Irony of Theology and the Nature of Religious Thought

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1991 - Philosophy - 261 pages
In a careful re-evaluation of the works of LÚvy-Bruhl, Wiebe establishes the coherence of LÚvy-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. The pre-Socratic philosophers, Wiebe shows, developed a form of rational thought radically different from the religious-mythopoeic thought that preceded it. Although Plato was concerned with recovery of the pre-philosophic wisdom of ancient Greece, he attempted this within a rational, philosophic structure. Wiebe argues that Christian thought, originally mythopoeic, changed rapidly under the influence of Hellenistic culture, and that the Platonization of Christianity introduced an element of philosophic thinking which would eventually undermine its mythopoeic essence. In clarifying the nature of religious thought and its relation to religion, Wiebe provides a sound basis for the development of a general theory of religion. While of particular interest to philosophers, theologians, and students and scholars of the study of religion, Wiebe's study draws upon sources as diverse as philosophy, history, anthropology, and sociology and will therefore interest anyone involved in these disciplines as well.
 

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Contents

The Irony of Theology
3
Mythopoeic and Scientific Thought
46
Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Greece
84
Theology and the Religion of Ancient Greece
130
Theology and the Christian Religion
174
Bibliography of Works Cited
229
Index
253
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About the author (1991)

Donald Wiebe is a Professor of Divinity at Trinity College and Associate Director of the Graduate Centre for Religious Studies, both at the University of Toronto.

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