- Tapa dura: 280 páginas
- Editor: Kessinger Pub Co (1 de julio de 2007)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0548176426
- ISBN-13: 978-0548176429
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
Protestant Thought Before Kant (Inglés) Tapa dura – jul 2007
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This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.
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McGiffert does his very best to treat these great thinkers seriously and concisely. We move briskly from the mediæval background to the Reformation -- namely Augustine -- through Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and Luther's student Philip Melanchthon. From there we get all manner of new Christians: we get Anabaptists and Socinians, Puritans and Pietists and evangelicals. They loathed each other. They viewed Christ differently. They viewed the relation between civil and spiritual government differently. Some took the Bible more literaly, some more symbolically. Some -- most -- of them viewed man as bottomlessly depraved, salvageable only by divine intervention. One sect's optimism forced its opponents to adopt an even more reactionary position. And so the whole mess spun out of control. (Well, that's one way to frame it. Another way is that the ambiguities in the Bible and in the life of Jesus, combined with new print technologies and wider literacy, led naturally to a flowering of divergent ideas. This is the kind of flowering where people kill one another. Death flowers.)
One outcome of all of this was Rationalism -- making peace with the scientific and mathematical changes being wrought all around them and trying to justify Christianity on the basis of objectively obvious axioms. These didn't work out. One proof (described on p. 227) is based on the rightness of Christian ethics: since the outcome of Christianity is right living, clearly Christianity is right and true. Naturally one has to then argue that no other system of ethics could possibly produce right outcomes. The only way one can really cling to such a belief is by ignoring the non-Christian world altogether. This the British, among others, did.
Maybe Christianity is totally incompatible with argument. This would conflict with a few hundred years during which Christians did feverishly try to make their religion mesh with reason, but why not? Late in the game, then, we get books with titles like Dodwell's: Christianity Not Founded on Argument: And the True Principle of Gospel-Evidence Assigned, counseling us that "Religion will not admit of the least alliance with reason," that "The only power to bring us to religious faith is the Holy Spirit," and that we should "trust ... in the Lord with all [our] heart[s], and lean not unto [our] own understanding." This has a certain kind of honesty, but it sounds suspiciously like the terrified ravings of someone who's been backed into a corner: not only is he not scared, he's happy to be in the corner. He cannot explain why standards of argument that apply everywhere else do not apply to his own favored religion, so he pretends that he's not obliged to argue.
Protestant Thought Before Kant is sort of the dual of Diarmaid MacCulloch's sweeping epic, "The Reformation." Where MacCulloch was expansive and detailed, McGiffert is tightly focused and content to paint arcs. Where MacCulloch methodically covers the history with only enough theology to fill in some gaping holes, McGiffert's book is a little gem of theology with virtually no history surrounding it. The Thirty Years' War merits only a peep from McGiffert, whereas the first half or two-thirds of MacCulloch's book teased us toward the War's final convulsion.
McGiffert could use more history; its absence means that he has to fall back to metaphysical handwaving. He tells us that liberalism, with its new feelings of optimism about man's place in the world and his ultimate redemption, emerged from some vague "modern spirit" (p. 176) or "general spirit of the modern age" (p. 187). As someone who respects historical materialism of the Guns, Germs, and Steel vein, this just won't do. But I can't blame McGiffert for cutting out almost all history: he wanted to pack all of Reformation theology into a couple hundred pages. I'll cut the guy some slack.