A thoughtful consideration of the way modern philosophy has influenced Christian theology.


Theological Times


A philosophical reflection on the author’s engagement with modern theological scholarship.

Debut author Farris, a retired professor of philosophy and religion, describes this slim volume as autobiographical, but the bulk of the treatment is scholarly or, as he says, “textual.” In other words, it’s autobiographical in the way Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo is: a life told from the purview of its philosophical experiences. The book focuses on the author’s encounter with 19th- and 20th-century thinkers who radically changed the landscape of Christian theology. There are searching examinations of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paul Ricoeur, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Soren Kierkegaard, and many others who contributed to the way Scripture is read and faith is conceived. A concern with the meanings of words and text and, by extension, religiously canonical literature forms the theoretical heart of the author’s disquisition. Contemporary understanding of a reader’s connection to both written material and the author’s intention has dramatically changed the way many interpret Christian doctrine. In some cases, that means a less than conservative reading that makes a hermeneutic concession to modernity; Farris provides a fascinating account of the Bible’s discussion of homosexuality along these lines. He also confronts iterations of textual literalism that dismissively reject science, like creationism. In other cases, he defends religious teaching as a tonic to the limitations of science to comprehend the full nuance of human life: “Methodologies of science have been fruitful in uncovering patterns of regularity in nature that empower human experiment and enterprise, but their recognition of uniqueness in natural happenings and human experience has been far less impressive.” One of the book’s most impressive features is a marvelously accessible introduction to Martin Heidegger’s challenging thought on language. At times, the study moves too quickly from one philosophical figure to another. More often than not, though, Farris’ effort is deep and clear—two virtues notoriously difficult to pair.

A thoughtful consideration of the way modern philosophy has influenced Christian theology.

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9947721-0-7

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Mosa Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2015

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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