Reading Philosophy

Authored by: Simon Oliver

The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415617369
eBook ISBN: 9781315724799
Adobe ISBN: 9781317532026

10.4324/9781315724799.ch6

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Abstract

We often think that theology and philosophy have a natural association. As theologians, we expect to read texts and discuss questions that fall within the ambit of philosophy. For example, most students will engage with philosophy of religion in its various guises. Such works might focus on specific questions concerning the existence of God or the problem of evil. A philosophical approach to religion might also include fundamental issues of existence and knowledge in relation to God, or the science of interpretation that we call hermeneutics. However, when we consider the activity of ‘reading philosophy’, what is it that we are invited to read? There are countless philosophical traditions that produce very different texts, from the dialogues of Plato to the lectures of Hegel, the treatises of Plotinus to the laconic notes of Wittgenstein. Each tradition has its own priorities, methods, and questions that have countless theological implications. Likewise, theology has implications for the way in which we understand the nature and scope of philosophy.

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