More Random Study and Book Notes

I recently got Gilson’s ‘Thomist Realism and the Critique of Knowledge’, and wow, Gilson really, really, really cared about Thomistic realism. 90% of the book is him picking apart various neo-scholastic Thomistic realists, who, upon close examination, all pretty much believe the same thing, but, upon Gilson’s examination, all believe very different things. Difficult to read, but I’ll chalk it up to translation quality and my own muddled head. His more positive argumentation in the last two chapters is pretty interesting. I prefer ‘Methodical Realism,’ though.

Balthasar’s book on Gregory of Nyssa? Holy smokes. Holy freaking smokes. That is some dense, deep stuff. Understandable, but deep. Lots of philosophical theology is dense, but not deep – this is deep. Interesting theological anthropology, and I’ll probably comment a bit more in depth in coming posts.

John MacArthur’s now (in)famous Strange Fire conference is still making waves, or flames. I’m a charismatic myself, but the most offensive thing about the conference that I saw was my Facebook news feed blowing up with ‘#strangefire’, and, shortly after that, ‘#markdriscoll’. As to the content of the conference, suffice it to say that I regard it as a prime example of ‘get off my lawn, you damn kids (or charismatics)!’

I started reading John Owens ‘Death of Death’, book, at the recommendation of a Facebook friend. Interesting, but makes the (elementary, IMO) mistake of locating the atonement within the realm of causal metaphysics (something very much critiqued by Barth and Torrance). Good writing, but that basic error pretty much says it all.

Wolterstorff’s ‘Divine Discourse’, is really dense, but really good. Interesting use of divine command theory in the context of God speaking as one who has, or doesn’t have rights and duties.

I started reading Machiavelli’s ‘The Art of War,’ and it’s pretty interesting. His argument for a militia, as opposed to a professional standing army, is pretty thought-provoking.

Lately I’ve been watching Richard Swinburne and John Searle lectures and interviews on YouTube- boy, do those guys know their stuff. Searle is just so clear in his writing and lecturing, about such complex topics, and Swinburne just freaking knows everything about consciousness, mind, dualism, etc. I’ll probably be getting his new book on free will soon. Searle is really cool though, because although he’s a naturalist, he picks apart naive naturalism ruthlessly, and his own theory that consciousness is a purely biological phenomena is pretty interesting in itself.


4 thoughts on “More Random Study and Book Notes

    • whitefrozen November 9, 2013 / 7:30 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it – thanks for the comment 🙂


  1. Kevin Davis November 9, 2013 / 7:43 pm

    As a guy who gravitates toward dialectics, I am not supposed to like Swinburne — but, yes, he is awesome.

    Balthasar is not the clearest at times — lots of times — but he may be the deepest philosophical thinker ever. The breadth and depth of his knowledge is without parallel.

    I agree about Owen — from the vantage point of incarnation-and-atonement, as Barth and Torrance would have us do. But it is less clear whether “double predestination” of some sort is not unavoidable from the vantage point of God’s foreknowledge and providence. Just a thought.


    • whitefrozen November 9, 2013 / 7:53 pm

      What’s interesting about Swinburne is that he’s Greek orthodox, but also a substance dualist, and, as far as I know, Orthodox theological anthropology is not of a substance dualist persuasion. His voice also sounds like an Indiana Jones character.

      Barth had a double predestination thing going on, and, in typical Barthian fashion, located it in Christ, and, IMO, is pretty much dead right about it.


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