front cover of A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith
A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith
With “On My Religion”
John RawlsEdited by Thomas Nagel, with commentaries by Joshua Cohen and Thomas Nagel, and by Robert Merrihew Adams
Harvard University Press, 2009

John Rawls never published anything about his own religious beliefs, but after his death two texts were discovered which shed extraordinary light on the subject. A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith is Rawls’s undergraduate senior thesis, submitted in December 1942, just before he entered the army. At that time Rawls was deeply religious; the thesis is a significant work of theological ethics, of interest both in itself and because of its relation to his mature writings. “On My Religion,” a short statement drafted in 1997, describes the history of his religious beliefs and attitudes toward religion, including his abandonment of orthodoxy during World War II.

The present volume includes these two texts, together with an Introduction by Joshua Cohen and Thomas Nagel, which discusses their relation to Rawls’s published work, and an essay by Robert Merrihew Adams, which places the thesis in its theological context.

The texts display the profound engagement with religion that forms the background of Rawls’s later views on the importance of separating religion and politics. Moreover, the moral and social convictions that the thesis expresses in religious form are related in illuminating ways to the central ideas of Rawls’s later writings. His notions of sin, faith, and community are simultaneously moral and theological, and prefigure the moral outlook found in Theory of Justice.


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Christianity and Philosophical Culture in the Fifth Century
The controversy about the Human Soul in the West
Ernest Fortin
St. Augustine's Press, 2019

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Christianity and Process Thought
Spirituality for a Changing World
Joseph A. Bracken
Templeton Press, 2006

“If someone were to ask,‘Where is God?’ how would you respond?”

Joseph A. Bracken, SJ, uses this question as a springboard to introduce the process-relational metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead and other process theologians as he tries to reconcile the sometimes-conflicting views of traditional Christian doctrines and the modern scientific world. To present this material in an accessible manner to a wider audience, Bracken reworks Whitehead’s “model” of the God-world relationship, showing that God is involved in an ongoing, ever-changing relationship with humans and other . He also discusses the work of other contemporary theologians to help Christians come to terms with their role in our multi-dimensional pluralistic society.

Bracken examines divine and human creativity, the collective power of good and evil, divine providence and human freedom, prayer, altruism, and the basic question, “What is truth?” He shows how Whitehead&rsqio;s process thought approach to these issues can in fact "harmonize" traditional Christian beliefs and contemporary culture, benefiting both faith and reason.

Understanding the God-world relationship subtly influences our attitude toward ourselves, toward other human beings, and indeed toward all of God’s creatures, says Bracken. His revision of Whitehead's metaphysical vision in terms of a cosmic community shows how modern views of the world and God can be accepted and kept in balance with the traditional biblical views found in the Christian faith and how this balance can help Christians make better choices in a world shaped both by contemporary natural science and by traditional Christian spirituality.

“If we truly believe that in God we live and move and have our being and that as a result we share with the divine persons in a deeply communitarian way of life together with all of God’s creatures, we may be more readily inclined to make the periodic sacrifice of personal self-interest so as to pursue the higher good of sustained life in community. In the end, it is simply a matter of seeing the ‘bigger picture,’ realizing what life is ultimately all about.”


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Displacing Christian Origins
Philosophy, Secularity, and the New Testament
Ward Blanton
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Recent critical theory is curiously preoccupied with the metaphors and ideas of early Christianity, especially the religion of Paul. The haunting of secular thought by the very religion it seeks to overcome may seem surprising at first, but Ward Blanton argues that this recent return by theorists to the resources of early Christianity has precedent in modern and ostensibly secularizing philosophy, from Kant to Heidegger.

Displacing Christian Origins traces the current critical engagement of Agamben, Derrida, and Žižek, among others, back into nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century philosophers of early Christianity. By comparing these crucial moments in the modern history of philosophy with exemplars of modern biblical scholarship—David Friedrich Strauss, Adolf Deissmann, and Albert Schweitzer—Blanton offers a new way for critical theory to construe the relationship between the modern past and the biblical traditions to which we seem to be drawn once again.

An innovative contribution to the intellectual history of biblical exegesis, Displacing Christian Origins will promote informed and fruitful debate between religion and philosophy. 

