April Handbook Reviews

May 22, 2017

The following reviews appeared in the April 2017 issue of CHOICE. They have been modified to include links to referenced articles, which have been made freely available for a short time.

The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology, 1600–1800

The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology, 1600–1800
Edited by Ulrich L. Lehner, Richard A. Muller, and A. G. Roeber

"This handbook provides a nuanced introduction to a period of Western Christian theology that has received relatively scant attention. More than 40 specialists from both sides of the Atlantic have distilled an enormous amount of detail in brief essays. An introductory section centers on the original context of early modern theologies in European confessional states with increasingly global horizons and on the literary, educational, and polemical forms in which this theology found expression. The bulk of the handbook treats the diversity of ideas among and within major church traditions, including Roman Catholic, magisterial Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican), and radical Protestant (Anabaptism, Socinianism, and Unitarianism); revival movements such as Catholic mysticism, Jansenism, Pietism, and Methodism; and intellectual encounters with Judaism, Islam, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the cultures of South and East Asia, science, modern philosophy, and the Enlightenment. A central conclusion is that the confessional differences at the beginning of the 17th century were well into dissolution by the end of the 18th, thanks to cross-pollination, globalization, and the challenges of new worldviews.

Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."

P. S. Spalding, Illinois College


The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science
Edited by Paul Humphreys

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science

"What, if anything, unifies the sciences? As science fields, following historical trajectories, become increasingly specialized and use equally specialized models, experimental approaches, technologies, computational procedures, and ways of theorizing (if there is not methodological unity), could there be congruity provided by philosophical underpinnings? This handbook, edited by Humphreys (Univ. of Virginia), contains 42 chapters and is organized in three sections: “Overviews,” “Traditional Topics,” and “New Directions,” and offers a stimulating array of topics that demonstrate the vast richness and utility of the philosophy of science. But while the diversity of essays in this collection indicates that the philosophy of science too has become increasingly specialized, contributor Stathis Psillos (Univ. of Athens, Greece) persuasively argues that a general philosophy of science still has merit and currency. These essays are highly accessible and engaging for both those who are accomplished in the field and those interested individuals who are outside of the field. Although some chapters (may) require more technical knowledge than others, each philosopher provides appropriate background to foster understanding among a wider readership. As a collection that reveals the diversity and unity of both scientific and philosophical endeavor, this is an essential book.

Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals."

Z. B. Johnson, Lake Erie College