Philosophy of Religion for a New Century: Introduction

  • William Power
Part of the Studies in Philosophy and Religion book series (STPAR, volume 25)


The title of this volume of essays in honor of Eugene Thomas Long, Philosophy of Religion for a New Century, could not be more appropriate in light of Long’s magisterial work on twentieth-century western philosophy of religion.1 In this work Long provides a well-constructed historical narrative of the primary strands of western philosophy of religion from 1900 to 2000. In his narrative map of the century, he divides his historical account into more or less four overlapping chronological periods beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, continuing through the period between the two world wars, the period after mid-century, and concluding with the period that covers the last quarter of the twentieth century. Just as every century inherits from its predecessor, produces its own novelties, and passes on its legacy to its successor, whether desirable or not, so it is with the twentieth-century. In Long’s concluding remarks, he notes that his narrative story “began in a world that places more emphasizes certitude, universality and the one, and ends in a world that places more emphasis upon the relative, the particular, and the plural.”2 The latter is our inheritance and at the beginning of a new millennium one can only speculate on things to come. In the infancy of the twenty-first century, we should remember the past and learn from what is no longer, live now in the present with all the knowledge and wisdom we can muster, and anticipate and prepare for the future which is not yet.


Religious Study Western Philosophy Moral Realism Objective Cult Truth Claim 
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  1. 1.
    Eugene Thomas Long, Twentieth-Century Western Philosophy of Religion 1900–2000 Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    (Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000). 2 Ibid., p. 523.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 3.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Eugene Thomas Long, ‘Contemporary philosophy of religion: Issues and approaches’, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 50, nos.1–3 (2001), p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ninian Smart, ‘Methods in My Life’, The Craft of Religious Studies, ed. Jon R. Stone (New York: Palgrave, 2000), p. 18.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Power

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