Christopher Blosser's Reviews > Christian Philosophy: An Introduction

Christian Philosophy by Étienne Gilson
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's review
Jul 06, 12

bookshelves: catholicism, christianity, philosophy, theology
Read in March, 2012

(Quick impressions)

The title can be misleading. "Introduction" not in the sense of elementary or for the popular reader, but rather an introduction to core concepts in Christian (Thomistic) philosophy. With titles like "He Who Is", "Beyond Essence", "Beyond Ontologies", "Causality and Participation", "Being and Essences", and "Being, Act and End" the layman can expect to get into some very heavy, very "dense" metaphysical reading. That said, I also found this conceptually to be one of the most challenging-yet-intellectually stimulating "philosophical introductions" I've read in a long time. I came away from this with a much better understanding of Aquinas' metaphysics (or perhaps Gilson's take ON such -- Gilson belonging to the cadre of "existential Thomists" whose readings are at odds with other schools; see Fergus Kerr's "After Aquinas: Versions of Thomism." At any rate, reading Gilson will, of course, spur you to read more of the Great Doctor himself.

For those who are encountering Gilson for the first time, I'd recommend a little collection of lectures, "God and Philosophy". To quote Jaroslav Pelikan: "I commend to another generation of seekers and students this deeply earnest and yet wistfully gentle little essay on the most important (and often, at least nowadays, the most neglected) of all metaphysical and existential questions... The historical sweep is breathtaking, the one-liners arresting, and the style, both intellectual and literary, altogether engaging."

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