- Introduction Thomas P. Flint and Michael C. Rea
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology attempts both to familiarize readers with the directions in which the scholarship of this discipline has gone and to pursue the discussion into hitherto under-examined areas. Philosophical theology is aimed primarily at theoretical understanding of the nature and attributes of God and of God's relationship to the world and its inhabitants. During the twentieth century, much of the philosophical community (both in the Anglo-American analytic tradition and in Continental circles) had grave doubts about our ability to attain any such understanding. In recent years the analytic tradition in particular has moved beyond the biases that placed obstacles in the way of the pursuing questions located at the interface of philosophy and religion. Written by some of the leading scholars in the field, the articles in the book are grouped into five sections. In the first section, articles focus on the authority of scripture and tradition, on the nature and mechanisms of divine revelation, on the relation between religion and science, and on theology and mystery. The next section focuses on philosophical problems connected with the central divine attributes: aseity, omnipotence, omniscience, and the like. In the third section, articles explore theories of divine action and divine providence, questions about petitionary prayer, problems about divine authority and God's relationship to morality and moral standards, and various formulations of and responses to the problem of evil. The fourth section examines philosophical problems that arise in connection with such central Christian doctrines as the trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, original sin, resurrection, and the Eucharist. Finally, the fifth section introduces readers to current work in Jewish, Islamic, and Chinese philosophical theology.