A Philosophical Introduction to Theology

Perhaps best known for his contributions to black theology in the US, J. Deotis Roberts was nevertheless first trained as a philosopher, and he has taught philosophy throughout his academic career. He believes that those who are concerned with theology must have at least a basic understanding of the main lines of philosophical thought. That is what this book provides. Strictly speaking, it is neither philosophy of religion nor philosophical theology. Instead it is an introduction for those engaged in theological study who have little or no knowledge of philosophy and who, without such knowledge, will not be able to extract maximum benefit from their studies. Beginning with the earliest Greek philosophers (the pre-Socratics), the book explores classical Greek philosophy (including Plato and Aristotle) and the way it developed during the early Christian centuries; medieval philosophies; the Renaissance and the revolution precipitated by Descartes, Hume, and Kant; and major figures in the philosophy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although one book cannot provide an exhaustive account of what philosophers have thought, it can provide important insights into how they think. Especially important, it can show the way in which philosophy has influenced the framing of theological discussion, including black and Third World theology, from which at first sight it might seem remote. J. Deotis Roberts is Distinguished Professor of Philosophical Theology at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and the author of a dozen books plus more than one hundred articles, essays, and book reviews.