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God: A Guide for the Perplexed

Keith Ward (Oneworld Publications: April 2002), 320 pages.

Keith Ward is an eminent Oxford theologian, and such a title might make many ordinary people run for cover. Don’t run. God: A Guide for the Perplexed is a wonderful book. Ward is a philosopher as well as a theologian and he succeeds in presenting the sweep of mankind’s religious and philosophical thought with style, reverence, and a wry humour. He is to be congratulated in producing a book that avoids churchy clap trap, academic jargon, religious cliché, and mushy spirituality. He writes in a crisp, entertaining way that is never flippant and he wears his immense learning lightly, sharing a genuine enthusiasm for his subject with a clear desire to communicate with ordinary people. In seven chapters Ward takes us through the history of mankind’s religious thought. He shows how philosophical questions have always been linked with religious questions, and how religion has never been merely a set of rules or doctrines, but a quest for meaning and a search for the blazing darkness that is God. In other words, Ward has written a feast for the mind and the heart. While the academic ground is covered lightly, the mystical, poetic, and mysterious side of religion is also given due weight. If you can only buy one book which explains the heart and mind of mankind’s spiritual quest, buy this book. ~ Dwight Longenecker,

Table of Contents

    • 1    A feeling for the gods    1
    • 2    Beyond the gods    36
    • 3    The love that moves the sun    67
    • 4    The God of the philosophers    101
    • 5    The poet of the world    140
    • 6    The darkness between stars    179
    • 7    The personal ground of being    219
    • Bibliography    255
    • Acknowledgements    257
    • Index    258