatening was rising to take its place.

For Haller, what makes the work of these nine thinkers worthy of examination is how they strove in different ways to find certitude and belief in the face of an epochal sea change. Some found ways to reconceptualize a world in which God and nature coexist. For others, the challenge was to discern meaning in a world in which no higher power or purpose can be found. As explained by D. H. Meyer, “The later Victo­rians were perhaps the last generation among English-speaking intellectuals able to believe that man was capable of understanding his universe, just as they were the first generation collectively to suspect that he never would.”

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The God of Faith and Reason
Robert Sokolowski
Catholic University of America Press, 1995

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John of St. Thomas [Poinsot] on Sacred Science
Cursus Theologicus I, Question 1, Disputation 2
John Of St. Thomas
St. Augustine's Press, 2012

This volume offers an English translation of John of St. Thomas’s Cursus theologicus I, question I, disputation 2. In this particular text, the Dominican master raises questions concerning the scientific status and nature of theology. At issue, here, are a number of factors: namely, Christianity’s continual coming to terms with the “Third Entry” of Aristotelian thought into Western Christian intellectual culture – specifically the Aristotelian notion of ‘science’ and sacra doctrina’s satisfaction of those requirements – the Thomistic-commentary tradition, and the larger backdrop of the Iberian Peninsula’s flourishing “Second Scholasticism.” 
    In this latter context, John of St. Thomas applies the theological principles of Thomas Aquinas to the Scholastic disputes preoccupying Thomist, Franciscan, and Jesuit theologians, such as Cajetan, Bañez, Luis de Molina, Vazquez, Suárez – to name only a few – in a tour de force of theological thinking throughout the entire period of Scholasticism. In the process – and not insignificantly – the status quaestionis of theology’s scientific character is clearly framed and answered according to John’s satisfaction. 
    Key to John of St. Thomas’s resolution of the question is his understanding of the continuity of the     power of human reason with the super-intelligibility of divine revelation spelled out in terms of what he calls “virtual revelation.” This text presented in this volume is a quintessential example of the deep and abiding harmony that flourished between faith and reason as well as grace and nature within the golden era of Baroque Scholasticism.


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Kantian Transpositions
Derrida and the Philosophy of Religion
Eddis N. Miller
Northwestern University Press, 2019

Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.”

Miller outlines the terms of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought.      


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Last Works
Moses Mendelssohn. Translated by Bruce Rosenstock
University of Illinois Press, 2012
Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) was the central figure in the emancipation of European Jewry. His intellect, judgment, and tact won the admiration and friendship of contemporaries as illustrious as Johann Gottfried Herder, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and Immanuel Kant. His enormously influential Jerusalem (1783) made the case for religious tolerance, a cause he worked for all his life.
Last Works includes, for the first time complete and in a single volume, the English translation of Morning Hours: Lectures on the Existence of God (1785) and To the Friends of Lessing (1786). Bruce Rosenstock has also provided an historical introduction and an extensive philosophical commentary to both texts.
At the center of Mendelssohn's last works is his friendship with Lessing. Mendelssohn hoped to show that he, a Torah-observant Jew, and Lessing, Germany's leading dramatist, had forged a life-long friendship that held out the promise of a tolerant and enlightened culture in which religious strife would be a thing of the past.
Lessing's death in 1781 was a severe blow to Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn wrote his last two works to commemorate Lessing and to carry on the work to which they had dedicated much of their lives. Morning Hours treats a range of major philosophical topics: the nature of truth, the foundations of human knowledge, the basis of our moral and aesthetic powers of judgment, the reality of the external world, and the grounds for a rational faith in a providential deity. It is also a key text for Mendelssohn's readings of Spinoza. In To the Friends of Lessing, Mendelssohn attempts to unmask the individual whom he believes to be the real enemy of the enlightened state: the Schwärmer, the religious fanatic who rejects reason in favor of belief in suprarational revelation.

