Irony of Theology and the Nature of Religious Thought

Irony of Theology and the Nature of Religious Thought

Donald Wiebe
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Irony of Theology and the Nature of Religious Thought
    Book Description:

    In a careful re-evaluation of the works of Lévy-Bruhl, Wiebe establishes the coherence of Lévy-Bruhl's classic distinction between primitive, or mythopoeic, and scientific thought, maintaining that religious thinking is mythopoeic in nature while theology -- which thinks about religion -- is related to modern Western scientific thinking.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6409-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. I The Irony of Theology
    (pp. 3-45)

    PHILOSOPHERS OF RELIGION have in the past, and continue now, to give serious attention to religion, and in particular to those religious traditions that have developed explicit systems of doctrine and belief to complement their rites, myths, and moral-social structures of existence. And historians and phenomenologists of religion have concerned themselves with the development of taxonomies of religious systems of thought, while comparativists have constructed typologies of belief in an attempt to highlight the similarities and differences amongst them. Consequently, one finds in university departments concerned with the study of religious phenomena courses of instruction on, for example, Buddhist thought,...

  6. II Mythopoeic and Scientific Thought
    (pp. 46-83)

    THE ASSUMPTION that a great gulf separates the thought of some human beings from that of others has never received a great deal of support in academic circles. It has generally been agreed that, on the surface or superficial view, there appears to be a vast difference between the content and structure of the belief-systems in the modern West and tribal (traditional) cultures the world over. The majority of anthropologists, however, seem to be able to perceive far more similarity of structure on a second look and so find persuasive explanations of the thought of “the primitive” as embryonic stages...

  7. III Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Greece
    (pp. 84-129)

    IN THE PRECEDING CHAPTER I attempted to defend a Lévy-Bruhlian account of the great divide that separates and distinguishes the content and structure of the belief-systems in the modern West from those in archaic/tribal cultures. There is, I argued, a chasm that separates the savage from the modern mind. I shall contend here that the emergence of philosophy with the Greeks corroborates such a view. Indeed, a review of the history of the interpretations of that process of emergence will all but demonstrate that we have with the Greeksthe historical origins- the birth - of the modern mind....

  8. IV Theology and the Religion of Ancient Greece
    (pp. 130-173)

    AS THE DISCUSSION of the previous chapter amply illustrates, it is impossible to talk of the emergence of philosophical/scientific thought and its early development without making constant reference to Greek religion and theology. Indeed, that fact has often been invoked as justification for a religio-theological reading of the philosophers that makes of them but religious reformers, and for denying, therefore, any radical distinction between the structure of their thought and that which it succeeds. I do not here wish to dispute the claim that one can justifiably speak about a Presocratic theology or, more generally, Greek theology, but I shall...

  9. V Theology and the Christian Religion
    (pp. 174-212)

    I SUGGESTED in chapter one that a wide gap exists between Christian theology and the ordinary religious thinking of the Christian devotee. Having then argued the case for the existence of (at least two) distinct and radically different modes of thought, and having shown the historical emergence of a philosophic/scientific thinking from a preexisting mythopoeic matrix of thought, which it transcends, I proceeded to argue that, when Greek theology emerged, it undermined rather than complemented traditional Greek religion. In light of those arguments I shall now return to the question of theology and the Christian religion, for I think that...

  10. VI The Nature of Religious Thought
    (pp. 213-228)

    THEOLOGY either is a science like the other sciences or it is not. And if it is, then it is expected of its practitioners that they will possess the same intellectual qualities and commitments that characterize scholars in the other sciences. The same “morality of knowledge” applies to them all. However, if theology is not a science, no such allegiance need characterize those who practise the art, so to speak, although it will then be an art misleadingly named.

    The argument in the preceding chapters has shown, not that theology as a science is impossible, but only that as a...

  11. Bibliography of Works Cited
    (pp. 229-252)
  12. Index
    (pp. 253-261)