In Evidence and Transcendence, Anne Inman critiques modern attempts to explain the knowability of God and points the way toward a religious epistemology that avoids their pitfalls. Christian apologetics faces two major challenges: the classic Enlightenment insistence on the need to provide evidence for anything that is put forward for belief; and the argument that all human knowledge is mediated by finite reality and thus no “knowledge” of a being interpreted as completely other than finite reality is possible.
Modern Christian apologists have tended to understand their task primarily, if not exclusively, in terms of one of these challenges. As examples of contemporary rationalist and postliberal approaches, Inman analyzes in depth the religious epistemologies of philosopher Richard Swinburne and theologians George Lindbeck and Ronald Theimann. She concludes that none of their positions is satisfactory, because none can uphold the notion of God’s transcendence while at the same time preserving a sound account of our claims to freedom and knowledge.
The root cause of such failures, Inman argues, is an inadequate philosophy of God and of the relation of God and the finite world. Her exploration of the theologies of Karl Rahner and Friedrich Schleiermacher provides the material for the constructive work in this book. Against rationalist and postliberal epistemologies, Inman calls for an austere grounding of Christian faith in the claim that God is known in human conscious activity as such, as the “other” that grounds the finite.
“An invaluable contribution to theology. It illuminates central issues of theology: the understanding of God, the demand for evidence, the rationality of Christian belief, and the relationship between philosophy and theology. It presents an excellent survey of several major theological approaches (analytic philosophy of religion, American neo-pragmatism, and continental theology) and offers a balanced proposal that seeks to incorporate the best from each approach. A must read for anyone interested in current approaches to God and Christian belief.” —Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Theological Studies, Harvard Divinity School
“Evidence and Transcendence addresses a critically important topic: the need for evidence (about God) and the insistence on the mediation of knowledge. Anne Inman’s ambitious project makes an original contribution to the field by framing the problem very well and bringing in a variety of thinkers to analyze it. The book will be welcomed by students and scholars of systematic theology and philosophy of God.” —Thomas M. Kelly, Creighton University