What kind of experience might help to confirm and make sense of the puzzling belief in divine creation, so central to the main monotheistic religions? Anselm and Aquinas developed a philosophical understanding of 'Creation' as an asymmetrical relationship between the world and God, that is, that the world is really related to God in a relationship of total dependence but God is in no way really related to or modified by this created world. This idea of an asymmetrical relationship is the key concept unifying all aspects of this book which discusses the three main inter-related questions in a philosophical discussion about God -- the question of meaning, the question of existence, and the question of co-existence. The book explores various 'ciphers' of this asymmetrical relationship in our pre-philosophical lived experience. These are experiences such as that of the relationship between our knowledge and what we know, or our sense of obligation to our vulnerable neighbour. It argues that deciphering such experiences helps to make sense of the 'asymmetrical' relation of creation and that it in turn makes sense of them. Masterson argues further that this idea of asymmetrical relationship provides insight into the main questions of philosophy of religion and is an illuminating source of critical dialogue with contemporary Anglo/American and Phenomenological approaches in philosophy of religion.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Describing God; World and God; Idea and existence of god; God and grammar: echoes of Wittgenstein; Knowledge and transcendence; Morality and transcendence; Analogy and transcendence; Co-existence and transcendence; Phenomenology and transcendence; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
This is a major and significant contribution to the growing debate on contemporary philosophy of religion. Drawing on several influential movements of thought - analytic, continental and medieval/classical - Masterson makes a powerful argument. What is so remarkable about this thinker is that he is as much at ease with Aristotle and Aquinas as with Levinas, Wittgenstein or DZ Phillips. His scholarship is deep, his reasoning at all times lucid, cogent and persuasive. This is a passionately argued book which will provoke considerable interest and response. It is rare to find an author committed at once to the best traditions of metaphysics and the most cutting-edge debates of contemporary thought. Richard Kearney, Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College, USA ’The book is, incontrovertibly, a model of responsible engagement with classic texts and thinkers of the past and present which forges an invigorating contemporary re-statement of essentials. And is it not a good sign of any book that one finishes it wishing for more? We should all hope that there will be more to come from Paddy Masterson, philosopher.’ The Irish Times ’... (a) subtle and important book...’ New Blackfriars ’In this well-structured, clearly written and stimulating book, Masterson revisits the rational justification for the claim that ’God created the world’... Masterson’s book provides much food for thought, indicating further avenues for exploration. Furthermore, he situates a ’classical’ approach within contemporary trends of philosophy of religion, including phenomenonology. In doing so, he posits metaphysics as an indispensable counterpart - an attractive assertion.’ Theological Book Review ’... an important and timely work ... wonderfully rich...’ Irish Theological Quarterly ’Masterson's book provides an insightful, well argued, and very accessible journey through a fascinatingly broad range of interrelated topics in the philosophy of relig