God and Meaning New Essays

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-09-08
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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What is included with this book?


Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest among analytic philosophers in the topic of life's meaning. What is striking about this surge of work is that nearly all of it is by naturalists theorizing from non-theistic starting points.

This book answers the need for a theistic philosophical perspective on the meaning of life. Bringing together some of the leading thinkers in analytic philosophy of religion and theology, God and Meaning touches on important issues in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of religion, and biblical theology that intersect with life's meaning. In particular: What does the question “What is the meaning of life?” mean? How can we know if life has meaning and what that meaning is? Might God enhance life's meaningfulness in some ways but detract from it in others? Is the most meaningful life one of perfect happiness? What is the relationship between eternity and life's meaning? How does the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes illumine the topic? Should we hope that a kind of transcendent meaning exists?

Presenting a state-of-the-art assessment of current philosophical positions on these and many other questions, God and Meaning is an invaluable resource for all students and scholars of the philosophy of religion.

Author Biography

Stewart Goetz is the Ross Frederick Wicks Distinguished Professor in Philosophy and Religion at Ursinus College, USA. His previous books include The Soul Hypothesis (co-edited with Mark Baker, 2011), A Brief History of the Soul (co-authored with Charles Taliaferro, 2011), The Purpose of Life: A Theistic Perspective (2012), and The Routledge Companion to Theism (co-edited with Charles Taliaferro and Victoria Harrison, 2012). He is the Series Editor of Bloomsbury Studies in Philosophy and Religion.

Joshua W. Seachris is Program Director for the Center for Philosophy of Religion and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, USA. He is the editor of Exploring the Meaning of Life: An Anthology and Guide (2012), and has authored a number of articles on topics like the problem of evil, Confucius and virtue, the meaning of life, and death.

Table of Contents

Joshua Seachris and Stewart Goetz

Section I: Clarifying the Question: Conceptual and Theistic Tools
1. The Meaning of Life and Narratives: A Framework for Understanding and Answering the Question of Life's Meaning
Joshua Seachris, University of Notre Dame, USA

Section II: The Meaning of Life in Ecclesiastes
2. Wisdom and Meaning: Philosophy and the Theology of the Meaning of Life in Ecclesiastes
Craig Bartholomew, Redeemer University College, Canada
3. The Theology of the Meaning of Life in the Book of Ecclesiastes: A Canonical Perspective
Tremper Longman III, Westmont College, USA

Section III: The Purpose(s) of Life
4. Hedonistic Happiness and the Meaning of Life
Stewart Goetz, Ursinus College, USA
5. Gethsemane Meaning: Hidden and Enduring
Paul Moser, Loyola University in Chicago, USA
6. Meaningful Life
John Cottingham, University of Reading, UK, Heythrop College, University of London, UK, and St. John's College, University of Oxford, UK
7. St. Isaac's Dictum and the Meaning of Life
Terence Cuneo, University of Vermont, USA

Section IV: The Role of God for Meaningful Life
8. Theism, the Cosmological Argument, and Ultimate Meaning
Nicholas Waghorn, St. Benet's Hall, University of Oxford, UK
9. The Purpose of Religion
Richard Swinburne, Oriel College, University of Oxford, UK
10. What God Could (and Couldn't Do) to Make Life Meaningful
Tim Mawson, St. Peter's College, University of Oxford, UK
11. A Bayesian Argument from Desire
Trent Dougherty, Baylor University, USA

Section V: Time, Eschatology, and Life's Meaning
12. The Meaning of Time and a Time for Meaning
Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College, USA


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