Monday, November 16, 2015

Frame's History of Western Thought

Woo-hoo! I finished (minus an appendix or 12).  Frame ' s work on the history of Western thought is immense, but I finished!  That is exciting to me, and it should be to you for multiple reasons:
1. I am not well read in philosophy,
2. I am not formally trained in theology, and
3. I was able to read, understand,  and enjoy this great book!

There are plenty of reviews and endorsements by people much better equipped to offer an opinion than I am. I can, however, give a layman's plan of action of how to get the most out of (and not get lost within) this massive work.

First, I suggest to make use of Frame ' s RTS lectures. They pair beautifully with the book and listening to the lecture(s) before or after the chapter is incredibly beneficial.

Second, a good prereading makes this work more approachable.  Look over the table of contents and go through the glossary to familiarize yourself with any new terms.  I would also read the timeline of important events before to have a bit of a map as you jump in.

One thing a preread will do is make this massive work seem much more appoachable.  Frame gives an extensive bibliography, index, glossary, and 1700(rough estimate) pages of appendices where Frame interacts with recent thought.  If you are anything like me, a 550 page book seems much less daunting than a 900 page book.

This book is heavily slanted to the last 300 years or so. Strength or weakness? I am not sure. I would have preferred a bit more on the earlier philosophers, but I enjoyed what he did cover so it's hard to complain.

I preordered the Logos version, so I look forward to going through this at least one more time (if not more!).  For someone like me, it will take either a very slow, intentional trip through this book (with visits to other suggested readings) or multiple trips through to get a firm grasp of all the content. For those familiar with major schools of philosophy,  this should be a relatively easy and enjoyable look at how Western thought has developed over the past 2500 years.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

J. I. Packer

J. I. Packer: An Evangelical LifeJ. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life by Leland Ryken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

J. I. Packer is one of the most intriguing and influential figures in 20th-century Evangelicalism. I did not realize how intriguing or how influential he is until I spent some time with Leland Ryken's new biography of him. Ryken gives the reader a thematic look at Packer's life, touching on most everything you would expect or want. I love bios; I love Ryken's writing; I love Packer: his life, his influence, his legacy. Ryken writes as a sympathetic voice, but it seems to be a rather fair assessment of Packer's life, controversy, failures, and all.
Definitely a volume worth reading.

I received a review copy from Crossway.

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