Exploring the Philosophy of Religion (5th Edition)

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9780130195197: Exploring the Philosophy of Religion (5th Edition)

This introduction to the philosophy of religion helps readers understand the primary sources that are essential for genuine philosophical understanding. Its careful selection of important classical and contemporary readings, along with a clear, understandable analysis and discussion of the topics, helps build a basic vocabulary of philosophical and religious terms while becoming fluent in the main philosophical issues in religion. Chapter topics include the varieties of religious experience, religion and life, religion and human destiny, argument's for God's existence, the problem of evil, and religious language. This book presents an appealing mixture of classical and contemporary authors from Descartes, Paley and Kierkegaard to Otto, James, and Buber to such current writers as Wendy Doniger, Mary Daly, and David Ray Griffin. For philosophers or anyone who likes to philosophize about important religious questions and their relation to life.

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From the Back Cover:

The text offers a rich, yet approachable, introduction to philosophy of religion for the beginning student that is distinguished by the following special features:

  • Introductions that help prepare students for meaningful discussion of the readings
  • Appealing mixture of classical and contemporary authors from Plato, Descartes, Kant, Paley, and Kierkegaard to contemporary thinkers such as John Hick, Richard Taylor, David Ray Griffin, and Paul Ricoeur.
  • Consideration of issues from both Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Discussion of process thought, often omitted from introductory texts

New to this edition are readings on religious pluralism by John Hick, a compelling analysis of God's female nature by Rosemary Ruether, and such classic readings as Paul Tillich on faith as ultimate concern, Kant's moral argument for God's existence, John Stuart Mill's analysis of the limits of natural theology, and the contrast in ancient Greek thought between Plato and Epicurus on death and human destiny and its difference from the early Christian view.

The book couples clear and understandable analysis with important primary-source readings on topics that have a permanent place in the philosophy of religion.

Also of Interest

Fundamentals of Philosophy, 5th edition by David Stewart and H. Gene Blocker
An accessible reader/text for beginning students of philosophy that offers a broad scope and diversity of classic and contemporary selections with introductions that present difficult issues in an understandable manner.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PREFACE

A new edition of a textbook provides the occasion for correcting some of the deficiencies of the former edition as well as responding to the needs of the book's users. I have incorporated suggestions of several reviewers by changing the order of the selections, beginning with the more "existential" topics and then going on to the more abstract issues. The first chapter, now entitled "The Varieties of Religious Experience" might have been headed the "phenomenon" of religion, though I feared that this would impose too great an expectation on the offerings of that section. The readings address the question of how the religious impulse arises, whether in religious experience, the feelings of the numinous, or the encounter with the Eternal Thou. Also, in an increasingly global marketplace both for the exchange of goods and services as well as the exchange of ideas, it seemed necessary to address the pluralistic nature of religious faith, and the new selection by John Hick—The Pluralistic Hypothesis—does precisely that.

The readings in the chapter on religion and human destiny also respond to readers' requests for more classic sources. New in this section are excerpts from Epicurus, Plato, and the New Testament. This return to classics is found also in the chapter detailing arguments for God's existence with selections from Paley on the design argument and Kant on the moral argument. In teaching this course I find that students are intensely interested in the divine attributes and with such questions as divine foreknowledge and human freedom. The new selection from J. S. Mill on the divine attributes provides an opportunity to discuss this topic in the context of a theodicy derived solely from natural theology.

The following chapter dealing with faith and reason is supplemented by an extract from Paul Tillich's Dynamics of Faith detailing his view of faith as ultimate concern. This topic is not only important in showing a possible way of understanding faith but also in providing students with a vocabulary to discuss this important issue.

New to the chapter on religious language is Rosemary Ruether's important paper on The Female Nature of God. Coming at the end of the section analyzing the nonliteral use of language when speaking of the divine, this piece shows how our understanding of the divine nature can be enhanced by the feminine imagery found in traditional God talk. All the new readings in this edition respond to users' requests for lengthier selections with shorter introductory summaries.

This edition continues to include selections from Eastern as well as Western religious traditions and follows the general plan of this text to combine the best features of a text and a reader. The book attempts to provide both clear and understandable analysis, coupled with important primary-source readings. The topics chosen have a permanent place in the philosophy of religion, but users of the book do not need to use the chapters in the order in which they are presented here.

I am also indebted to David Bruce for his help with research, proofreading, and indexing. Immense support was given to this project by my Prentice Hall editors Karita France dos Santos and Ross Miller with additional support from Jennifer Ackerman and assistant editor Katie Janssen, without whose help this new edition would have been impossible.

David Stewart
Ohio University

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