This is a terrific introduction to the thought of Michel Foucault. When I say “introduction” that certainly does not mean this is an easy read. Watkin does make his extensive learning more accessible, but Foucault is not the easiest person in the world to comprehend.
I knew a bit about Foucault from other books but had not read him directly. Watkin does a good job of laying out several of the critical ideas to Foucault’s thought.
In the second half of the book the author does a stellar job of showing how the Christian faith best responds to Foucault.
A terrific introduction to the similarities and differences between Paul and other philosophers.
I have been interested especially in how Christianity interacted with Stoicism. This book has much to offer in that regard. The various contributions are balanced and wise.
Recently, I interviewed C. Kavin Rowe on his influential book, One True Life. There is an entire chapter in Paul and the Giants of Philosophy dedicated to looking at the strengths and potential weaknesses of Rowe’s book. That chapter alone made this book a worthwhile read.
I read a lot of history. Usually, I have to read long books (400 pages plus) to get as much insight as this much shorter one by Gregg. In only 166 pages the author gives intellectual insights on every page. It is a feast for both heart and mind.
The writing is clear and compelling. Gregg knows the flow of Western ideas very well. He communicates with ease some of the main currents of thought.
It is rare that the number of my markings (or marginalia) exceeds the number of the pages of a book I have read, but this is one of those rare times.
I highly recommend this balanced and beautifully conceived book!
It is rare to find scholars attached to a major research university who can write both a brilliant and courageous book.
This book gives a methodical, but devastating blow to the notion that naturalism could ever produce a consistent ethic.
Among other “lighter” reading, I am tacking two important, but formidable books: After Virtue: a Study in Moral Theory by Alasdair MacIntyre and Sources of the Self: the Making of Modern Identity by Charles Taylor. It is good to have friends like Bill and Tim accompany me for both of these adventures.
Here’s a page from a recent read, though many times I am reading sections more than once (!) from Sources of the Self:
Esther Meek wrote a terrific book entitled, Learning to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People. In it, she describes how finding a reliable mechanic helped her better understand how we use certain clues to determine whether God as known in Jesus Christ is who He claimed.
More generally, how do we know what we know? It is an important branch of philosophy called epistemology. Too many people, including plenty of Christians, don’t think about how and why they think the way they do.
I read Meek’s book several years back. At the time, my experiences with mechanics was mixed. Some were okay while others had clearly taken advantage of me.
Enter Joe Ruiz. Joe’s shop is here in Austin. Two friends I implicitly trust told me how Joe kept their cars running. Many times, Joe told Gil or Mike that they did not need all the other “recommended” stuff other mechanics had tried to sell them.
My experience with Joe mimics what Gil and Mike have experienced. Our car (with 210,000 miles) recently lurched forward from a stop. I figured the transmission was going since it is the original one. I took it into Joe. Joe told me the catalytic converter may be responsible. He thoroughly checked out everything else including the transmission. All looked good. He recommended adding five gallons of high octane fuel which I did.
Our car is back running just fine. Joe charged $107 for all the work. I was dreading a large expense that would have been challenging on our budget.
Meek’s argument that we pick up clues to determine whether God is trustworthy is inspired by the great philosopher of science, Michael Polanyi. I highly recommend it!
And if you live in the Austin area, I know a great car mechanic!