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The Shaping of Rationality: Toward Interdisciplinarity in Theology and Science [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Shaping of Rationality: Toward Interdisciplinarity in Theology and Science by J. Wentzel Van Huyssteen...

Confronting head-on the intellectual challenges raised by postmodern thought, this volume offers a convincing defense of human reason and the legitimacy of theological reflection. Building on the line of argument pursued in his most recent writings, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen here develops his notion of a "postfoundationalist rationality," finding within the rich resources of human thought the possibility--and vital need--for complementary dialogue between religion and science. Learned and fully engaged with current philosophical trends, this volume is a must-read for anyone seeking a sound foundation for faith in a scientifically oriented world.

Publishers Description
In the proliferation of new books on theology and science, this book is unique in its special focus on the problem of rationality in religion and scientific reflection. Confronting head-on the intellectual challenges raised by postmodern thought, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen argues forcefully for the interdisciplinary nature and public status of theological reflection. Building on the line of argument pursued in his most recent writings, the author develops his notion of "postfoundationalist rationality," finding within the rich resources of human thought the possibility -- and vital need -- for interdisciplinary conversation between theology and science.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   303
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.46" Width: 6.3" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   1.24 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1999
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802838685  
ISBN13  9780802838681  

Availability  0 units.

More About J. Wentzel Van Huyssteen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Erik P. Wiebe is Associate Pastor for Christian Formation and Community Outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, CA.

J. Wentzel van Huyssteen is the James I. McCord Professor Emeritus of Theology and Science at Princeton Theological Seminary and in 2003 became the first South African and the first Princeton Seminary professor to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures.

J. Wentzel Van Huyssteen was born in 1942.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion
6Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy > Science
7Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Science, Faith & Evolution

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Shaping of Rationality: Toward Interdisciplinarity in Theology and Science?

The Challenge of Rationality  Mar 28, 2002
With much erudition J. Wentzel van Huyssteen takes up the postmodern challenge to rationality and argues that properly explicated it is the bridge over which theology and science can cross together. The book is much more than an apology for theology as a rational discipline. I wish it were not so but theology still needs this apology. Part of the reason is its reliance on various forms of foundationalism and fideism and as van Huyssteen appropriately understands, theology cannot function under this protective cover and still be a respected partner in the public arena concerning matters of importance. This book is a valid and persuasive argument that the road to interdisciplinary dialogue must pass through rationality, while splitting the difference between foundationalist objectivism and nonfoundationalist relativism; and this is the postmodern challenge that both science and theology must overcome.

Undoubtedly, science and theology share certain epistemic resources, such as appropriate evidence, giving good reasons, finding optimal understanding. Van Huyssteen is not as convincing when he begins to explore the degree of separation or distinction between science and theology. He acknowledges their use of different reasoning strategies, different methodological criteria, different governing interests, and different "objects of study." Try as he does to erect a rational bridge, the author underestimates the differences. One looks for but does not find a discussion of faith, revelation, and inspiration as epistemological prerequisites for theology but anathemas for science.

This discussion concerning rationality does not end with van Huyssteen's book, because the more fundamental challenge is how theology and science converse when their "objects of study" (ontology) are so very different, if not antithetical. Theology loses its integrity once God becomes something less than the Subject forever disrupting the foundations on which we stand. If there is to be a fitting together of epistemology and ontology, as I believe each discipline must do, then theology and science may be rivals as much as they are rational cousins.

The New Shape of Rationality  Feb 1, 2000
This latest book by J. Wentzel van Huyssteen provides an overview of the contemporary epistemological landscape as it shapes the dialogue between theology and science. More than an overview, however, this volume offers an exciting new model of rationality, which the author calls "postfoundationalism." Charting a course between the absolutism of modernist foundationalism and the relativism of some forms of postmodern anti-foundationalism, van Huyssteen refigures the ideals of truth and progress. Moving beyond the old dichotomy between faith and reason, he notes that both science and theology involve the fallible search for intelligibility.

The first chapter outlines the postmodern challenge to rationality -- many philosophers of science are now calling our attention to the local nature of even the natural sciences. This does not necessarily entail relativism, however, as van Huyssteen shows in the second chapter, which critically analyzes the proposals of "nonfoundational" theologians such as Lindbeck and Thiemann. The third chapter is the center of the book both literally and materially. Here the author outlines his "postfoundationalist" vision of thelogical rationality, which interprets the "postmodern" as a to-and-fro movement between the concerns of modernity and the critique of positive forms of postmodernity. The last two chapters are constructive proposals for theological interdisciplinary engagement. Chapter four explores the pervasive role of experience (which is always and already interpreted) in rationality, and chapter five examines the relation of theological rationality to "tradition." In both chapters, van Huyssteen affirms the postmodern recognition that experience and tradition shape our theological reasoning, but revisions the task of theology in a way that holds onto the public nature of its rational truth claims.

For anyone interested in the fascinating dialogue between theology and science, and the underlying philosophical and epistemological currents that shape interdisciplinarity, this book comes highly recommended.


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