Christians face a conundrum when it comes to naming God, for if God is unnamable, as theologians maintain, he can also be called by every name. His proper name is thus an open-ended, all-encompassing list, a mystery the Church embraces in its rhetoric, but which many Christians have found difficult to accept. To explore this conflict, Valentina Izmirlieva examines two lists of God’s names: one from The Divine Names, the classic treatise by Pseudo-Dionysius, and the other from The 72 Names of the Lord, an amulet whose history binds together Kabbalah and Christianity, Jews and Slavs, Palestine, Provence, and the Balkans.
This unexpected juxtaposition of a theological treatise and a magical amulet allows Izmirlieva to reveal lists’ rhetorical potential to create order and to function as both tools of knowledge and of power. Despite the two different visions of order represented by each list, Izmirlieva finds that their uses in Christian practice point to a complementary relationship between the existential need for God’s protection and the metaphysical desire to submit to his infinite majesty—a compelling claim sure to provoke discussion among scholars in many fields.
Beyond Compare is a remarkable work that offers a commentary on spiritual learning for the twenty-first century rooted in two classic texts from the Hindu and Christian traditions: the Essence of the Three Auspicious Mysteries by Śrī Vedānta Deśika and Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales.
In his commentary, Clooney achieves multiple goals—the book is a contribution to Christian spiritual theology, highlighting for today the beautiful insights into love by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1623), Doctor of the Church. At the same time it points out how even in our world of many religious paths, we can recover and deepen the ancient tradition of loving surrender into God's hands by opening ourselves to the wisdom of India and one of Hindu India's most famous traditions of loving God, explained to us by the south Indian Hindu theologian Śrī Vedānta Deśika (1268-1369). Clooney goes further, offering a comparative study of these classic works in which he self-consciously writes about the process of reading the two works and the impact this approach has on the reader. The good advice found through this deep engagement with these texts offers a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the 21st century, remaining open in heart and mind while loyal still to our own tradition.
Not merely a book about loving surrender to God, Beyond Compare offers us the opportunity to advance along that path ourselves, learning from the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales and Śrī Vedānta Deśika, meditating on their two paths together, deepening our own love and willingness to surrender in love to God.
The Children's God
David Heller University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress BT102.H43 1986 | Dewey Decimal 231
How do children imagine God? Surprisingly, few researchers have asked this question. In crayon drawings, doll-play, letters, and carefully designed interviews, the forty children in David Heller's study reveal a rich array of spiritual imagery. Though Heller does find some differing views attributable to age, gender, and religious background (the children were Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Hindu), he discovers to a surprising degree a common vision of God that cuts across ethnic and religious differences. He also considers related issues of school prayer and the psychology of religion.
Divine Love and Wisdom has been called the most profound work of the Enlightenment scientist and seer Emanuel Swedenborg. It demonstrates how God’s love, wisdom, and humanity are reflected in creation and in ourselves, and suggests that the act of Creation is not a mystery of the past, but a miracle ongoing in every instant of the present. Like a blueprint of things unseen, Divine Love and Wisdom makes visible the hidden design of the universe, as well as the qualities of its Architect. Its vivid depiction of the spiritual mechanism of the world has impressed thinkers such as William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry James Sr.
The New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg is a modern-language, scholarly translation of Swedenborg’s theological works. The series’ easy-to-read style retains the dignity, variety, clarity, and gender-inclusive language of Swedenborg’s original Latin, bringing his thought to life.
This portable edition contains the text of the New Century Edition translation, but not the introduction, annotations, or other supplementary materials found in the deluxe edition.
In this book, Michael D. Torre makes Marín-Sola's articles available in English for the first time. The articles are preceded by an introduction on Marín-Sola and followed by a conclusion that traces the reception of his thought within the Catholic theological community. In Torre's afterword, he defends Marín-Sola's position as substantively the same as that of Aquinas.
Speaking as one of the founders of American Continental philosophy, Calvin O. Schrag offers an exceptionally clear, balanced, and informative discussion of a complex questions vexing postmodern currents of philosophical and theological reflection: Does the "death" of the god conceived as a "highest being" in Western, and especially modern, traditions open a new space within which to rethink God in terms of a "gift" or "giving" that would stand beyond the usual spate of metaphysical categories?
Schrag draws with grace, ease, and precision upon the history of Western metaphysics, from Plato and Aristotle through Nietzsche and Heidegger. Most important to his central question of God as "otherwise than Being," however, are such influential post-Heideggerian thinkers as Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and Emmanuel Levinas. Schrag's inquiry engages these thinkers at a serious level and also expands recent discussions by relating them to the work of figures hitherto overlooked or underplayed, most notably Paul Tillich.
Jean-Luc Marion advances a controversial argument for a God free of all categories of Being. Taking a characteristically postmodern stance, Marion challenges a fundamental premise of both metaphysics and neo-Thomist theology: that God, before all else, must be. Rather, he locates a "God without Being" in the realm of agape, of Christian charity or love.
This volume, the first translation into English of the work of this leading Catholic philosopher, offers a contemporary perspective on the nature of God.
