Books (Again) of the Unexamined Life

I think I have six weeks to go. That’s not too long. I’m looking forward to summer like never before.

Biographies I want to read:

Secor on Richard Hooker. Kirk admired Hooker, you know. And Hooker’s views on the continuity of nature and grace interest me. He apparently was both a Platonist and opened a way for my Cambridge Platonists. Secor’s is the definitive biography. Apparently there really was nothing standard for 400 years of Hookerly neglect. A curious thing.

Vidler on F. D. Maurice. Vidler is a great historian and a tremendous writer. Maurice was an odd, unclassifiable Victorian very friendly with George MacDonald also given to repudiating theological systems. Why? I was glancing through the holdings to get a few details on Maurice and found Vidler.

Biography I’ve already read and enjoyed was Raeper on MacDonald. I would be surprised if there is anything better on MacDonald—in fact, there isn’t. Raeper’s book is going on 30 years now. It is a bit heavy on quotation, and a bit clunky on the explanation of the stories, but still good. Thorough, sympathetic, penetrating. I got it for $6, which is a good deal.

I’m going to do Ralph Cudworth for my Trinity class. Cudworth defends the Platonic trinity as exactly the same as the Christian. He does this in his Intellectual System of the Universe, of which we have a modernised edition and facsimile of the original. He is more interesting and insightful than Whichcote, whom I’m working on for another paper. Whichcote was a tedious and polished bore. Cudworth was not as prolific or lucid as Henry More, the other prominent Cambridge Platonist. But he was the deeper chap, it seems, and odd enough for me. I’m going to do what and how and then try to explain exactly why he feels this equation of trinities is important.

Notable book to keep in mind: Scripture and Metaphysics, by Matthew Levering. An Aquinas chap. Almost did the paper on Aquinas but the book is not owned by the WTS library even though it is all over in the literature, and Princeton’s copy was checked out. Anyway, all the other Aquinas Trinity stuff seems to be checked out too, the juicier portions. Thought of Edwards because the class overlooks him. Apparently he does not go down with the pesuppositionalistic radically non-speculative theological posture.

I’m gathering steam, though. I’m also enjoying Pepys with no guilt in large doses: it is 17th Century background.

And it all feeds toward my dream magnum opus: Christian Platonism from Origen to C. S. Lewis.


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