This is the first part in a three post review of Alister McGrath’s The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind from IVP-Academic. In this post, I will provide background on the author. In the second, I will provide an overview of the contents followed by another post with my reaction to the book. Thanks to IVP for sending along a copy.
Strangely enough, this is my first time reading anything by Alister McGrath (and if any of you theologians want to chastise me for that, then a hearty “whatever” to you). When I attended seminary, his volume on historical theology always drew my attention when I walked into the campus bookstore. But, I didn’t want anything to take away from my time studying Hebrew (and okay I’ll admit it, Greek), which I know Joel believes is more important than anything in the world. This particular title – The Passionate Intellect – just jumped out at me when I surveyed the most recent IVP catalog. At right around 200 pages, I thought it would make for a fairly easy read.
So, I acquainted myself with McGrath a little from the material provided on the book’s inside back cover. The back cover reads:
Alister McGrath (D.Phil., D.D., Oxford University) holds the chair of theology, ministry and education and is head of the Centre for Theology, Religion & Culture at King’s College, London. He was previously professor of historical theology at Oxford University and is president of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is in constant demand as a speaker at conferences throughout the world, and his works have been translated into twenty-four languages. His scholarly articles have appeared in leading academic journals, and he is the author of many books, including The Dawkins Delusion? and Christianity’s Dangerous Idea.
One other matter not mentioned in this excerpt from the back of the book is that McGrath also studied in the sciences before moving into the field of theology (see for example in chapter 7 if you have a copy). This helps to illumine the contents of this particular book since much of the second part deals with science and the new atheism. But, that’s a matter for my post on the contents of the book, which I’ll hopefully post within the next couple of days. From what I’ve read so far, the book contains a number of helpful essays, especially relating to theology and the sciences.