Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
GTJ 3:1 (Spr 82) p. 138
Crucial Questions in Apologetics, by Mark M. Hanna. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 139. $5.95. Paper.
Apologetics is the theological discipline that brings theology to interface with philosophy. The key point of contact is epistemology. This provocative book questions the correctness of empirical epistemology as well as that of presuppositional epistemology. Veridicalism is presented as a more adequate epistemological starting point that will satisfy the claim of special revelation, the claims of experience, and the claims of reason.
A brief presentation of subject matter is followed by a section of questions and answers. A review of contemporary challenges, the relation of apologetics and theology, and the distinctive approaches of presuppositionalism, verification, and veridicalism constitute the pattern of the work. Significant criticisms are brought against both the presuppositionalist and the verificationalist. These criticisms warrant careful consideration from each position. Criticism is balanced with appreciation for that which Hanna feels is of value from each of these divergent views.
Verdicalism’s vision seems to be a form of foundationalism. Knowledge can be reduced to certain foundations. These foundations in the past have either led to skepticism through empiricism, or to dogmatism through rational apriorism. Hanna seeks to escape both by reducing knowledge to phenomenological givens. He defines a given as that which presents itself to awareness, does so directly, and as something that can be corroborated by reflective examination of it and its comportation with other givens. Givens are of two types. There are self-evidencing givens, like the principle of noncontradiction, and perceptual objects, that are universal and thus form neutral ground for the believer and unbeliever. There are self-evidencing special givens like the Bible (pp. 101-3).
The focus of the vision of veridicalism is now clear. Both empirical and non-empirical universal givens are used in gaining certainty. Justification of the truth of Christianity stems from the union of the special givens of Bible with the relevant universal givens. A major question arises over what union or comportment actually mean? Is this a form of phenomenological idealism in which rational coherence to givens is the basis to justify truth claims?
Hanna has promised another book to expand and develop veridicalism. One hopes that the question/answer format is abandoned, for at best the questions seemed contrived and not the most relevant questions to be asked
GTJ 3:1 (Spr 82) p. 139
in light of the content. Veridicalism is a creative position in apologetics and this seed book deserves wide read...
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