Fides et Ratio in the Renaissance


Paul Richard Blum, Philosophy of Religion in the Renaissance(Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), ISBN-13: 9780754607816 (hbk.), 9781409402626 (ebk.), ISBN-10: CHECK, ISBN-10: 075460781X, pp. ix + 211 pp.


Abstract. Philosophy of religion, once taken out of determined contexts such as seventeenth century Cambridge, eighteenth century salons or contemporary analytic departments, is an elusive notion. In this book it covers all discourse on God and creation, be it theological, religious or philosophic. However, the definition that Paul Richard Blum puts forward is simple: “philosophy of religion is theology for non-believers” (p. vii). Given that much of the book is concerned with philosophical projects that sought, in one way or another, a rationalization of the revelation, – which displayed a level of anthropocentrism that sometimes went beyond what Christian theology was willing to accommodate – the book stays true to the definition given. Blum’s thesis is that, “although no philosophy is without antecedents,” a specific dialectical relationship between theology (which discusses the reality of the existence of God), philosophy (the unengaged treatment of the concept of God, abstracted from its reality) and religion (the expression of faith in human practice) “is the achievement of Renaissance thought of the fourteenth through to the sixteenth century” (p. vii). His investigation will thus uncover the overlapping and delimitations of the areas of competence of these three fields, in a narrative meant to show that a specific equilibrium between them came into place in the Renaissance. It implies that the development of modernday philosophy of religion had its origin in the restructuration of Latin natural theology (praeambula fidei), brought about by new inquiries into the historicity of religion carried out by Renaissance thinkers.

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