Mormonism at the Crossroads of Philosophy and Theology: Essays in Honor of David L. Paulsen

$31.95

edited by Jacob T. Baker

“These original and insightful essays chart a new course for Christian intellectual life.” — Peter A. Huff, author of Vatican II and The Voice of Vatican II
“This volume of smart, incisive essays advances the case for taking Mormonism seriously within the philosophy of religion.” — Patrick Q. Mason
“There might be reasons today to give the alternatives to [traditional Christian] beliefs another look. If there are such reasons, then this book . . . is a good place to start.” — Stephen Webb


 
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Book Description:

Few scholars have made an impact on contemporary Mormon thought and theology like BYU Professor of Philosophy David L. Paulsen. Recently retired after nearly 40 years of teaching and mentoring, Paulsen has produced an imposing catalog of influential books and articles on Mormon teachings. More significant than his impressive scholarly oeuvre, however, has been his personal influence on generations of students, many of whom he inspired to become teachers and mentors themselves, and contributors to an increasingly interesting and relevant religious conversation. In addition, as one of the first serious LDS interlocutors with Orthodox Christian scholars, Paulsen has established professional and personal relationships with a wide array of non-LDS academics engaged in a serious and respectful dialogue regarding Mormonism and Christianity.
     This volume is a collection of essays representative of Paulsen's wide-ranging professional and personal influence, collected in honor of his many achievements and published on the occasion of his retirement. Each of the authors (a majority of whom are not LDS) has been impacted by Paulsen's scholarship and friendship in important ways, and have authored essays reflective of this dynamic. In addition, the essays are significant contributions to Mormon thought in and of themselves, covering diverse areas of inquiry from Mormon atheology to the possibility of an Evangelical Mormonism; from Liberation Theology to Mormon conceptions of divine embodiment; from Mormon approaches to transcendence to Mormonism's confrontation with evil and suffering, and many more.

Comprehensive Table of Contents:

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Introduction

David Lamont Paulsen: A Life

Childhood
Military and Mission
BYU and University of Chicago
Marriage
Return to School
University of Michigan
Return to Brigham Young University and Family
Society of Christian Philosophers
SCP’s Intermountain Region and BYU
Richard L. Evans Chair for Christian Understanding
Academic
Mormon Evangelical Consultation
Mormonism in Dialogue
Work with Students

1. Classifying Mormon Theism

Introduction
I. Problems with -theism Terms
II. The Inadequacy of Quantitative Definitions
III. Mormon Theism

2. Collision, Division, Conversation: When Mormon Scholars and Christian Theologians Talk

3. “Faith Seeking Understanding”: Mormon Atheology and the Challenge of Fideism

Mormon Atheology
The Challenge of Fideism
Reformed Epistemology and Fideism
Analysis of Reformed Epistemology
Implications for Latter-day Saint Epistemology

4. Restoration or Rebirth: Mormon and American Options of Authenticity

Authenticity
American Authenticity
Re-birth Spirituality
Psychological Issues
Mormon Experience
Individual Identity and Organization
Corporate Identity and Boundary Marking
Authenticity via Restoration, Not Rebirth
Patriarchal Blessings and Authenticity
Conclusion

5. Mormonism, Natural Law, and Constitutional Democracy: Reflections on the Romney Candidacy

I. The Kennedy Mistake
II. The Pundit’s Mistake
III. The Confessional Mistake

6. The Enigma of Mormonism: Ruminations of an Anglican Friend and Critic

The Book of Mormon: Scripture, Heresy, or Witness of Christ?
The Holy Trinity: Council of Gods or Shared Life?

