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Words of wisdom : a philosophical dictionary for the perennial tradition /

Main Author: Carlson, John W.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Notre Dame, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, 2012
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Review by Choice Review

This volume by Carlson (Creighton Univ.) centers on the Catholic philosophical tradition associated with the work of Thomas Aquinas. The aim, as Carlson indicates, is twofold. First, the work is meant to serve as "a structured workbook ... to help make an understanding of the terminology [of the Thomistic] tradition available to students." Second, it seeks to "contribute to the ongoing renewal of this tradition." The essential question in evaluating this work's value and success thus becomes one of judging how closely it comes to fulfilling these two stated aims. As to the second ambition, one must wait and see whether, in fact, it "contributes" to the renewal of Thomism in our day.About the first goal one can say that, on the whole, the terms included (and listed in alphabetical order) and the explanations and definitions offered are reasonable. They will be a help to students reading Aquinas. However, at the same time, the explanations offered for many entries sometimes lack clarity and accuracy. For example, the entry titled "Five Ways, the" does not really explain how these proofs for the existence of God work in Aquinas's philosophical theology. The explanation/definition of "Judaism" is extremely limited and fails to give any indication of Aquinas's negative views of Judaism. Furthermore, beyond the weaknesses in certain definitions, some important terms, e.g., "justification," are omitted. The work does include a very helpful bibliography, and it indexes all entries at the end of the volume. Overall it is a useful, if less than excellent, philosophical dictionary. Large libraries serving Catholic studies and medieval philosophy may want to add it to their collections. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners. S. T. Katz Boston University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Carlson's (philosophy, Creighton Univ.; Understanding Our Being: Introduction to Speculative Philosophy in the Perennial Tradition) more than 1100 cross-referenced entries define basic philosophical terminology as it relates to the perennial tradition, that school of thought that runs through all religions. The entries were selected according to their significance to Christian wisdom, the writings of Pope John Paul II (particularly his Fides et ratio), and those of the St. Thomas Aquinas school of philosophical thought. They focus on presenting "integral Christian wisdom" in terms that students of theology, in seminary, and those with a love of theology and philosophy will find useful; they also provide an understanding of the philosophy inherent in the writings of Pope John Paul II. -VERDICT As well as the students mentioned above, readers seeking to understand the etymology of terms used in the Christian religious traditions will find a good deal to ponder in this book.-Christine -Sharbrough, Derry P.L., NH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.