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On Theological Misunderstandings:
Clarifying the issue with John Sanders
I am grateful to the editor for permission to clarify some things in relation to my review of John Sanders, The God Who Risks ["What God Doesn't Know", November/December 1999], to which John Sanders responded in the last issue ["Theological Lawbreaker?", January/February 2000]. As my original review provoked an attack by Alan Padgett in the correspondence columns of the January/February issue both on my review and on this magazine for publishing it, it makes it the more important to address these matters for the readership of BOOKS & CULTURE.
Firstly, if John Sanders thought that my review made his book seem naive, I apologize for having given that impression. Such was not meant to be conveyed, and such was not my reaction to the book. Please forgive me for any carelessness on that front, John. At the same time, I must plead that I am myself less naive than the reader of his response will think. Sanders (to revert to the third-person form) chides me with not being familiar with the work of the "eminent British philosophers" Geach, Lucas, and Swinburne. In the present context, it is in order to confess that in a previous life I was a Lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion at Oriel College in Oxford, where Richard Swinburne is and was to be found, so I am not only familiar with the work but, in Swinburne's case, the man himself.
Sanders's response shows that he much misunderstood the review; I am not interested in apportioning blame for this but if it is a case of mea culpato any degree, let me apologize for that too. In commenting on the three points that are at issue the aim is to remove these misunderstandings.
1. Contributors do not always select their subtitles and sometimes neither own nor disown them, so our disagreement here may be narrowed! Still, Alan Padgett is wrong when he says that I suspected I had caricatured. In relation to Mary, I entirely grant that Sanders has more than ...