Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Top Twenty

Due to a post at "Faith and Theology" there are a lot of people posting top twenty lists for the theological works that have most influenced them. I decided to do a list for theology and list for philosophy. The order, like some of the choices, is partly arbitrary and partly not in both cases. It's interesting looking at it. Russell gets on the Philosophy list because HWP was one of the first works of philosophy I read (in tenth grade, I think), and I loved it -- I commented all over it, and read through it so much the book fell apart. It's not actually a great work in History of Philosophy; it's tendentious and sometimes nothing short of silly. But what struck me about the book was not Russell, but some of the thinkers he discusses. Definitely on the list. But it clearly has changed over time. If I had made such a list in undergrad, of the names listed in the top ten, only Aquinas would have been there then. Augustine might have made it with the Enchridion, since I was (and to some extent still am) taken with his summation of the relation between mind and body as far superior to Descartes's. Maritain would have made the list. That Hume would make the list even once would have been inconceivable, much less twice with one of those in the top ten. Popper would certainly have been on the list; I held Popper in esteem until I read Duhem and realized what a real philosophy of science is like. Whewell and Shepherd I came to late, and would not even have recognized their names. Maritain and Francis Schaeffer would probably have made the list. And so forth. Similar things might be said about the Theology list. In any case, both lists are suggestive of my eclectic side.


20. The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
19. Dante, Divine Comedy
18. Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone
17. The Way of the Pilgrim
16. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith
15. Athanasius, On the Incarnation
14. Gregory Palamas, Triads
13. Calvin, Institutes
12. Bonaventure, Itinerarium
11. Anselm, Cur Deus Homo
10. Ps-Dionysius, On the Divine Names
9. C. S. Lewis, Miracles
8. Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit
7. Gregory of Nyssa, Not Three Gods
6. Teresa of Avila, Autobiography
5. Augustine, Confessions
4. Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life
3. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
2. Augustine, De Trinitate
1. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae


20. Scruton, The Aesthetic Understanding
19. Plato, Gorgias
18. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas
17. Russell, A History of Western Philosophy
16. Beauvoir, The Second Sex
15. Novalis, Pollen
14. Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience
13. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part II
12. Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
11. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
10. Augustine, De Magistro
9. Edith Stein, Finite and Eternal Being
8. David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
7. Whewell, Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences
6. Duhem, The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory
5. Scotus, De Primo Principio
4. Butler, Fifteen Sermons Delivered in Rolls Chapel
3. Newman, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent
2. Lady Mary Shepherd, An Essay upon the Relation of Cause and Effect
1. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae

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