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Grammar and Grace: Reformulations of Aquinas and Wittgenstein.

GRAMMAR AND GRACE: REFORMULATIONS OF AQUINAS AND WITTGENSTEIN. Edited by Jeffrey Stout and Robert MacSwain. London: SCM, 2004. Pp. xiv + 286. $39.95.

In a partial but not fully convincing explanation of this collection's focus on both Aquinas and Wittgenstein, Jeffrey Stout comments: "It so happens that the evolving debates over these two figures in theology and the philosophy of religion became inextricably intertwined in the second half of the twentieth century" (1). Among these new essays, dedicated to Victor Preller (1931-2001), professor of religion at Princeton and priest of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, the intertwining of Aquinas and Wittgenstein is most evident in contributions by Joseph Incandela, Stanley Hauerwas, John Bowlin, and Jennifer Herdt. The remaining essays, by Bruce Marshall, Fergus Kerr, David Burrell, Eugene Rogers, Jr., G. Scott Davis, Douglas Langston, J. Jamie Ferreira, and Preller (a posthumously published lecture), target just Aquinas or Wittgenstein, or, more frequently, link one or the other with other thinkers (for example, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Karl Barth, Eric Mascall, Victor White, Pierre Hadot, Catherine Pickstock, Preller). Thus the unifying rationale of the collection is not perfectly perspicuous. However, in these competent, well-written essays, most of the comparisons appear reasonable, apt, or enlightening. The essays touch a wide range of topics such as: the world's contingency, theological method, grace, virtue, creation, wonder, vision, love, Trinity, natural law, the Holy Spirit, knowledge of God. Occasionally the comparative mode does not prevent the issues themselves from being addressed in some depth. A brief preface by Robert MacSwain opens the book and a memoir on Preller by Mark Larrimore, followed by an index, closes it.


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Author:Hallett, Garth L.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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