Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity

Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity

Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity

Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity

Synopsis

Many people who do not believe in God believe that 'everything is God' - that everything is part of an all-inclusive divine unity. In Pantheism , this concept is presented as a legitimate position and its philosophical basis is examined. Michael Levine compares it to theism, and discusses the scope for resolving the problems inherent in theism through pantheism. He also considers the implications of pantheism in terms of practice. This book will appeal to those who study philosophy or theology. It will also be of interest to anyone who does not believe in a personal God, but does have faith in a higher unifying force, and is interested in the justification of this as a legitimate system of thought.

Excerpt

The book recognised as containing the most complete attempt at explaining and defending pantheism from a philosophical perspective is Spinoza's Ethics, finished in 1675 two years before his death. In 1720 John Toland wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin. He (possibly) coined the term “pantheist” and used it as a synonym for “Spinozist.” However, aside from some interesting pantheistic sounding slogans like “Every Thing is to All, as All is to Every Thing”, and despite promising “A Short Dissertation upon a Twofold Philosophy of the Pantheists” Toland's work has little to do with pantheism. As far as I know, aside from Thomas McFarland's excellent study Coleridge and the Pantheist Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969) there has been no other full-length work on pantheism since Spinoza's Ethics. McFarland's book is not intended as a philosophical investigation of pantheism although it contains much useful philosophical material.

Of course there have been many studies of Spinoza's Ethics and so indirectly many studies of pantheism. Historically, however, pantheism has numerous forms and Spinoza's version is best considered as one among many variations, albeit a particularly philosophical variation, on pantheistic themes. In short-and surprisingly in my view-not only is there no recent book-length philosophical examination of the concept itself, there seems to be no such study at any time. No extended analysis of the concept itself exists apart from discussion of particular pantheists such as Spinoza, Hegel (?), Plotinus (?), Eriugena, or the study of pantheistic aspects of religious and philosophical traditions such as those found in some of the Presocratics.

This book is intended to fill what I see as a surprisingly broad

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