"An immensely thoughtful book. . . . It promises a rich harvest. Marion's highly original treatment of the idol and the icon, the Eucharist, boredom and vanity, conversion and prayer takes theological and philosophical discussions to a new level."—Norman Wirzba, Christian Century
Jean-Luc Marion is one of the world’s foremost philosophers of religion as well as one of the leading Catholic thinkers of modern times. In God Without Being, Marion challenges a fundamental premise of traditional philosophy, theology, and metaphysics: that God, before all else, must be. Taking a characteristically postmodern stance and engaging in passionate dialogue with Heidegger, he locates a “God without Being” in the realm of agape, or Christian charity and love. If God is love, Marion contends, then God loves before he actually is.
First translated into English in 1991, God Without Being continues to be a key book for discussions of the nature of God. This second edition contains a new preface by Marion as well as his 2003 essay on Thomas Aquinas. Offering a controversial, contemporary perspective, God Without Being will remain essential reading for scholars and students of philosophy and religion.
“Daring and profound. . . . In matters most central to his thesis, [Marion]’s control is admirable, and his attunement to the nuances of other major postmodern thinkers is impressive.”—Theological Studies
Hell and the Mercy of God
Adrian J. Reimers Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress BT137.R45 2017 | Dewey Decimal 231
If God is truly merciful and loving, perfect in goodness, how can he consign human beings created in his own image to eternal torment in hell? God’s goodness seems incompatible with inflicting horrible evil upon those who oppose his will and defy his law. If to this paradox we add the metaphysical requirement that God be perfect in goodness, the eternal evil of hell seems to be contradictory to God’s own nature.
Catholic philosopher Adrian Reimers takes on these challenges in Hell and the Mercy of God, drawing on relevant sources from Aristotle to Aquinas, from Dante to Tolkien, from Wagner to John Paul II, along with Billie Holliday, The Godfather, and the music of George Gershwin. He presents a philosophical theology, grounded in Scripture, of the nature of goodness and evil, exploring various types of pain, the seven capital sins, the resurrection of the body, the meaning of mammon, the core meaning of idolatry, the psychology of Satan and those who choose his path, and the moral responsibility of the human person.
These reflections illuminate the intelligibility of orthodox Catholic teachings on the goodness of God and the reality of hell. Hell is not an arbitrary imposition set up for human rule-breakers but a continuation of a freely chosen way of life manifest even in this world. Examples from history, art, and contemporary culture lead the author to conclude that anyone who does not believe in the reality of hell is not paying enough attention. And yet, mercy and hope remain triumphant, because, just as Christ offers entrance into paradise to the “good thief” Dismas on the cross, God continues to offer repentance and salvation to all who live.
Under the broad umbrella of the Christian religion, there exists a great divide between two fundamentally different ways of thinking about key aspects of the Christian faith. Eugene Webb explores the sources of that divide, looking at how the Eastern and Western Christian worlds drifted apart due both to the different ways they interpreted their symbols and to the different roles political power played in their histories. Previous studies have focused on historical events or on the history of theological ideas. In Search of the Triune God delves deeper by exploring how the Christian East and the Christian West have conceived the relation between symbol and experience.
Webb demonstrates that whereas for Western Christianity discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity has tended toward speculation about the internal structure of the Godhead, in the Eastern tradition the symbolism of the Triune God has always been closely connected to religious experience. In their approaches to theology, Western Christianity has tended toward a speculative theology, and Eastern Christianity toward a mystical theology.
This difference of focus has led to a large range of fundamental differences in many areas not only of theology but also of religious life. Webb traces the history of the pertinent symbols (God as Father, Son of God, Spirit of God, Messiah, King, etc.) from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament through patristic thinkers and the councils that eventually defined orthodoxy. In addition, he shows how the symbols, interpreted through the different cultural lenses of the East and the West, gradually took on meanings that became the material of very different worldviews, especially as the respective histories of the Eastern and Western Christian worlds led them into different kinds of entanglement with ambition and power.
Through this incisive exploration, Webb offers a dramatic and provocative new picture of the history of Christianity.
This book, the first English-language monograph on William of Auxerre, traces the motif of the spiritual senses through his Summa Aurea, using it as an illuminating and unifying lens through which to appreciate his theology
This book provides a fundamental introduction to Aquinas's theology of the One Creator God. Aimed at making that thought accessible to contemporary audiences, it gives a basic explanation of his theology while showing its compatibility with contemporary science and its relevance to current theological issues. Opening with a brief account of Aquinas’s life, it then describes the purpose and nature of the Summa Theologica and gives a short review of current varieties of Thomism. Without neglecting other works, it then focuses primarily on the discussion of the One God in the first part of the Summa Theologica. God's transcendence and immanence is a recurrent theme in that discussion. Evidence of God's immanent causality in the natural world grounds Aquinas's five arguments for the existence of God (the Five Ways) which then open onto God's transcendence. The subsequent discussion of the divine attributes builds on the modes of God's causality established in the Five Ways. It also shows the need for a language of analogy to preserve God's transcendence and prevent us from reducing God to the level of creatures, even as qualities such as "goodness" and "love," which we first know from creatures, are applied to God. The discussion of God's providence and governance establishes that the transcendent Creator God is most intimately present in creation. God acts in all creatures in a way that does not diminish their proper causality, but is rather its source. As there is no contradiction between God's transcendence and immanence, so there is no competition between the primary causality of God and the secondary causality of creatures. Empirical science, which is limited by its method to the secondary causality of creatures, is shown to be compatible with the broader discipline of theology which also embraces the primary causality of the Creator.
The Unchanging God of Love provides a clear and comprehensive account of what Aquinas really says about divine immutability, presented in a way that allows his theology to address contemporary criticisms