George Pattison God and Being: An Enquiry

ISBN 13: 9780199673971

God and Being: An Enquiry

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9780199673971: God and Being: An Enquiry

Western theology has long regarded "Being" as a category pre-eminently applicable to God, the supreme Being who is also the source of all existence. This idea was challenged in the later philosophy of Martin Heidegger and identified with the position he called "ontotheology." Heidegger's critique was repeated and radicalized in so-called postmodern thought, to the point that many theologians and philosophers of religion now want to talk instead of God as "beyond Being" or "without Being."

Against this background, God and Being attempts to look again at why the ideas of God and Being got associated in the first place and to investigate whether the critique of ontotheology really does require us to abandon this link. After exploring how this apparently abstract idea has informed Christian views of salvation and of the relationship between God and world, George Pattison examines how such categories as time, space, language, human relationships and embodiment affect our understanding of God and Being.

Pattison concludes that whilst Heidegger's critique has considerable force, it remains legitimate to speak of God as Being under certain restricted conditions. The most important of these is that God is better conceived in terms of purely possible Being rather than (as in classic Christian theology) "actual" Being. This leaves open possibilities of dialogue with, e.g., non-theistic religious traditions and with science that are foreclosed by traditional conceptions. Ultimately, however, all basic religious ideas must issue from and be seen to serve the requirements of embodied love.

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About the Author:


George Pattison is Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford and a Canon of Christ Church Cathedral. He has taught at the University of Aarhus and is a vising professor at the University of Copenhagen. For ten years he was Dean of Chapel at King's College, Cambridge and before that was a parish priest for 14 years. He studied at Edinburgh and Durham. He has written extensively on modern theology and philosophy of religion, with special emphasis on Kierkegaard and existentialism, including Heidegger and Dostoevsky, as well as on theology and the arts.

Review:

"Encyclopedic in range and formidable in learning, God and Being lives up to its ambitious title in a refreshingly modest way...there are surprises and delights on nearly every page for even the most seasoned expert in the field." --Stephen H. Webb, Conversations in Religion and Theology 29/11/2011

"Here are imaginative and often elegant reflections which will strike chords, jog memories, and provoke reciprocal reflection." --G. M. Newlands, Journal of Theological Studies 13/08/12

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