Modern Believing

Book Reviews

Modern Believing (2018), 59, (3), 255–298.


Book Reviews A. C. Thiselton, Doubt, Faith, and Certainty. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2017. Pp. viii, 160. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7353-8. Anthony Thiselton’s scholarly exploration of doubt, faith and certainty delivers an immense amount in a short space. He ranges broadly across scripture, the early Church, medieval theology, Reformation thought, early modern thought, Enlightenment thought and twentieth-century science, philosophy and theology. The strength of this book lies in Thiselton’s ability to survey and highlight debates about what can be known in matters of faith and theology. For those looking for an historical summary of the first two thousand years of Christian efforts to come to terms with scripture and the competing demands of reason, this is a book that rewards the reader generously. Thiselton provides a clear and cogent analysis of many different ways in which scripture and theology have dealt with doubt and certainty. The book is handsomely studded with excellent and incisive quotations that summarise major seams of Christian thought across history. A lifetime of learning lies behind the variety of thought to which we are introduced, and by no means all of this is confined to philosophy or theology. Many of the revelatory parts of the book for this reviewer came from discussions of twentieth-century uncertainty in scientific and legal fields. Where there was a marked absence was in more recent theological and philosophical thinking. The chapter on ‘Faith, Reason, and Argument in Biblical and Modern Thought’, for example, focused on a reading of Pope John Paul II (addressing Vatican II) and John Hick’s work of 1957, Faith and Reason (2nd edn, Macmillan, 1988). But what of theologians and philosophers writing after the glory days of the 1960s? Other parts of the book treat Luther, Kierkegaard, Brunner, Bultmann and Barth as rightly significant to our understanding of what it means to ‘know’ when it comes to faith. But what of the many other important theological and Modern Believing 59.3 2018

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Author details

Collins, Guy

Ward, Keith

Hedges, Paul

Gardner, Fiona

Schnitker, Sarah

Maslen, Elizabeth

Nichols, Bridget

Durber, Susan

Ellis, Robert

Percy, Emma

Thatcher, Adrian

Woodward, James

Chaplin, Doug

Angel, Andrew

McIntosh, Ian

Brewitt-Taylor, Sam

Reader, John

Chapman, Mark

Dorsett, Mark

Thompson, David M.

Brierley, Michael

Duffield, Ian

Hebden, Keith