Pugh: The SCM Studyguide to Philosophy and Christian Faith

Pugh: The SCM Studyguide to Philosophy and Christian Faith

PUGH, Ben

SCM Studyguide to Philosophy and Christian Faith

London: SCM Press, 2018. 288 p.

ISBN 978-0-334-05710-9, £22.99.

Ben Pugh’s SCM Studyguide to Philosophy and Christian Faith would have been extremely helpful to me a dozen years ago when I was a first year seminary student hearing names of philosophers and theologians for the first time by professors who assumed I knew something about them and their writings.  I felt like I was constantly playing catch up to set philosophers in their proper contexts in the whole history of Christian thought.  This book provides a well-structured and enlightening primer on the relationship between philosophers and philosophical concepts to elements of the Christian faith and its historic teachings.

At this point in my career as an Anglican priest having completed two master’s degrees and about to complete a doctorate, I still benefited greatly from this book that put some ideas and influences in order for me.  Pugh plainly presents the ideas of philosophers, ancient to modern, from Plato to post-modernism, so readers ascertain main concepts and how these have interacted with Christian thought.  He paints the big picture but also drills down so that readers grasp the meaning of some practical applications and ethics.

The book fulfills one of its purposes, that is to equip readers to understand how culture-shaping philosophical beliefs impact how we approach and practice our faith.  It awakens readers to see how our theology and ethics can be bent away from genuine Christian faith by enculturated ideas.  Pugh defines concepts and elaborates on meanings as he introduces technical words and presents concise profiles of philosophers.  Throughout the book, there is an underlying emphasis on strengthening readers’ faith.  Pugh offers reflection questions that inspire deep thinking and can lead to healthy discussions.

Craig Stephans, Church of the Redeemer, Camden NC

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