Diogenes Allen: Philosophy for Understanding Theology

My reading over the past few months has pushed me back toward a book that I read 25+ years ago: Philosophy for Understanding Theology by Diogenes Allen. I remember finding it very helpful at the time, but I think I have forgotten most of what I learned from the book. I thought it might be particularly helpful to re-read the chapters on Platonism in preparation for returning to St Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses.

I met Dick Allen at a summer lecture series on science, theology, and post-modernity at the Virginia Theological Seminary. I do not recall what year that was, but his book Christian Belief in a Postmodern World was published in 1989, so perhaps the lectures were given sometime soon after that. He was a fine lecturer and a sweet Christian man (at least that is how I remember him). He came from a Greek Orthodox family, but was raised as a Presbyterian because there were no Orthodox Churches nearby (at least that is what I remember him sharing with us). At some point he became an Episcopalian.

I was, and still am, very impressed with how Allen united philosophical and theological reflection. He was particularly conversant with the theology of Austin Farrer.

I’ll start blogging on Philosophy for Understanding Theology sometime next week.  I’m going to be busy this weekend.  My eldest son and my daughter-in-law are coming to Roanoke this weekend for a visit.

(Go to “The Doctrine of Creation”)

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3 Responses to Diogenes Allen: Philosophy for Understanding Theology

  1. “I’m going to be busy this weekend. My eldest son and my daughter-in-law are coming to Roanoke this weekend for a visit.”
    Not to mention, I’m still waiting on game 5 of our 11 game match 🙂


  2. Charles Twombly says:

    I had a lovely exchange with D Allen when I was writing my dissertation back in the early nineties. His opening chapter on creation (along with Florovsky’s priceless essay on Athanasius on creation and R Markus’s chapter on creation in the book he and AH Armstrong co-wrote on Christian faith and ancient philosophy) played an enormous role in my presentation of perichoresis and John Damascene.


  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Off topic, but perhaps by way of a parallel… I’ve just started The “Great War” of Owen Barfield and C.S. Lewis: Philosophical Writings 1927-30 (2015), and near the end of Norbert Feinedegen’s excellent introduction, he says about the way forward for Lewis as philosopher, that the inconsistencies in his ‘Summae Metaphysices Contra Anthroposophos’ “could only be solved with a new conception” and this “conception he found in the Judeo-Christian idea of a creatio ex nihilo”!


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