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Eternal Life and Human Happiness in Heaven
Philosophical Problems, Thomistic Solutions
Christopher M. Brown
Catholic University of America Press, 2021
Eternal Life and Human Happiness in Heaven treats four apparent problems concerning eternal life in order to clarify our thinking about perfect human happiness in heaven. The teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas provide the basis for solutions to these four problems about eternal life insofar as his teachings call into question common contemporary theological or philosophical presuppositions about God, human persons, and the nature of heaven itself. Indeed, these Thomistic solutions often require us to think very differently from our contemporaries. But thinking differently with St. Thomas is worth it: for the Thomistic solutions to these apparent problems are more satisfying, on both theological and philosophical grounds, than a number of contemporary theological and philosophical approaches. Christopher Brown deploys his argument in four sections. The first section lays out, in three chapters, four apparent problems concerning eternal life—Is heaven a mystical or social reality? Is heaven other-worldly or this-worldly? Is heaven static or dynamic? Won’t human persons eventually get bored in heaven? Brown then explains how and why some important contemporary Christian theologians and philosophers resolve these problems, and notes serious problems with each of these contemporary solutions. The second section explains, in five chapters, St. Thomas’ significant distinction between the essential reward of the saints in heaven and the accidental reward, and treats in detail his account of that in which the essential reward consists, namely, the beatific vision and the proper accidents of the vision (delight, joy, and charity). The third section treats, in five chapters, St. Thomas’ views on the multifaceted accidental reward in heaven, where the accidental reward includes, among other things, glorified human embodiment, participation in the communion of the saints, and the joy experienced by the saints in sensing God’s “new heavens and new earth.” Finally, section four argues, in four chapters, that St. Thomas’ views allow for powerful solutions to the four apparent problems about eternal life examined in the first section. These solutions are powerful because, not only are they consistent with authoritative, Catholic Christian Tradition, but they do not raise any of the significant theological or philosophical problems that attend the contemporary theological and philosophical solutions examined in the first section.

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The Eucharist in Modern Philosophy
Xavier Tilliette
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
The Eucharist in Modern Philosophy is one of the last books written by the renowned Jesuit philosopher Xavier Tilliette (1921-2018), and the first to be translated into English. Jonathan Martin Ciraulo, the translator, also provides an introduction to the thought of Tilliette and the content of this book, while Cyril O’Regan provides the foreword, noting the particular intellectual characteristics of Tilliette and his analysis of eucharistic philosophies. In addition to being known as one of the foremost experts on the German Idealist Friedrich Schelling, Tilliette wrote voluminously on the relationship between modern philosophy and theology, particularly concerning the way in which Christology is central to the development of modern philosophy. In this volume, he extends that project to look at how various philosophers, such as Descartes, Leibniz, Hegel, Blondel, and Marion, as well as poets and mystics, such as de Chardin, Simone Weil, and Paul Claudel, thought extensively about the question of the Eucharist. The result is an enormous diversity of Eucharistic thought, from Descartes’ attempt to justify transubstantiation in light of his philosophical revolution, to Feuerbach’s supposed exposure of the contradiction inherent to sacramentality, to Antonio Rosmini’s eucharistic piety and speculation, to Maurice Blondel’s recovery and expansion of Leibniz’s notion of the substantial bond. Tilliette shows that this philosophical conversation about the Eucharist is a living tradition, as the aporias and failures of one generation provide stimulus for all that follows. Much of the work is largely historical, showing in great detail the context of each particular eucharistic philosophy, but Tilliette also evaluates the relative fruitfulness of the various eucharistic theories for philosophy, theology, and the life of the Church. This book demonstrates that the Eucharist has been, and will likely continue to be, a major impetus for philosophical reflection.

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Evidence for God from Physics and Philosophy
Extending the Legacy of Monsignor George Lemaître and St. Thomas Aquinas
Robert J. Spitzer, S.J.
St. Augustine's Press, 2015

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Exercises in the Elements
Essays, Speeches, Notes
Josef Pieper
St. Augustine's Press, 2016
This title, which at first sight seems curious, shows Pieper’s philosophical work as rooted in the basics. He takes his inspiration from Plato – and his Socrates – and Thomas Aquinas. With them, he is interested in philosophy as pure theory, the theoretical being precisely the non-practical. The philosophizer wants to know what all existence is fundamentally about, what “reality” “really” means. With Plato, Pieper eschews the use of language to convince an audience of anything which is not the truth. If Plato was opposed to the sophists – amongst them the politicians –, Pieper is likewise opposed to discourse that leads to the “use” of philosophy to bolster a totalitarian regime or any political or economic system.

A fundamental issue for Pieper is “createdness.” He sees this as the fundamental truth of our being – all being –  and the fundamental virtue we can practise is the striving to live according to our perception of real truth in any given situation.

