This is a book of outstanding scholarship written with great clarity by one of the most knowledgable and trustworthy historians of the period of the late Roman empire. Brown uses the issue of wealth as a key to enter a complex social and religious world that saw the emergence of Christianity into the ancient hierarchies of power, prestige, and vast wealth that had powered the Roman empire for many centuries.
Brown's narrative is fascinating and relatively easy to follow and brings to life the variety of characters and interests of the period in a wonderfully vivid way. He leads the listener to understand the nuances of primary texts while evaluating many current debates among historians with a sure touch.
Brown writes as a person who has lived in the world he describes for many years and understands its nooks and crannies like a native. I emerged from the long journey with a tremendous sense of gratitude for Brown's guidance through an important historical period in which modern prejudices could easily distort my perceptions.
Cooper reads the book with great clarity and articulation. My only problem with the narration was that quite a number of the names of ancient people or texts or technical terms seemed mispronounced. It did not seem in keeping with the high scholarly quality of the book otherwise.
I highly recommend this work. It is very substantive and assumes that the listener has a basic knowledge of the period covered. But it certainly rewards careful listening.
This is a powerful and well written book that directly engages the fault line in western intellectual discourse between theism and naturalism that has been so disputed since the enlightenment and the amazing development of modern science. It is not a history of that development but an analytic philosophical exploration of the issues at stake in the claims of naturalism or reductive materialism and of a theistic description of reality. The arguments are clearly and forcefully presented, often complete with logical formulae, and with a clear mastery of all the technical tools of modern analytic philosophy.
Along with the forceful argument, however, there is also a self-deprecating sense of humor and a use of everyday illustrations that make Plantinga's investigation of issues easy to follow.
He argues that the fundamental character of the relationship between science and a theistic understanding of reality have been misunderstood in most recent discussion. There is no substantial conflict between science and theism, but that in fact the real conflict is between the great intellectual edifice of science and naturalism or reductive materialism.
The book is very well read and easy to follow with a few exceptions. Logical formulae do not lend themselves to being easily understood when read orally. The book requires thoughtful concentration, but well repays the effort required.
The book is well written and well read and fulfills its mission of giving an introduction to the multifaceted reality of globalization. The author is a university professor who analyzes globalization from the vantage point of understanding a developing and increasingly complex academic subject.
Although I largely agree with the author's point of view on many issues, I was disappointed that he seemed unaware how ideological his own presentation was and how he marches in step with a kind of academic-left orthodoxy that has long been in vogue in his professional context. He has definite bogeys, especially "neoliberalism" (which is usually more a term of abuse than of analysis), the idea of markets, and almost any manifestation of American politics or popular culture -- with some notable exceptions: Ralph Nader and a number of American scholars. It is striking how his descriptions of some points of view are loaded with words of scorn and condescension, while views of which he approves are described in words that glow with justice and human flourishing. All the while, seeming to give a balanced and straightforward presentation of unfolding facts.
In spite of these weaknesses, however, the book knowledgeably covers a wide range and gives a very helpful overview of the subject.
This is a book that nearly perfectly accomplishes its mission.
It is written by an excellent scholar who understood Augustine and his times in depth and with genuine human and philosophical empathy. Given the vastness of Augustine's writing and influence, Chadwick is a wonderful guide to select the elements of Augustine's thought and context that are most illuminating and to bring them into interaction with each other. Chadwick is especially good in clarifying the philosophical journey of Augustine from his long formation in pagan and non-Christian contexts of thought through his conversion and to the reshaping of that formation as a Christian bishop. Chadwick knows that he cannot cover everything. He makes well thought out choices and writes with concise clarity.
The book is beautifully read by Phil Holland.
This is a clearly written book that deals with complicated issues in a vivid and easy-to-understand way. It is also very clearly read. A pleasure to listen to.
The book approaches consciousness from a strictly orthodox reductive materialist viewpoint, simply writing off with little real engagement the many points of view of this subject that do not fit that orthodoxy. All other points of view of "the hard problem" etc. get tagged with the epithet, "magic."
In the end, consciousness, mind, the will, the human self, and all continuity of experience or identity are attributed to delusion -- the strictly mindless brain tricking us into thinking that we exist. Since Susan Blackmore seems to be denying her own existence, one is left wondering, who wrote the extended and rather complex argument of this book?
