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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum; Reprint edition (23 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147291273X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472912732
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Roger Scruton is currently Research Professor for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences where he teaches philosophy at their graduate school in both Washington and Oxford. He is a writer, philosopher and public commentator. He has specialised in aesthetics with particular attention to music and architecture. He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist. He has written widely in the press on political and cultural issues.


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Review

Roger Scruton is one of our most interesting intellectuals... This is an important book, with a very wide cultural range. It is brave in pointing to a turning away from God as the fundamental plight of our times. --The Church Times

... [Scruton's] sequence on the structure of the eff able (buildings) is good, and the book contains many interesting and prettily phrased thoughts. --The Guardian

Developing his 2010 Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews, Scruton examines the view that God is to be understood through one's communion with fellow humans, and not through philosophical speculation about the ground of being. To this end, he explores the relevant meanings of the terms 'I,' 'you,' and 'why,' in connection with the ideas of the face of a person, the face of the world, and the face of God. His account distinguishes the states of persons from the states of nonpersonal animals in terms of 'inter-personal intentionality' that is irreducible to a biological (or other natural scientific) category. One's familiar personal subjectivity (what it's like to be a person) resist full explanation by the best natural sciences, but this, according to Scruton, does not challenge its reality. Scruton develops this account with illuminating attention to some classic artworks (the book has 20 illustrations), and the book's introduction and five chapters are consistently nontechnical and accessible. --P.K. Moser, Loyola University Chicago

About the Author

Roger Scruton is visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall Oxford and visiting Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R Brewer on 16 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
(This review first appeared in Philosophia Christi 15.1 [2013], 208ff.)

In this published version of the Gifford Lectures delivered at the University of St Andrews in 2010, Roger Scruton, the British writer, philosopher and self-proclaimed skeptical Anglican, argues for theistic belief via the face. Scruton's thesis appears in the final paragraph of Chapter 1. He states: "I shall argue that we can reconcile the God of the philosophers with the God who is worshipped and prayed to by the ordinary believer, provided we see that this God is understood not through metaphysical speculations concerning the ground of being, but through communion with our fellow humans (21)". He goes on to construct "a general theory of the face: the face of the person, the face of the world, and the face of God (21)". That said, humankind's response is to "destroy the face (1)", and this in an attempt "to escape from the eye of judgment (2)".

Scruton begins with the scientific worldview via Richard Dawkins, the Big Bang theory and Immanuel Kant, but finds the scientific worldview wanting. He then considers two responses: Richard Swinburne's version of the argument from the fine-tuning of the universe and Stephen Hawking's version of Brandon Carter's weak anthropic principle, but finds these similarly wanting. After a brief discussion of the Newtonian world, the theory of relativity and Quantum mechanics, Scruton concludes "that while science has closed the gap between the world and our knowledge, it has also dissolved the world in the knowledge. By becoming knowable the world has ceased to be imaginable (8)".

Turning to Aristotle, Avicenna, and then Aquinas, Scruton argues for a "relation of dependence that binds the world to God (13)", and this in distinction to a causal relation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. J. Humble on 18 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "The Face of God", the philosopher Roger Scruton considers the epistemological possibility of the revelation of God and our apprehension of Him in the Universe. The book consists of an expanded series of addresses given at the University of St. Andrews as the Gifford Lectures in 2010. For Scruton, the apprehension of the presence of God is part of a two- way process by which we perceive God as revealed to us in time and history as a person, the consequence of which is that we, as His creation, are endowed with person hood and subjectivity. God is a person with a face, and we are likewise persons with faces. With those faces we look out on the world, are responsible to it and are judged by it. In that lies our capacity for self- transcendence and the means to co-operate with God in the task of re-enchanting a world that became disenchanted (sundered from God by Original Sin) after the Fall. That is our central task in life as followers or disciples of God. That is what we strive to do when we obey Christ's injunction to follow the two great commandments of love of God and love of neighbour ("Agape").

The face of God cannot be discovered or proved according to the causal laws of physics, the laws of matter and nature. Rather, it can only be perceived by a disposition of receptivity to God's call and invitation to friendship with Him. According to Scruton, the existence of God and the truthfulness of revelation cannot be ascertained by reason and evidence; indeed they occupy a different category of knowledge to that of scientific reason.

The hiddeness of God is a constant challenge to human reason. The Hebrew Bible contains passages calling on God to "rend the heavens and come down".
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By arcanewaif on 17 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Scruton's treatment of this idea is very engaging and thought-provoking. Despite the drama surrounding this figure, I think he has a lot of intelligent things to say and it's well worth our time to spend it reading/listening to this man.

This series of Gifford lectures is also available online, so one can hear him speak in person and answer audience questions that were raised in response to those lectures. I do not know if they differ in any substantial way from this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Iain R. Wear on 21 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
Atheist culture has recently become more mainstream, thanks in part to the success of Richard Dawkins' book, ''The God Delusion''. However, religion does still have a part to play, with Prince Charles urging the United Kingdom to be more tolerant towards faiths other than the Church of England he was raised as part of and even the Prime Minister talking about faith issues. Since 1888, the Gifford Lectures have been given to ''promote and diffuse...the knowledge of God''.

In Spring 2010, the Gifford Lectures were given by Roger Scruton and ''The Face of God'' is the transcript of those lectures. Scruton aims to show that there is still a place for God in modern society. He looks at the atheist view and how it removes God from the world, before looking at how the individual fits in and where the face of God appears in the lives of the individual and the life of the planet.

Although I am much closer to agreeing with Scruton's worldview than I am that of the likes of Dawkins, I did find ''The Face of God'' to be a struggle to read. Scruton is clearly highly educated and his arguments certainly seemed very sound, but I'm not particularly well educated in this area and I found the writing style very fussy and much of the arguments, particularly the philosophical ones early on, went way over my head. When he came to talk about God's place in the world, something I'm a little more familiar with, I found it easier to read, but still a bit of a struggle.

Even allowing for my lack of intelligence affecting how I found the book, the writing style was also a little fussy for my tastes. Even without the knowledge that this was a transcript of a lecture series, this becomes apparent very early on.
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