The five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation reawakened a long-standing and spirited conversation between philosophic science and religious faith, a conversation which continues to have consequences on how we understand both science and faith. This book brings scholars together to reflect on the topic of the Protestant Reformation, as well as the Roman Catholic Counter Reformation, the nature of science, and the unity of the Church. Five chapters in this collection represent five distinct theological formulations within Christianity; the other seven chapters are from a variety of historic, philosophic, and theological starting points on the topic. These twelve accounts range from theologies informed by the Classical Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle; medieval Jewish and Roman Catholic writers; Moses Maimonides and Thomas More; writers of the Protestant Reformation (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Richard Hooker, and William Shakespeare); the founders of modern science (Francis Bacon and T. H. Huxley), and the modern day theologies of Abraham Kuyper, Flannery O’Connor, H. R. Niebuhr, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Terence J. Kleven is Jacob and Gela Schnucker Sessler professor of philosophy and religion at Central College.
Part I: Five Keynote Addresses
Chapter One: Douglas Kries, “Catholic Reflections on Reason and Faith after Five Hundred Years of Reform and Enlightenment”
Chapter Two: Jennifer Hockenberry Dragseth, “Sola Fide: What Happens to Reason When we are Justified by Faith Alone?”
Chapter Three: John Baxter, “The Grammar of Faith in Twelfth Night: Richard Hooker’s Gift to Shakespeare”
Chapter Four: Albert Wolters, “Reason and the Paradigm of the Nature-grace Relationship”
Chapter Five: Christina Bieber Lake, “An English Major’s Theology? The Incarnation as Answer to the Question of the Relationship Between Faith and Reason”
Part II: Seven Studies on Core Treatises from the Medieval to Modern Periods
(in historical order of the primary text examined)
A. Medieval Alternatives
Chapter Six: Terence J. Kleven, “And Ye Shall be as Rulers, having Opinions about Good and Evil” (Gen. 3:5b)–Maimonides on the ‘Fall’ in Genesis 3 in the Guide of the Perplexed”
Chapter Seven: Elisa Torres, “The Ills of Man Writ Large: Hythloday’s Diagnosis and Solution in Thomas More’s Utopia”
B. The Reformation Argument
Chapter Eight: Judson Marvel, “The Impotency of Reason in Calvin’s Account of Natural Law and Natural Reason”
C. The New Science and Christian Theology
Chapter Nine: Scott Culpepper, “Faith and Reason Behind the Throne: Francis Bacon’s Integral Correlation of Religious Conviction and Inductive Curiosity”
D. Science and Faith in the Nineteenth Century
Chapter Ten: James Ungureanu, “The “New Reformation” of Victorian Scientific Naturalism”
E. Contemporary Reflections on Faith, Politics and Education
Chapter Eleven: David Timmer, “Prodigal Ratio: The Autonomy of Reason and its Homecoming to Faith in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics”
Chapter Twelve: Stephen Holtrop, “Teaching Christianly: Competing Christian Perspectives on the Student, Teacher, Curriculum, Purpose of Education, Calling and Truth”
Each era has turned the kaleidoscope of images formed by the meeting of Athens and Jerusalem in order to explore the relationship of faith and reason for its time. Central College placed questions relating to the Christian traditions and the exercise of reason with its practical application in several disciplines into the context of the observance of the initiation of the Reformation at a conference in 2017. This volume brings together twelve conference essayists from five Christian traditions, with stimulating, even provocative results. Terence Kleven’s introductory essay lays biblical foundations for seeking dialogue with the “city” in which God places the church. The suggestions of these essayists for conduct of this dialogue in our times combine standard elements of the traditions with fresh, inviting perspectives. The volume will invigorate readers’ thinking on the challenges to speaking to the intellectual currents confronting Christians in the twenty-first century.
"Is the Church necessary for the flourishing of science, human community and neighborliness among the nations and religions of the world?” Gratefully this gathering of thinkers say that the Church is more than necessary. Their ecumenical representation provides a comprehensive witness of the Church’s experience with faith and reason since the Reformation, and asks the questions of our present and future. In recognition of our global common experience, they show how voices from non-Christian sources are joining in the inquiry. It is a refreshing contribution toward hope in a complicated time.
Two weeks shy of the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg, a group of prominent scholars met at Central College in Pella, Iowa, to discuss the significance of the Protestant Reformation. The fruit of their discussion may be found in this volume. Faith and Reason in the Reformations is not your typical exercise in ecumenism, which often ends in watered-down compromises or platitudes. Rather, because the participants understand that respect for the other can only come from a proper loyalty to one’s own, the discussions are lively, honest, and instructive. I highly recommend this collection of essays to anyone interested in the future of ecumenism or the different ways in which Christians understand the relationship between faith and reason.
The 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation provides opportunity for Christians to consider again the relationship between faith and reason. This volume succinctly opens the discussion of this relationship, offering thought-provoking essays that describe and appreciate the diversity and development of approaches in major Christian traditions. Here the reader will find not only helpful elucidations of diverse views and the consideration of the impact of those views but also a keen recognition that across traditions similar questions can spur and direct inquiry.