Approaching God explores the ways in which phenomenology, metaphysics and theological enquiry can throw light upon each other. This is a matter of great interest and importance to the future of philosophical theology and the philosophy of religion. What, if anything, has philosophical reflection about God to contribute to Christian theology? And if indeed philosophy plays a positive role in theological reflection-what kind of philosophy? The first-person philosophical perspective of phenomenology or the objective philosophical perspective of metaphysics?
Masterson devotes three chapters to, respectively, phenomenological, metaphysical, and theological approaches to God. Each are seen as animated by a first principle from which a comprehensive account of everything is said to follow-`Human Consciousness' in the case of phenomenology; `Being' in the case of metaphysics; and `God' in the case of theology.
Although philosophers and theologians such as Ricoeur, Levinas, Kearney, Caputo, and Barth are considered briefly, Approaching God essentially provides a dialogue about theological and theistic issues between the phenomenological approach of the leading French Christian phenomenologist Jean-Luc Marion and the realist metaphysical approach of Aquinas.
Masterson maintains that all three approaches are needed in trying to speak appropriately about God-they are irreducible but complementary.
Patrick Masterson is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion at University College Dublin, Ireland. His publications include Atheism and Alienation: A Study of the Philosophical Sources of Contemporary Atheism (Penguin, 1973), The Sense of Creation (Ashgate, 2008), and, with Seamus Heaney, Articulations: poetry, philosophy, and the shaping of culture (2008). Professor Masterson has had the honor of serving as President of University College Dublin (1986-93), Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Ireland (1987 & 1988) and as President of the European University Institute, Florence (1994-2002). He has been the recipient of a number of international awards and honors, including honorary doctorates from the University of Caen, Trinity College Dublin, and New York University.