A Concise Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion by Anthony Thiselton

By Anthony Thiselton

Masking thinkers from Plato to Freud, supplying specific explainations of primary ideas, and outlining transparent definitions of complicated principles, this can be a finished reference device for all these learning, or attracted to, the philosophy of faith.

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While awaiting execution he composed his work On the Consolation of Philosophy (524–5). He attempted to bring together aspects of Hellenistic and Roman philosophy with Christian thought. One of the most important conceptual influences bequeathed by Boethius for philosophy of religion was his formulation of a logic of eternity. Eternity was not to be conceived of as ‘human’ time stretched out in both directions. Boethius recognized that it belonged to God. Eternity is a mode of reality that grasped ‘the whole’ of past, present, and future as a whole.

What does it mean to believe . . What are the consequences of the belief, where it takes us . . The surroundings give it its importance’ (Philosophical Investigations, Oxford: Blackwell, 1967, I, sects. 578 and 583). ‘I believe’ is not giving a report on my state of mind. ‘Believing . . is a kind of disposition of the believing person . . shown . . , II, 191). Price includes a plausible account of ‘half-belief’. How is it that some believers act in certain ways consonant with their beliefs ‘on some occasions’ but act very differently ‘on other occasions’ (Belief, 305)?

This is ‘the complete possession all at once (totum simul) of an illimitable life’. Although strictly eternity is not ‘everlastingness’ in the human sense of this term, because God is ‘infinite’, eternity remains ‘illimitable’, and in this special, qualified sense ‘endless’. A greater conceptual problem is raised by the use of ‘simul’, at once, at the same time. Is it conceivable that the living, dynamic, purposive, God would exclude ‘succession’ from eternity? Boethius might see this as implicit in simul, but what currency remains?

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