The challenges that Western culture keeps posing to the Christian faith are ever new. The goal-posts keep changing. This study guide will equip theology students to understand the culture-shaping beliefs that are driving the kinds of questions it brings to faith. It will be an historical overview of the key stages in the history of Western philosophy with each section carefully tracing the genealogical line of ideas and the Christian responses to them, right up to the present day.
For most theology students, learning abstract philosophical concepts involves literally learning a new language, a language that the initiated converse in with ease but which leaves the uninitiated baffled. Thus, each chapter in this study guide opens with a glossary of terms.
Throughout the studyguide students are encouraged to reflect on the ways in which what has been learned might be applied in both explicitly theological and wider cultural contexts - for example, they might be asked to think of a film or book that seems to express elements of existentialism or postmodernism, or to describe how something very like the extreme subjectivity of idealism can sometimes shows itself in Sunday morning worship.
Ben Pugh lectures in theology at Cliff College, UK, a partner college of the University of Manchester. He is author of the widely acclaimed Atonement Theories: A Way Through the Maze (Cascade, 2014) as well as the more recent SCM Study Guide to Theology in the Contemporary World. He has a passion to make the complex ideas of academics easy to understand for everyone, but without watering them down.