The book is amazing. Dorrien takes the reader on a journey through the development of modern liberal theology full of illuminating detail in the development of ideas, biographical information on the lives, relationships, and conflicts of the theologians and philosophers involved, and description of the social context surrounding the development of this great tradition. His mastery of the material and nuanced interpretation are evident throughout. Again and again his treatments of individual theologians are superb small-scale intellectual biographies. I found his treatments of Schleiermacher, Coleridge, Strauss, Kierkegaard, and Barth especially fascinating, though others were jewels as well.
With so wide-ranging a book, focusing on both German and British traditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, there will certainly be debates and disagreements, but one could hardly ask for a better guide through this material than Dorrien has become.
I am really grateful to Audible Ltd. for bringing a book of this quality into the realm of audiobooks. I would have put off the reading of so formidable a volume, but I started listening to it, and its content captured me. It was a truly interesting journey.
The great incongruity in the experience, however, was with the reader. This is a book with the names of two German philosophers in the title! How could a reader be chosen for it who has no idea how to pronounce German (or French or Latin for that matter)? The reader has a beautiful, sonorous voice and reads smoothly and quickly. But so many names are mispronounced! And this book is full of German names. He even mispronounces "Mozart." Hasn't he even seen "Amadeus"? When he reads titles, it becomes a sport trying to figure out the German behind the garble.I especially loved the hilarious sounding "jar-bucker."
His reading of English is also very careless. He drops syllables from many longer words and often supplies the "not quite right" word into the text. He reads dialect for dialectic, cavalry for Calvary, aspirations for aspersions, revalant for relevant, "vow-shaved" for vouchsafed, and on and on and on. The simple word "piety" and related words such as pietism must occur well over a thousand times in this book. It would take only a moment to look up the pronunciation in any dictionary. But using a variety of mispronunciations, the reader mangles the words every single time they occur.
This is a long book and the reading is a persistent distraction to concentrating on its great content. It's like the great suffering one must go through to reach a worthwhile goal.
I found this short book really fascinating. Jonathan Biss is clearly a person who lives and breathes music, and even more, who experiences a kind of ecstatic interaction with music. I am not a musician, and so some parts of Biss's language went over my head. But his vivid description of his own experiences took me inside such experiences better than just about anything I've ever read. His discussions of "perfection" in the performance and the recording of music delved into interesting issues that reverberate beyond the realm of music. His discussion of the Beethoven sonatas that he is in the process of recording combined insight and delight with technical expertise.
The reading was beautifully done by Jeff Woodman with clarity and passion.
I am a pastor in New York City and an admirer of Tim Keller's preaching and writing, though I've only attended Redeemer Presbyterian Church a couple of times. This lengthy book reads as a carefully assembled notebook of the accumulated wisdom of Keller (and his team) in building one of the most thriving and paradigmatic churches in New York City today. It shows clearly the depth and clarity of thought and the faith put into practice that is embodied in Keller's work. It rightly rejects the idea that others can simply take over the Redeemer model and replicate it. Rather, Keller leads the reader to think substantively about the many elements that are part of the life of an urban church with a strong center in the Gospel. It ranges widely from the content of preaching and theology, to issues of interaction with secular culture, to diversity in worship styles, and many other topics.
While I think that the book will be most relevant to those who are directly involved in ministry, it will also provide a thoughtful journey through urban church life to anyone who reads it.
Tom Parks does an excellent job reading the book. I highly recommend it.
The issues in philosophy of mind are some of the most challenging and important to our understanding of ourselves as human beings that one can imagine. Are our minds illusions, our thoughts determined? Do we have free will? Prof. Pessin's lectures present the issues and principal voices in this field with clarity. He aims to let the great variety of points of view be understood on their own terms. He carefully provides the listener with resources for grasping both the excitement of the field and the difficult choices to be made.
I started listening to this series of lectures with a bit of a guilty feeling that I ought to know more about the subject. I came away enthusiastically desiring to learn more. Dr. Drout is a clearly knowledgable scholar with an unabashed love of scholarship in his field of study and an ability to communicate what is interesting, intriguing, and humane in the people, events, and literature he teaches. He helps us beginners with effective mnemonic devices and clear organization while giving us glimpses of the complexities and uncertainties behind the story. His mastery of the subject has led to a love of it that comes across to and into the listener.
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