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September 28, 2022
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v2.1 Reference

Faith and Reason through Christian History

A Theological Essay

It is impossible to understand the history of Christian theology without taking into account the relationship between faith and reason. Many works give an overview of faith and reason, or outline key principles, while others put forward a thesis about how one should understand the relationship between faith and reason. In this theological essay, Grant Kaplan revisits the key figures and debates that shape how faith and reason relate. Divided into three parts, Kaplan invites readers into a conversation rather than a drive-by. Readers will encounter the words and arguments of some of Christianity's greatest thinkers, some well-known (Augustine, Aquinas, Newman) and others nearly forgotten. Readings of these figures bring them to life in an accessible manner.

In Faith and Reason through Christian History, the roughly fifty figures treated are given sufficient room to breathe. Rather than simply summarizing their thought, Kaplan traces their arguments through key texts. This book will appeal to a range of audiences: theologians and philosophers, instructors, graduate students, seminarians, lay study groups, and undergraduate theology majors. No book today accomplishes what this book does!

About the Author

Grant Kaplan is professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University.


"Kaplan presents accurate, even-handed, informative summaries of significant authors on a crucial theological theme. He has read and artfully compressed a great amount of literature, offering a palpable contribution to scholarship. This book represents a useful and important achievement."—Thomas G. Guarino, author of The Unchanging Truth of God? Crucial Philosophical Issues for Theology (CUA Press)

"I don't know of any book on the history of faith and reason that I would rather read or more enjoy reading. In addition to being one of the best historical theologians in North America, Kaplan has that rare gift for communicating otherwise abstruse academic topics in an engaging and conversational style. For those who have been looking for an introduction to this topic that will not put them to sleep, one need look no further. And for scholars who already know this topic fairly well, one could not ask for a more refreshing reintroduction to some of the central figures and debates. Either way, one will find here a new perspective on the history of this important topic, which clarifies one's own, gives one a better sense of the whole story, which has not always been told."—John Betz, University of Notre Dame

"Historical accounts of theology often seem to be either bland surveys of different opinions or blame-placing genealogies that end up caricaturing thinkers as villains or heroes. Grant Kaplan's Faith and Reason through Christian History avoids both of these pitfalls, offering in compact scope a rich narrative of the various ways in which 'faith' and 'reason' have been conceived of and related to each other down through the centuries. His accounts are always fair, but also critical in the best sense. Both students and scholars will benefit from Kaplan's ability to place key figures in relation to each other and to unpack often complex positions in accessible ways."—Frederick Bauerschmidt , Loyola University Maryland

"An astonishingly sure-handed and readable treatment of a vast domain. This book should find a home in introductory courses on Christianity as well as in specialized courses on faith and reason. Kaplan exemplifies the faith-filled rationality of which he speaks, and his fairness and accuracy in succinctly presenting widely diverse viewpoints makes this book a pleasure."—Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"The relationship of faith and reason is often invoked but rarely analyzed and explained. Grant Kaplan has written a book that adds indispensable depth to the topic through a rich historical narrative from the earliest beginnings of Christian theology to the present day. His account is incisive and informed. His interpretation of key figures from Origen to Luther to Rahner is critical but always fair. His writing is lucid and accessible. This book will be invaluable for all those seeking to understand the story of faith and reason in Christianity."—Johannes Zachhuber, Oxford University

"It's true there is a current of anti-intellectualism in some strands of popular American Christianity, but it would require willful ignorance to say this is the only form of Christianity under the sun. As Saint Louis University professor of theology Grant Kaplan articulates in his book Faith and Reason Through Christian History: A Theological Essay, Christians have been contemplating the relationship between faith and reason since the religion's inception, often in complex if not abstruse ways."—American Conservative

"Few books that I have read in recent memory have suggested immediate changes to my course syllabi as much as this volume has. I am grateful for Grant Kaplan's thoughtful and readable survey of the ways that Christian pastors and theologians have engaged philosophy from the origins of Christianity to the contemporary period."—Catholic Books Review

"What most distinguishes Grant Kaplan's survey of faith and reason is the quality of his prose, which is so fluid and engaging that I found myself choosing to enjoy reading sections of the book late every evening in times I usually reserve for leisure reading. Its eminent readability makes this an especially attractive text for professors seeking to spark the interest of undergraduates. Kaplan pulls this off with little loss in precision, all while condensing his survey of faith and reason throughout Christian history into a little over 300 pages."—Scottish Journal of Theology

"An exceptionally balanced journey through Christian intellectual history which is yet further improved by its eminent readability. Kaplan cuts to the core of each thinker's approach to the problem of faith and reason with concision. He provides his readers with a clear and fair statement on where each lies, and he sticks to these methodological commitments with admirable tenacity throughout the work."—Thomas Holman, VoegelinView

9780813235837 : faith-and-reason-through-christian-history-kaplan
Paperback / softback
336 Pages
$29.95 USD

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Faithfully Seeking Understanding

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