7. Pursuing Truth, Justice, and Dialogue: A Primer on Liberation Theology Toward an Intra-Christian Dialogue

8. The Messiah and Prophet Puzzle: Explaining Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith

1. Rejecting or Discounting Autobiographical (or Quasi-Autobiographical) Declarations
2. Religious Reformer Explanation
3. Characterization as a Social Activist
4. Anti-Social Violent Reformer Classification
5. Genius Theory
6. Great Teacher or Philosopher Proposal
7. Extraordinary Environmental Sponge Theory
8. Prophetic Deceiver Pigeonhole
9. Multiple Personalities Theory
10. Charismatic Phenomenon Approach
11. Magician Theory
12. Satanic Agent Dismissal
13. Epilepsy Diagnosis
14. Manic Phenomena
15. Childhood Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Theory
16. Heroic Monomyth Configuration
17. Pious Exaggeration Theory
Concluding Observations

9. Is Evangelical Mormonism a Viable Concept for the Near Future?
Clarifying Contexts

Comparing Latter-day Saints and the National Association of Evangelicals
Reflecting on the Results

10. Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Mormon Understanding of God

Reading the Bible Literally
Conceptual Metaphor Theory
The Traditional Theory of Metaphor versus Conceptual Metaphor Theory
Thinking About God in the Bible
Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Mormon Understanding of God

11. David Paulsen on Divine Embodiment

I
II
III
Conclusion

12. Does Divine Passibility Entail Divine Corporeality?

The Passibility of God
Divine Embodiment
Conclusion

13. Transascendence: Transcendence in Mormon Thought

Two Traditional Positions on God’s Transcendence
What “Transcendence” Does Not Mean
The Mormon Contrast: The Same Form, the Same Relations, a Becoming God
“Transcendence” in Mormonism
N. L. Nelson on Divine Transcendance
The Mormon Contrast Again: God Within Being
God and Others Without Being: Transascendence
Conclusion

14. “We Shall Be Like Him”: Explorations into the LDS Doctrine of Deification
We Become What We Worship

Scripture, Church Fathers, and Eastern Orthodoxy
C. S. Lewis on Deification
Revealed Anew
Reaction and Response
Conclusion

15. Kalam Infinity Arguments and the Infinite Past

1.0 Introduction
2.0 The Nature of Infinities
3.1 The First Infinity Argument
3.2 The Second Infinity Argument
4.0 A Beginningless Multiverse and Infinity
5.0 Logical Possibility and the Uncreated Universe
6.0 Conclusion

16. Lehi’s Opposition Theodicy

Opposition
Necessity
Logic of the Opposition Theodicy
Relative and Absolute Oppositions
Conclusion

17. All’s Well that Ends Well: Evil, Eschatology, and Love in F.W. J. Schelling and David L. Paulsen

Schelling: The Absolute and Finite God
Act One: Joseph Smith, Schelling, and the Positive Fall
Act Two: Freedom and the Inner Necessity
Act Three: Is There a Metaphysical/Eschatological Guarantee of God’s Victory Over Chaos and a Return to Unity?
Conclusion: Tragedy vs. Instrumentalism

Contributors
Subject Index
Scripture Index


 


Praise for Mormonism at the Crossroads of Philosophy and Theology:

“This richly stimulating volume offers fitting testimony to the respect and affection felt for David Paulsen and his work by a wide range of thinkers both within and without the Mormon tradition. In a very real sense, in fact, since he's the inspiration for it, this collection of essays continues and extends his quiet but deeply important contribution to Mormon thought and to thinking about Mormonism.” — Daniel C Peterson, Professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University; President, Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology

There is no better measure of the growing importance of Mormon thought in contemporary religious debate than this volume of essays for David Paulsen. In a large part thanks to him, scholars from all over the map are discussing the questions Mormonism raises about the nature of God and the purpose of life. These essays let us in on a discussion in progress.” — Richard Lyman Bushman, inaugural Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, Claremont Graduate University, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

“This grand merci to a master teacher-scholar is a fitting tribute to a pioneer in intra-Christian encounter. It’s a daring act of intellectual exploration, too. Fifty years ago, the Second Vatican Council taught us that there can be no genuine Christian theology without an ecumenical change of heart. This book makes it clear that there can be no real ecumenism without the riches of the Mormon mind. Professor Paulsen’s impact on LDS thought is well known. Baker and his collaborators invite us to consider the larger scope of his legacy. These original and insightful essays chart a new course for Christian intellectual life.” — Peter A. Huff, Besl Family Chair of Ethics, Religion and Society, Xavier University, and author of Vatican II and The Voice of Vatican II

