Sunday’s Sermon

English: Cosmological argument on ex nihilo—Pr...

English: Cosmological argument on ex nihilo—Procreation (Gap) Theory, Abrahamic Philosophy. Created image using ‘Paint.NET’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

William J. Wainwright

Reason, Revelation, and Devotion: Inference and Argument in Religion

William J. Wainwright, Reason, Revelation, and Devotion: Inference and Argument in Religion, Cambridge University Press, 2016, 203pp., $27.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781107650367.

Reviewed by Matthew Frise, Baylor University

This book focuses on fringes. It aims to legitimize a central role in religious reasoning for things philosophers have either overlooked or looked down on: religious texts, the passions, rhetoric, revelation, and God’s mysterious nature. Its breadth is admirable. It discusses in detail thinkers from eastern and western religious and philosophical traditions, from antiquity to present. Its topics are interesting and underexplored in philosophy, and Wainwright navigates them with minimal jargon and technicality. The book is part of an interdisciplinary text series for undergraduates studying religion and philosophy, and it will serve its target audience well. However, its underdevelopment on some fronts will limit its appeal to philosophers at the graduate level or beyond. I will remark further on this after summarizing each chapter.

Chapter 1 offers four instances of religious reasoning, so that the reader will have concrete examples to refer back to. It states and evaluates Samuel Clarke’s cosmological argument for God‘s existence, Wainwright’s own reasoning on omnipotence, historical Hindu and Buddhist reasoning on whether the “ultimate reality” is a person, and Pelagius and Augustine’s dispute about freedom and grace.

Read the review.

English: Pat Neff Hall on the Baylor Universit...

English: Pat Neff Hall on the Baylor University Campus This image was taken by Enoch Lai on October 25, 2003 on the Baylor University Campus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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