John Macquarrie's Natural Theology: The Grace of Being

By Timonin, Ivan | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

John Macquarrie's Natural Theology: The Grace of Being


Timonin, Ivan, Anglican Theological Review


John Macquarrie's Natural Theology: The Grace of Being. By Georgina Morley. Aldershot, UK and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing, 2003. ix + 201 pp. $79.95 (cloth); $29.95 (paper).

I was originally given, for review, the earlier version of this study, emerging from Morleys doctoral dissertation, supervised by Anthony Thiselton and for which Macquarrie had written a brief, congratulatory foreword. Since, however, it was still more a thesis than a book, I was loath to review it; I was happy to find that the present, revised and retitled edition was about to appear. In the earlier version, Morley had evidently been expected, for example, to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the earlier and later Heidegger and of the work of Rudolph Bultmann, two of Macquarrie's principal interlocutors, to whom the reference is extensive. The present version is, frankly, a book and a pleasure to read. That said, both versions of the study have provided the present reviewer with the happy chore of reading and rereading many of Macquarrie's own works, for which I am very grateful. The earlier version of the work, The Grace of Being: John Macquarrie's Natural Theology (Bristol, Ind.: Wyndham Hall Press, 2001), can now be safely ignored.

In her introduction, Morley presents her argument as follows: "[T]he developments in Macquarrie's thought emerge in response to a particular context . . . [and] . . . Macquarrie's career, and the influence of colleagues and institutions during his career, provide the temporal narrative which accounts for the particular directions his work takes" (pp. 1-2). There follow six chapters: "Heidegger on Being Human," "Beyond Existentialism," "Into the Public Domain," "New-Style Natural Theology," "The Grace of Being," and "A Christology of Self-Giving; with some Concluding Remarks." The result is still a bit heavier on Macquarrie's interlocutors than on his dialectical development in conversation with them, but the developmental theme is clearly substantiated. …

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