God and Philosophy

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I try to be judicious in my book annotations, but every so often, I find a book that has more passages underlined than not. Schumacher’s A Guide for the Perplexed probably holds my library record in this regard, but Etienne Gilson’s God and Philosophy isn’t far behind. If anyone doubts the Judeo-Greek formula for Christianity (Jewish God + Greek philosophy through Plotinus = Christianity), he should read this book carefully. He might also want to pick up Werner Jaeger’s Early Christianity and the Greek Paideia.

From Gilson’s book:

“I AM WHO AM . . . [was] a nonphilosophical statement which has since become an epoch-making statement in the history of philosophy.”

The revelation given to Moses–that God’s name is I AM WHO AM–contained in it philosophical truths that wouldn’t be developed until a thousand years later (possibly 2,000 years later, since I seem to recall reading that Aquinas was the first one to develop fully the philosophical truth that God’s essence is merely to exist . . . but I could be wrong about that). It speaks volumes that a philosophically-primitive man like Moses came up with such a bizarre name that wasn’t bizarre at all: it contained the truth of God’s nature. It was a truth that Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus would scrape up against on the strength of their powerful (yet revelationally-deprived) philosophy a thousand years later, but Moses was chronologically and geographically far removed from those philosophical truths. He merely regurgitated what he heard. This historical coincidence–that his primitive regurgitation ended up mirroring highly-sophisticated philosophical truths–should give even the stoutest atheist pause.