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Neither Nature nor Grace
Aquinas, Barth, and Garrigou-Lagrance on the Epistemic Use of God's Effects
T. Adam Van Wart
Catholic University of America Press, 2021
Neither Nature nor Grace operates at the intersection of systematic and philosophical theology, exploring in particular how St. Thomas Aquinas variously uses the latter in service to the clarification and faithful advancement of the former. More specifically, Neither Nature nor Grace explores the overlooked logical difficulties that have followed the late modern debates in ecumenical Christian theology as to whether knowledge of God is available solely through God’s gracious self-revelation (e.g., Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture), or through revelation and the deliverances of natural reason. Van Wart takes the prominent French Dominican Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange as paradigmatic for the case that knowledge of God can be had by both revelation and natural reason. Representing the opposing position, that God can only be known through divine revelation, Van Wart highlights the work of influential Protestant theologian Karl Barth. By placing these two imposing 20th century theologians in conversation, and by providing a careful theo-philosophical analysis of the logical mechanics of each thinker’s respective arguments, Van Wart shows how both inadvertently overreach their self-professed epistemological bounds and just so run into significant problems maintaining the coherence of their relative theological positions. That is, against their expressed intentions to the contrary, both thinkers unwittingly evacuate the divine essence of the mystery Christian tradition has always previously claimed it to have, effectively reducing the being of God to mere creaturely being writ large. As a contrasting corrective to this problem, Van Wart proffers a constructive grammatical reading of Aquinas’s measured account of the crucial but often overlooked logical differences between what can be said of the divine, on the one hand, versus what can be known of God, on the other. While many recent works have attempted to solve the ongoing arguments which Garrigou-Lagrange and Barth epitomize regarding the epistemic use of God’s effects, Van Wart’s contribution constructively pushes the conversation to a different level in showing how Aquinas’s grammar of God provides a salutary means of dissolving and moving beyond these contentious debates altogether.

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The Regensburg Lecture
James V. Schall, S.J.
St. Augustine's Press, 2007

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Religion as Make-Believe
A Theory of Belief, Imagination, and Group Identity
Neil Van Leeuwen
Harvard University Press, 2023

To understand the nature of religious belief, we must look at how our minds process the world of imagination and make-believe.

We often assume that religious beliefs are no different in kind from ordinary factual beliefs—that believing in the existence of God or of supernatural entities that hear our prayers is akin to believing that May comes before June. Neil Van Leeuwen shows that, in fact, these two forms of belief are strikingly different. Our brains do not process religious beliefs like they do beliefs concerning mundane reality; instead, empirical findings show that religious beliefs function like the imaginings that guide make-believe play.

Van Leeuwen argues that religious belief—which he terms religious “credence”—is best understood as a form of imagination that people use to define the identity of their group and express the values they hold sacred. When a person pretends, they navigate the world by consulting two maps: the first represents mundane reality, and the second superimposes the features of the imagined world atop the first. Drawing on psychological, linguistic, and anthropological evidence, Van Leeuwen posits that religious communities operate in much the same way, consulting a factual-belief map that represents ordinary objects and events and a religious-credence map that accords these objects and events imagined sacred and supernatural significance.

It is hardly controversial to suggest that religion has a social function, but Religion as Make-Believe breaks new ground by theorizing the underlying cognitive mechanisms. Once we recognize that our minds process factual and religious beliefs in fundamentally different ways, we can gain deeper understanding of the complex individual and group psychology of religious faith.


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Theology Needs Philosophy
Matthew L. Lamb
Catholic University of America Press, 2016
Theology Needs Philosophy brings together essays by leading theologians and philosophers on the fundamental importance of human reason and philosophy for Catholic theology and human cultures generally. This edited collection studies the contributions of reason, with its acquired wisdom, science, and scholarship, in five sections. Those sections are: (1) the inevitable presence and service of philosophy in theology; (2) the metaphysics of creation, nature, and the natural knowledge of God; (3) the history of Logos as reason in the fathers, in St. Thomas Aquinas, and Medieval Biblical commentaries; (4) the role of reason in Trinitarian theology, Christology, and Mariology; and finally (5) reason in the theology of Aquinas.

