by David Ray GriffinThis book was a very intriguing attempt to contrast and (potentially) synthesize what is known as "process theology" (mainly Whitehead's concepts, advanced by men like Hartshorne, Cobb, and Griffin) and "perennialism" (expounded by men like Lovejoy, Huxley, Wilber, and Smith).
I wish there was ultimately more to be synthesized here, but Griffin and Smith hit a conceptual road block almost immediately, spending the rest of the book trying to pinpoint where the fundamental differences lie. In a major way the difference came down to epistemological/formal technicalities; Griffin's hardcore commonsense truths vs. Huston Smith's constant re-orientation to the transrational truth of the Absolute.
Substantively the disagreements came with how to relate science to religion (I do believe Griffin was more correct and coherent here) and how each theory accounts for the problem of evil (for Griffin, it's an inevitable feature of a self-determining plurality of actualities; for Smith, evil is ultimately an illusion... in the eye of Spirit everything is perfectly harmonious).
Ken Wilber is briefly mentioned in the book, by Griffin, as a Perennial Philosophy thinker who does not share the same thoughts on the science/religion divide that Smith does (it was hard to tell on first read whether the disagreements here were just semantic). Wilber is a thinker who seems to synthesize the insights of these two traditions very successfully, something unfortunately "unachieved" in this book. But the greatness in the book is highlighting the places where differences do lie and where the problems for each tradition lay. I think Wilber has a sophisticated system which acknowledges many of the problems posed by Griffin. I do suspect that Griffin ultimately sees the Perennialist claims as unfounded and merely speculative. What should of been emphasized is the transrational states and stages of development that bring forth these kind of insights. This is supported by Griffin's expanded role for science.
It's a little awkward to ponder this and certainly to pose the possibility to Griffin personally but maybe Griffin just doesn't have much experience with meditation and mystical states? This was Whitehead's limitation I think, theologically. His God is mostly metaphysical-rational rather then metaphysical-transrational. The Perennialist resorts to all of these paradoxes that Griffin finds absurd, but they hit the nail on the head as far as language can carry us; the Creativity, the Natures of God, the Creatures themselves; all of these process categories, as they are related for Griffin, carry a subtle dualism/trialism, never quite finding the unity that the Perennialist experiences as fundamental. ONE Taste.
|Title||Primordial Truth & Postmodern Theology|
|eBook format||Hardcover, (torrent)|
|Author||David Ray Griffin|
|Publisher||State University of New York Press|
|File size||4 Mb|
|Book rating||3 (4 votes)