Great Catholic Philosophers

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Great Catholic Philosophers

  • Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
24 Lectures (8 Discs)
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  1. Great Catholic Philosophers Audio Bundle: Great Catholic Philosophers + An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion - 14 CDs Total $179.95
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Explore the great minds who tackled the universe’s big questions.

From antiquity to the Information Age, humankind has grappled with the reality of God, the existence of the soul, and the nature of creation. To ponder these questions is what makes us human. But until today, exploring them with the greatest thinkers of our tradition was practically impossible. Now, you are invited to take one of Catholicism’s leading philosophy professors as your guide.

Great Catholic Philosophers takes you on a journey through two millennia of our rich philosophical tradition. You’ll encounter giants like Augustine and Aquinas as well as lesser-known minds, whose wisdom will illuminate you in equal measure. For this fascinating and fundamental course, you’ll join award-winning teacher Fr. Harry Gensler, S.J.

You’ll begin with the profound philosophical questions raised by the Bible and Greek philosophers, whose ideas influenced Christian thinkers. After this introduction, you’ll move chronologically through the centuries, seeing how schools of Catholic thought built upon each other. As you journey through the Patristic Era, the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and the modern day, you’ll explore questions about prayer, the nature of suffering, and our ultimate destiny. 

Although Catholic philosophers differed in their approaches, they shared common beliefs in God, free will, and morality. Above all, they believed that faith and reason are not competing but compatible. As you meet these great philosophers, you’ll deepen your understanding of human nature while strengthening your faith.

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Topic Titles
Topic Titles
  • Introduction
  • The Bible, Plato, and Aristotle
  • Aristides, Justin, Clement, and Tertullian
  • Irenaeus Clarifies the Problem of Evil
  • Menucius Felix Debates Non-Believers
  • Origen Criticizes Biblical Fundamentalism
  • Augustine Converts to Christianity
  • Augustine on Christian Doctrine
  • The Middle Ages through Anselm
  • Arguments for God’s Existence
  • Aquinas on Faith and Reason
  • Aquinas on God as First Cause
  • Aquinas on God as the World’s Designer
  • Aquinas and the Natural Moral Law
  • Ockham, Loyola, and Galileo
  • Descartes
  • Catholic Philosophy in Transition
  • The Loss of Faith Among Intellectuals
  • Teilhard and Evolution
  • Stein on Woman’s Special Value
  • Callahan on Pro-Life Feminism
  • Copleston Debates Russell
  • Plantinga on Christian Philosophy
  • Rescher and John Paul II
About Your Presenter

Fr. Harry J. Gensler, S.J., Ph.D., is a leading authority on Catholic philosophy, a Jesuit priest, and a Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan (1977), a Master of Divinity from Loyola University Chicago, and an M.A. in Philosophy from Wayne State University. He co-edited the first and only general Anthology of Catholic Philosophy, and his corresponding historical Christian Thinkers course is especially popular among Jesuit graduate students. He has published fourteen books, including Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction, Introduction to Logic, and Ethics and the Golden Rule, all with Routledge Press. His newest book is Ethics and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Praise for Harry Gensler

“Gensler is the world’s most logical, clear, and good-humored teacher of the golden rule. Gensler’s super-clear and sometimes funny visual aids keep you laughing and learning. He clarifies misunderstandings and refutes cheap attacks on the rule; and he brings in practical wisdom, historical information, and diverse religious perspectives. This lecture series is not to be mi...

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Reviews
Customer Reviews (2)
Brilliant Ideas Never Die Because They are Engraved in The Memory of Time
Quality
An intellectually intense and exceptional work on the great masterminds of Christian philosophy by whom I consider one of the most brilliant minds of our time.
I had the pleasure and privilege of being one of Gensler's students. It was in his Christian Thinkers class where my intellect came into conflict with Tertullian and his famous question, "What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" (Gensler & Swindal, 2005, p 62).
Excellent work Professor Gensler.
Review by Tamara (Posted on 9/16/2017)
Good study of the arguments for the existence of God
Quality
I expected a wider range of Catholic Philosophical topics but the two focused on were very good. The most covered topic was the existence of God arguments. The full range of arguments were covered and the objections to each argument and the strength of the argument and objection considered. The second topic was a defense of Christianity in general and Catholocism in specific. This was best handeled by a review of Plantinga. I take a different view of many of the philosophers presented. Augustine is presented through the eyes of "TheConfessions" and I prefer "Civitas Dei". "Civitas Dei" presents a very thourough defense of Christianity agains pagan allegations. I disagree with his treatment of Galileo as a victim of petty politic instead of a cruel and underhanded poltroon who provided no evidence for his assertions which are not scientifically justified until 100 years after his death. I never think of Descartes as a Catholic philosopher. I think what really got him into trouble is that her turned Aristotle on his head by denying the primacy of sense data and inserting the notion of clear and distinct ideas which are neither clear no distinct. The sad fact is that no Catholic philosophers at that time were available to straighten out the mess Thomism was in. It has become corrupt and confusing. Even at their clearest, Aristotle and Aquinas are difficult. Descartes, Locke and Hume are easy and pursuasive. Also physicas and Chemistry are lots more fun to do than Aristotle. I wish more was said about Pascal as his faith was great and supported his reason. I wish he had included Maritan and Gilson. They are giants in the best Catholic tradition. I am especially indebted to Gilson for the insight that the gift of Descartes to Nietzsche is they explore all the fruitless rabbit holes philosophy can fall down. Review by Timothy (Posted on 8/10/2017)
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