“In a hundred years when the discipline comes of age, David Paulsen will be gratefully remembered as the first modern Mormon theologian.” — Adam S. Miller, Professor of Philosophy, Collin College, author of Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology

“Far more than the rightly deserved celebration of one of Mormonism’s premier philosophers, this volume of smart, incisive essays advances the case for taking Mormonism seriously within the philosophy of religion–an accomplishment that all generations of Mormon thinkers should be proud of.” — Patrick Q. Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, Claremont Graduate University

These essays accomplish a rare thing—bringing light rather than heat to an on-going conversation. And the array of substantial contributions from outstanding scholars and theologians within and outside Mormonism is itself a fitting tribute to a figure who has been at the forefront of bringing Mormonism into dialogue with larger traditions.” — Terryl L. Givens, author of People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture

“The emergence of a vibrant Mormon scholarship is nowhere more in evidence than in the excellent philosophical contributions of David Paulsen. In this important volume, thinkers from several different religious and philosophical traditions engage in creative ways topics that David has written about—a marvelous tribute to a gifted intellectual leader!” — Richard J. Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary, author of Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals

“A must have for those interested in the Philosophy of Mormonism.” — Kirk Caudle, The Mormon Book Review.

“There might be reasons today to give the alternatives to [traditional Christian] beliefs another look. If there are such reasons, then this book . . . is a good place to start.” — Stephen Webb, author of Jesus Christ, Eternal GodBYU Studies

“Most striking about this collection is that non-Mormon contributors outnumber Mormon contributors–-certainly a first for collections honoring LDS scholars, and a reflection of Paulsen’s ability to attract and engage a variety of interlocutors.” — Blair Hodges, By Common Consent


Contributors:

Jacob Baker - Introduction; David Lamont Paulson: A Life
1. Carl Mosser - Classifying Mormon Theism
2. Donald W. Musser - Collision, Division, Conversation: When Mormon Scholars and Christian Theologians Talk
3. Brian D. Birch - “Faith Seeking Understanding”: Mormon Atheology and the Challenge of Fideism
4. Douglas Davies - Restoration or Rebirth: Mormon and American Options of Authenticity
5. Francis J. Beckwith - Mormonism, Natural Law, and Constitutional Democracy: Reflections on the Romney Candidacy
6. Paul Owen - The Enigma of Mormonism: Ruminations of an Anglican Friend and Critic
7. Joseph L. Price - Pursuing Truth, Justice, and Dialogue: A Primer on Liberation Theology Toward an Intra-Christian Dialogue
8. Lyndsey Nay and John Welch - he Messiah and Prophet Puzzle: Explaining Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith
9. Craig L. Blomberg - Is Evangelical Mormonism a Viable Concept for the Near Future?
10. John E. Sanders - Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Mormon Understanding of God
11. Stephen T. Davis - David Paulsen on Divine Embodiment
12. Clark H. Pinnock - Does Divine Passibility Entail Divine Corporeality?
13. James E. Faulconer - Transascendence: Transcendence in Mormon Thought
14. Robert L. Millet - “We Shall Be Like Him”: Explorations into the LDS Doctrine of Deification
15. Blake T. Ostler - Kalam Infinity Arguments and the Infinite Past
16. Kelli (Dennis) Potter - Lehi’s Opposition Theodicy
17. James McLachlan - All’s Well that Ends Well: Evil, Eschatology, and Love in F. W. J. Schelling and David L. Paulsen


About the Editor:

Jacob T. Baker is a doctoral student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. He is a co-founder of the Claremont Journal of Mormon Studies, has published articles in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Element: The Journal for the Society of Mormon Philosophy and Theology, and Sunstone, and has presented papers at various academic conferences around the world.

 More Information:

422 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58958-192-0
Published July 2012

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