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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion Paperback – 30 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 3 edition (30 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199263477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199263479
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.8 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Davies' book is among the best, if not the best introductions to philosophy of religion. It is engaging, clear, rich in arguments, and provocative. This book provides a wonderful entry point into the field as well as offering the trained scholar some powerful, challenging arguments' (Charles Taliaferro, St Olaf College)

'This new edition of Brian Davies' work is written with his usual clarity and will again prove useful to students' (H. O. Mounce, University of Wales, Swansea)

About the Author

Brian Davies is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ousia on 19 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is easily the best available textbook in philosophy of religion at undergraduate level.

I'm afraid that the reviewer who describes the book as 'superficial' seems unfamiliar with the norms governing philosophy of religion in the analytic tradition. First, leaving questions 'open' in a textbook is not a failure. The role of a textbook author is to introduce students to debates, not to set him or herself up as a guru. Second, the reason the book concentrates on a 'Western' concept of God is that, rightly or wrongly, debate about God in analytic philosopher has drawn primarily on the classical monotheistic tradition.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 9 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brian Davies has written an excellent introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. He concentrates on theism, the doctrine of God as defined by the three major religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His discussion incorporates all the main issues arising from the subject, the nature and qualities of God, arguments from cosmology, design and ontology, question of omnipotence and omniscience, the problem of evil, miracles, morality and life after death. Each topic is discussed with balance, arguments for and against are marshaled, discussed and debated in a thoughtful manner which contrasts sharply with the nonsensical hysteria which passes for rational debate between theists and their opponents.

Davies's starting point is to differentiate between classical theism and theistic personalism. The former was developed from both Biblical and philosophical arguments which saw everything as being dependent on God for its being and existence while the latter is associated with process theology which denies individual immortality in favour of oneness with God eternally. In considering the philosophical concept of God Davies notes the argument that belief needs to be justified by reason but, citing Wittgenstein's distinction between surface and depth grammar, concludes that there are differences in believing in God and believing in a hypothesis which can be verified by evidence.

In brief, while the concept or existence of God is a hypothesis which can neither be verified nor falsified by empirical evidence, it is possible, as Alvin Plantinga suggests, " that it is entirely right, rational, reasonable and proper to believe in God without any evidence of argument".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Haynes on 27 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Intended as an introductory text for undergraduates and the general reader, Davies' book provides a broad and balanced account of philosophy of religion as practiced in the analytic tradition in America and the United Kingdom. The topics covered are those that are likely to be encountered by an undergraduate undertaking a first course: analysis of the monotheistic concept of divinity, arguments for the existence of God, miracles, the nature of religious language etc. The exclusion of Eastern religions and philosophy thus reflects the anglo-american academic tradition (if the is a charge of eurocentrism to me made, it seems unfair to level it at Davies: he is well aware of the material he chooses not to cover). Arguments are placed in the context of various traditions in Western philosophy, and are developed in sufficient depth to allow beginners to appreciate the complexity of the issues raised. The result is neither superfical nor subjective: OUP is to be congratulated in taking this excellent text book to a third edition.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By pwgray66@hotmail.com on 23 April 2002
Format: Paperback
As a raw undergrad., Davies was a life-saver, giving me a relatively unwordy, yet insightful synopsis and commentary on all the major fundamental questions. Each chapter deals with the issues whether it be theodicy, or each of the classical theisitc arguments (and their modern variations) with economy and clarity.
The latest text now serves as an excellent introduction for my A'Level students.
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