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List price: $19.99|
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ISBN/ASIN : 0805414002
Manufacturer : Broadman & Holman Publishers|
Release data : August, 1998
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Why the non-Christian philosophies of history don't work
Well, this book is all about that, so I won't tell you why. But, if you are interested, you should read it. Unfortunately, Nash seems to waste some of his time discussing the authorship of the book of Hebrews. One wishes that he could have expounded a little more on the Christian philosophy of history. But, I think that Nash did a great job in introducing the main philosophies of history of the Western world. Note: the "cyclical," "linear," "spiral" stuff, in my opinion, is all about the "One" and the "Many" (i.e., the Trinity). You see, we need just as much of a Trinitarian philosophy of history as we do a Trinitarian epistemology, metaphysics, etc.
Professor Ronald Nash has written an enjoyable overview of the philosophy of history. He starts out with a discussion of "world views" from a Christian perspective. He then contrasts the Christian view of history (linear) to the typical non-Christian view, which tends to be cyclical. He then provides concise discussions of some of the principal philosophers of history: Augustine, Vico, Herder, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Spengler and Toynbee. He critiques their thought from a Christian perspective, in his case a Calvinist philosophy drawning on the thought of Gordon Clark (although, curiously, he doesn't refer the reader to Clark's principal work on the subject, Historiography: Secular and Religious).
This is an enjoyable book, meant primarily for those with minimal knowledge of philosophy and the philosophy of history. There's nothing wrong with that, but at times the discussions of various writers can be rather slim. On the other hand, many people well-read in philosophy aren't familiar with Vico and Herder, and they should be.
Readers who are interested in the topic might wish to start with Prof. Nash's work on then read Brander's Staring Into Chaos and Bebbington's Patterns of History. Also relevant is Passmore's The Perfectability of Man, which deals with similar issues from a somewhat different perspective.
Is There Meaning to History?
This is probably the clearest Introduction to what is sometimes called the Philosophy of History. The book examines most of the important theories about the meaning of history, including Augustine, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Spengler and Toynbee. It pays special attention to the powerful influence of the linear view of history first proposed by Jewish and Christian contributors to the Bible.