In this collection of essays, renowned philosopher Robert Sokolowski illustrates how Christian faith is not an alternative to reason, but rather an enhancement of it. Reflecting on the mysteries of Creation, the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Eucharist, he examines in his distinctive lucid style the ways in which Christian faith contributes to the understanding of the human person.
The book is divided into four sections. The first directly addresses the relation between faith and understanding, showing how philosophy has an autonomy within Christian theology even as it acknowledges that revelation makes known truths that could not have been reached by reason alone. It also explains how central the doctrine of Creation is to the relation between faith and reason. The rest of the book illustrates particular ways in which reason and faith interact in Christianity.
The second section deals with the mysteries of the Holy Trinity, the Church, and the Eucharist. It shows that Christ is the primary minister of the Eucharist because his words are quoted in its celebration, and it offers a contemporary interpretation of the meaning of transubstantiation. This section also discusses the episcopal teaching office in the Church, and it shows how Christ's words in the gospels, his use of the first-person pronoun, serve to manifest the Holy Trinity.
The third section discusses the human person in the light of Christian faith, exploring what is meant by the human soul, natural law, and personal relationships, as well as the place of political philosophy within revelation. The fourth and final section turns to the relationship between faith and practical reasoning. It discusses Christian aspects in the art and science of medicine, psychoanalysis, and the professions, as well as issues in Catholic higher education, including the place of philosophy in seminary formation.
Robert Sokolowski is Elizabeth Breckenridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. The author of eight books and more than 90 articles, Msgr. Sokolowski was awarded the Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association. His highly respected works have been the subject of two conferences. His books include The God of Faith and Reason and Eucharistic Presence: A Study in the Theology of Disclosure, both published by CUA Press.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"In this collection of essays, a leading American philosopher shows the fruitfulness of phenomenology for Christian philosophy. He illustrates how appearances disclose the reality that comes to light through them and how biblical religion casts added light on the realities known to reason. Applying this method, Sokolowski reflects with rare lucidity on Christian mysteries such as the Eucharist and on mundane pursuits such as medicine, psychoanalysis, and the professions."—Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.
"This book offers us a series of intense glimpses into the comprehensive vision of a great master on both philosophy and theology. Sokolowski's brilliant account of the blending of reason and faith, while honoring their respective integrities, is nothing short of an offering to the human future, in all its various spheres; the culmination of a lifetime's work of love which, if received in the same spirit, will make that future a better one.—Catherine Pickstock, University of Cambridge
"Christian Faith and Human Understanding is a masterpiece of good sense, clarity, profundity, and accuracy of expression....Sokolowski has a genius for making what otherwise would be abstruse points to become intelligible to ordinary people....[T]his is not merely a profound book, but a very readable book. Any person to whom the book is implicitly addressed in its very subject matter—bishop, priest, seminarian, medical doctor, psychoanalyst, politician, craftsman, engine