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image of Philosophia Reformata

Roy Clouser’s reply to my article on John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio (FR) is learned, engaging, clear--and, respectfully put, full of errors on many points regarding John Paul’s understanding of faith and reason.1 On this matter, he attacks a straw man. Indeed, at times I wondered whether Clouser and I had read the same encyclical. Despite this, however, let me underscore my genuine appreciation of Clouser for pressing me to be clearer on my view of the encyclical’s position on faith and reason.2 My reply is organized in two parts. First, I argue that in FR (1) faith is a form of knowing; (2) John Paul II is not a rationalist; and (3) the impact of the fall into sin on human reason is integral. Second, I defend the view of FR that a metaphysical theology is necessary in order to give an account of the intelligibility of the Christian revelation. Indeed, one of the biblical requirements for a “Scriptural philosophy” is a philosophy of a truly metaphysical range, according to John Paul (FR, nos. 80-83).


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