The philosophy of religion as a distinct discipline is an invation of the last two hundred years, but its central topics-the existence and nature of the divine, humankind's relation to it, the nature of religion and its place in human life-have been with us since the inception of philosophy. Philosophers have long critically examined the truth of (and rational justification for) religious claims, and have explored such philosophically interesting phemena as faith, religious experience and the distinctive features of religious discourse. The second half of the twentieth-century has been an especially fruitful period, with philosophers using new developments in logic and epistemology to mount both sophisticated defenses of, and attacks on, religious claims. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion contains newly commissioned chapters by 21 prominent experts who cover the field in a comprehensive but accessible manner. Each chapter is expository, critical, and representative of a distinctive viewpoint. The Handbook is divided into two sections. The first, Problems, covers the most frequently discussed topics, among them arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, and religious epistemology. The second is called Approaches and contains four essays assessing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of practicing philosophy of religion. The Handbook offers contributors of high stature who present substantive and in-depth treatment of the most central topics. It is a must-have reference for anyone with an interest in philosophy and religion.
William J. Wainwright is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.