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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Superb anthology15 Oct. 2007
Elizabeth G. Melillo
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For those with an appetite for pursuing the philosophy of religion, this volume is a genuine banquet. Prominent contemporary philosophers, each contributing an essay on one particular topic, provide superb summaries of historical approaches to the issues, and an overview, often with an argument for a position, of the latest perspectives on omniscience, the problem of evil, providence and miracles, and other topics pondered since the days of Plato. I was impressed by the superb writings styles of many of the contributors as well. This is no 'dry summary,' nor is the English edited (as many books are today) to sound as if it were aimed at children of 10. Scientific and mathematical illustrations in many of the essays allow one to explore the elements of logical reasoning which underline the conclusions.
This particular volume is insufficient (and clearly not intended) to be a 'standalone' undergraduate textbook. Davies' "Guide and Anthology" would be a worthwhile companion volume in such a setting, to provide the many primary sources with which one would need acquaintance for a full scale study of the subject. The "Guide to the Subject" is more suited to either those who already have a background in religious philosophy, or as enrichment for those using more exhaustive texts. The philosophers who composed these essays are acclaimed in their fields, and a reading will immediately make it apparent why this is so, but there is only a single essay on each topic - intriguing, but not enough for those who have no previous familiarity with the area. Many noteworthy philosophers' ideas are included in references, but it would be absolutely essential, in a university setting, to have students read those philosophers' original work.
The book is presented primarily from a Christian and scriptural perspective - which should not be a problem overall, because most topics treated are key amongst controversies in western thought. (Try a few of the arguments on Richard Dawkins, for example.) Those who need a more comprehensive study, for example to understand Buddhist or Hindu approaches, would also need supplemental sources.
The writing in this volume is quite brilliant. My only caveat, not to minimise the value of the book itself but in its value as a textbook, is that it would need to be one of several sources included in a course.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Slightly less than perfect.26 Sept. 2011
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Received volume quickly but had some damage to the cover and a few pages. Could have been in handling. Not sure.