The strength and attraction of Pieper’s writing is its direct and intuitive character which is independent of abstract systematization. He advocates staying in touch with the “real” as we experience it deep within ourselves. Openness to the totality of being – in no matter what context being reveals itself – and the affirmation of all that is founded in this totality are central pillars of all his thinking. Given the “simplicity” of this stance, it is no surprise that much of it is communicated – and successfully – through his gift for illustration by anecdote. Like Plato, this philosopher is a story-teller and, like him, very readable.

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God Being Nothing
Toward a Theogony
Ray L. Hart
University of Chicago Press, 2016
In this long-awaited work, Ray L. Hart offers a radical speculative theology that profoundly challenges classical understandings of the divine. God Being Nothing contests the conclusions of numerous orthodoxies through a probing question: How can thinking of God reach closure when the subjects of creation are themselves unfinished, when God’s self-revelation in history is ongoing, when the active manifestation of God is still occurring?

Drawing on a lifetime of reading in philosophy and religious thought, Hart unfolds a vision of God perpetually in process: an unfinished God being self-created from nothingness. Breaking away from the traditional focus on divine persons, Hart reimagines the Trinity in terms of theogony, cosmogony, and anthropogony in order to reveal an ever-emerging Godhead who encompasses all of temporal creation and, within it, human existence. The book’s ultimate implication is that Being and Nonbeing mutually participate in an ongoing process of divine coming-to-birth and dying that implicates all things, existent and nonexistent, temporal and eternal. God’s continual generation from nothing manifests the full actualization of freedom: the freedom to create ex nihilo.

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God Without Being
Jean-Luc Marion
University of Chicago Press, 1991
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

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God Without Being
Hors-Texte, Second Edition
Jean-Luc Marion
University of Chicago Press, 2012

 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
“A truly remarkable work.”—First Things
“Very rewarding reading.”—Religious Studies Review

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Grace and Freedom in a Secular Age
Contingency, Vulnerability, and Hospitality
Philip J. Rossi
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
In the course of a long and distinguished academic and civic career, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has been, for articulate atheists and learned believers alike, an incisive, insightful, gracious, and challenging conversation partner on issues that arise at the intersection and interaction of religion, society, and culture. Grace and Freedom in a Secular Age offers a concise exposition of key ideas – contingency, otherness, freedom, vulnerability and mutuality – that inform his probing analyses of the dynamics of religious belief and religious denial in the pervasive contemporary culture he calls a “a secular age,” within which religious belief and practice have, for many, become just an option. Those ideas provide the basis from which Rossi argues that, despite a clear-eyed recognition of the deep fractures of meaning and the pervasive fragmentation of once stable societal connections that a secular age has brought in its wake, Taylor also sees and affirms strong grounds for hope in a healing of our broken and fractured world and for the possibilities—and the importance of—active human participation in that healing. Taylor points to signs indicative of potent re-compositions and renewals taking place in religious belief and practice from its interaction with the dynamics of secular culture, particularly ones that make possible radical enactments of deeper human solidarity and mutuality, of which the one most often potent is the reconciliation of enemies. In pointing out these signs, Taylor suggests a richly expansive reading of the Christian doctrine of Creation, as it marks the radical contingency of all that is upon a freely bestowed divine self-giving: Creation is the ongoing enactment of the divine hospitality of the Triune God.

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Finitude and the Naming of God
Thomas A. Carlson
University of Chicago Press, 1998
How can one think and name an inconceivable and ineffable God? Christian mystics have approached the problem by speaking of God using "negative" language—devices such as grammatical negation and the rhetoric of "darkness" or "unknowing"—and their efforts have fascinated contemporary scholars. In this strikingly original work, Thomas A. Carlson reinterprets premodern approaches to God's ineffability and postmodern approaches to the mystery of the human subject in light of one another. The recent interest in mystical theological traditions, Carlson argues, is best understood in relation to contemporary philosophy's emphasis on the idea of human finitude and mortality.

Combining both historical research in theology (from Pseudo-Dionysius to Aquinas to Eckhart) and contemporary philosophical analysis (from Hegel and Nietzsche to Heidegger, Derrida, and Marion), Indiscretion will interest philosophers, theologians, and other scholars concerned with the possibilities and limits of language surrounding both God and human subjectivity.

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Knowledge and the Transcendent
An Inquiry into the Mind's Relationship to God
Paul A. Macdonald Jr.
Catholic University of America Press, 2009
Knowledge and the Transcendent advances the provocative claim that the human mind is not "bounded" on the outside but actually remains "open" to the world and to God.

