The Possibility of a Scientific Approach to Analytic Theology

Andrew Torrance


A question that is often asked of analytic theologians is: what, if anything, distinguishes analytic theology from philosophy of religion? In this essay, I consider two approaches to what is called “analytic theology.” I argue that the first approach, which I associate with the common practice of analytic theology in the university, is very difficult to distinguish consistently from philosophy of religion. I also argue, however, that there is another approach that can be more clearly distinguished from philosophy of religion (generally understood). Following Aquinas, I associate this with a scientific approach to analytic theology: an approach that is distinguished by a specific commitment to understanding the mind-independent reality of God and all things in relation to God. The primary aim of this essay is to present an account of this latter approach and ask whether it might be possible to take such an approach in the contemporary university.

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The Journal of Analytic Theology is a publication of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

ISSN 2330-2380 (online)