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The Third Millennium
Reflections on Faith and Reason
David Walsh
Georgetown University Press, 1999

This provocative meditation on the turn of the millennium explores the significance that a celebration of Christ's birth can have beyond the Christian community.

Writing from the perspective of Christian philosophy, David Walsh ponders the emergence of modern civilization from the medieval Christian past, concluding that Christian theology grounds the dominant ideas of modern society. He professes the importance and promise of Christianity while rejecting the Gnosticism, advocated by Harold Bloom and others, that places the divine within the self.

Affirming Christ's place at the heart of civilization, Walsh argues that the Christian faith has relevance beyond its own boundaries for all traditions that find their common ground in reason. This contemplative book asserts that the Christian millennial jubilee has meaning for all and that it points the way toward the fullness of life in this world as well as in eternity.


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The Two Wings of Catholic Thought
Essays on Fides et Ratio
David Ruel Foster
Catholic University of America Press, 2003
The purpose of this volume is to deepen the appreciation for the stereophonic approach to truth that the Holy Father recommends.

front cover of Unbelievers
An Emotional History of Doubt
Alec Ryrie
Harvard University Press, 2019

“How has unbelief come to dominate so many Western societies? The usual account invokes the advance of science and rational knowledge. Ryrie’s alternative, in which emotions are the driving force, offers new and interesting insights into our past and present.”
—Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age

Why have societies that were once overwhelmingly Christian become so secular? We think we know the answer, pointing to science and reason as the twin culprits, but in this lively, startlingly original reconsideration, Alec Ryrie argues that people embraced unbelief much as they have always chosen their worldviews: through the heart more than the mind.

Looking back to the crisis of the Reformation and beyond, he shows how, long before philosophers started to make the case for atheism, powerful cultural currents were challenging traditional faith. As Protestant radicals eroded time-honored certainties and ushered in an age of anger and anxiety, some defended their faith by redefining it in terms of ethics, setting in motion secularizing forces that soon became transformational. Unbelievers tells a powerful emotional history of doubt with potent lessons for our own angry and anxious times.

“Well-researched and thought-provoking…Ryrie is definitely on to something right and important.”
Christianity Today

“A beautifully crafted history of early doubt…Unbelievers covers much ground in a short space with deep erudition and considerable wit.”
The Spectator

“Ryrie traces the root of religious skepticism to the anger, the anxiety, and the ‘desperate search for certainty’ that drove thinkers like…John Donne to grapple with church dogma.”
New Yorker


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Unity in Christ
Bishops, Synodality, and Communion
Archbishop Anthony Fisher, OP
Catholic University of America Press, 2023
What does episcopal fraternity and communio look like? This central question is explored through the erudition and experience of Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Australia. Unity in Christ, based upon a series of addresses given to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at their Special Assembly in 2022, delves into the themes associated with episcopal unity. By surveying the Christian tradition, beginning with the scriptures and then through various periods (Apostolic generation, patristic, scholastic, Vatican II, recent post Vatican II developments such as synodality) a coherent picture of episcopal togetherness is presented. What becomes clear is that unity among Christ’s disciples and their successors is not simply an ideal but rather a constitutive element of their office. They are called to love as Christ loved, expressed above all through genuine friendship with one another. The consequences of this fraternity and communio have implications in areas such as spirituality, preaching and fraternal correction, among others. This second feature, the implications of episcopal fraternity and communio, are explored through Archbishop Fisher’s twenty years of experience as a bishop of the Catholic Church. By providing concrete examples of lived episcopal fraternity and communio, Fisher offers a glimpse into both the challenges and fruits of living out Christ’s call that "they might all be one" (Jn 17:21).

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Unsettling Obligations
Essays on Reason, Reality and the Ethics of Belief
Allen W. Wood
CSLI, 2002
Should we hold beliefs only insofar as they are rationally supportable? According to Allen W. Wood, we're morally obliged to do so—and yet how does this apply to religious beliefs? Unsettling Obligations examines these and related ethical and philosophical issues, taking and defending stances on many of them. Along with the theme of belief and evidence, other topics include a historical perspective of philosophy based on the Enlightenment rationalist tradition and a study of how our practical commitments help define truth and value.

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