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Learning to Trust in Freedom
Signs from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions
David B. Burrell, C.S.C.
University of Scranton Press, 2010

True religious faith cannot be confirmed by any external proofs. Rather, it is founded on a basic act of trust—and the common root of that trust, for Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, is a belief in the divine creation of the universe. But with Learning to Trust in Freedom, David B. Burrell asks the provocative question: How do we reach that belief, and what is it about the universe that could possibly testify to its divine origins? Even St. Augustine, he points out, could only find faith after a harrowing journey through the lures of desire—and it is that very desire that Burrell seizes on as a tool with which to explore the origin and purpose of the world. Delving deep into the intertwinings of desire and faith, and drawing on St. John of the Cross, Edith Stein, and Charles Taylor, Burrell offers a new understanding of free will, trust, and perception.


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Praeambula Fidei
Thomism and the God of the Philosophers
Ralph McInerny
Catholic University of America Press, 2006
In this book, renowned philosopher Ralph McInerny sets out to review what Thomas meant by the phrase and to defend a robust understanding of Thomas's teaching on the subject.

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The Sea Within
Waves and the Meaning of All Things
Peter Kreeft
St. Augustine's Press, 2006

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Spirit's Gift
The Metaphysical Insight of Claude Bruaire
Antonio López, F.S.C.B.
Catholic University of America Press, 2006
Spirit's Gift is the first book in English devoted to the philosophy of Claude Bruaire (1932-1986). Its focus is the notion of gift, a notion that has recently been the subject of lively debate involving Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion, Marcel Mauss, and others.

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The Swedish Prophet
Reflections on the Visionary Philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg
Jose Antonio Anton-Pacheco
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2012

José Antonio Antón-Pacheco exercises his expertise in philosophy in this meditation on the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg.

In this book he tackles subjects as diverse as the nature of unity and the way that the Divine manifests in the world; the nature of human beings as they relate to the higher realms, and specifically Swedenborg’s concept of the Grand Man or Universal Human; the mystical nature of Swedenborg’s interpretation of the Bible; and the nature of time and space in the spiritual world. Alongside his exploration of Swedenborg’s thought are examinations of Swedenborg’s influence on a variety of different thinkers and authors, from Jorge Luis Borges to Ibn ’Arabi.

This book was originally published in Spanish as El profeta del norte: Un libro sobre Swedenborg. Perfect for scholars and serious students of Swedenborg’s thought, Antón Pacheco’s powerful writing casts a new light on the Swedish prophet.


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The Texture of Being
Essays in First Philosophy
Kenneth L. Schmitz
Catholic University of America Press, 2007
Diverse in topics yet unified in purpose, this volume brings together Schmitz's penetrating and rich insight into being, produced over many years, to offer readers a magisterial study from one of the great Christian philosophers of our time.

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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 Three Dynamisms of Faith
Searching for Meaning, Fulfillment, and Truth
Louis Roy
Catholic University of America Press, 2017
Is the faith journey a matter of reflection, of emotion, or of obedience? Is there valid and convincing evidence that does enable human beings to assent to Jesus Christ and his message? What is the influence of cognitive assumptions and of affective tende

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Witness and Existence
Essays in Honor of Schubert M. Ogden
Edited by Philip E. Devenish and George L. Goodwin
University of Chicago Press, 1989
For over thirty years Schubert Ogden has championed and exemplified a particular understanding of the task and content of Christian theology. The task of theology is to examine the meaning and truth of Christian faith in terms of human experience. All theological claims, therefore, are assessable by two criteria: their appropriateness to the normative Christian witness and their credibility in terms of human existence. The content of Christian theology may be accurately and succinctly stated in two words: radical monotheism. The point of all theological doctrines, from christology to ethics, is to reflect on the gift and demand of God's love. It may be said, then, that Ogden's entire theological project consists in the attempt to show that radical monotheism, which is the essential point of the Christian witness, is also the inclusive end of human existence.

Witness and Existence pays tribute to Ogden by bringing together essays by eminent scholars in New Testament studies and philosophical theology, two fields which directly reflect his methodological concerns and his substantive contributions. The book honors Ogden precisely by engaging the fundamental issues which Ogden himself has taken so seriously.

The first group of essays presents careful analyses of issues basic to the early Christian witness; the second group examines the credibility of the Christian claim about God in terms of human experience. The editors' introductory essay provides the first comprehensive analysis yet to appear of Ogden's theology. A complete bibliography of his published writings is included as an appendix.

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