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Incoming Reviews: December 5, 2011

December 5th, 2011 by admin

The first day of the month usually marks our reception of many online reviews of our titles. This weekend, we received five such reviews. Though some reviews are not entirely timely, they speak volumes of the books and their respective authors.

The Sacred Body: Asceticism in Religion, Literature, Art, and Culture by David Jasper, reviewed in Christian Scholar's Review (2010, 39:3).

As an author, Jasper is not ashamed to bare his own life before the reader's eyes. His method is refreshingly frank in its idiosyncrasy: personal anecdotes are common, the personal pronoun is abundant, and the book as a whole has an artful, syncopated quality.

The Hope of Liberation in World Religion by Miguel A. De La Torre, reviewed in Journal of Eccumenical Studies (2011, 46:1).

[This volume] clearly demonstrates the necessity of moving interreligious dialogue into a liberationist context, where the experiences of the oppressed constitute the starting point for the dialogue.

Kierkegaard on the Faith and the Self: Collected Essays by C. Stephen Evans, reviewed in Perspectives in Religious Studies (2011, 38:1).

[E]xcellent and well-written.... It is clear that Evans' love for Kierkegaard is driven by his conviction that Kierkegaard will help one become both a better philosopher and a better Christian. With this in mind, Evans exhorts his reader to pick up Kierkegaard for herself, to be troubled by Kierkegaard in a good way.

American Women and Classical Myths by Gregory A. Staley, reviewed in International Journal of Classical Tradition (2010, 17:1).

This volume is distinguished by a specific focus on the United States, and in particular on women's interaction with classical mythology.... American Women and Classical Myths is recommended for information on women's contribution to the history of Classics in the United States, as well as for a study of the reception of female figures from Classical mythology.

Also reviewed is Wilhelm Pratscher's The Apostolic Fathers: An Introduction in Sewanee Theological Review.

Yenor's Family Politics deep, thorough

November 7th, 2011 by admin

The declining modern family, if statistics have any weight, is a well known phenomenon. Additionally, it is no secret that politics have had their say in the issue. Enter Scott Yenor's recently released Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought, reviewed this month in the Claremont Review of Books.

THE STATISTICS ON THE DECLINE OF THE American family are by now all too familiar: the rate of out-of-wedlock births in the United States stands at 40% (in the African-American community, nearly 70%); divorce rates at 43%; and co-habitation rates have doubled among 30- to 44-year-olds in the past 10 years. Though the divorce rate has ticked downward, contemporary trends in family life are hardly encouraging.

As he describes them, our culture wars over the family pit the entire liberal tradition, from Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, and Mill to modern feminism and even such neoconservatives as James Q. Wilson, against the moral and religious teachings of the Catholic Church. Relying on Pope John Paul II's metaphysical and religious arguments is perfectly understandable given Yenor's contention that modern political thought has had the effect, and in many cases the intention, of undermining the natural and conventional foundations of the family.

Scott Yenor's new book, Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought, is a philosophic reflection on the troubles of the modern family. In several hundred pages he covers a wide range of the most important modern philosophic, political, social scientific, and religious works on the family. Few treatments of the foundational problems of the family are this thorough or deep.

Read the full review online here.

Book Review: M. G. Piety's Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard's Pluralist Epistemology

October 19th, 2011 by admin

In the most current issue of The Review of Metaphysics (2011, 65:1) is a stellar review of M. G. Piety's Ways of Knowing which explores Kierkegaard's epistemology. The reviewer begins, 

Piety's book is a tightly reasoned and sharply focused study. Her task is to explicate Kierkegaard's epistemological thought, which she admits is not systematically developed nor even a central focus of his writings, but it is, in her judgment, of critical importance to "his views on religious faith and its role in human experience." Piety claims that Kierkegaard is an epistemological pluralist, although she admits that many of the epistemological "views attributed to him here were held more intuitively than as the result of conscious analysis." Nevertheless, she claims that the epistemological views she presents "may be inferred and extracted from various parts of Kierkegaard's corpus and that if the views are sometimes confusing in their complexity, they nevertheless form a largely coherent whole."

Read the entire review here

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