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Introduction to Theological Anthropology

Baker Academic recently published Introduction to Theological Anthropology by Joshua R. Farris. Farris (PhD, University of Bristol) is Chester and Margaret Paluch Lecturer for 2019-2020 at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. He was assistant professor of theology at Houston Baptist University and served as a Henry Fellow for the Creation Project at the Carl F. H. Henry Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is author of The Soul of Theological Anthropology and the coeditor of Christian Physicalism? and The Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology. 

From the publisher’s description of Introduction to Theological Anthropology:

In this thorough introduction to theological anthropology, Joshua Farris offers an evangelical perspective on the topic. Farris walks the reader through some of the most important issues in traditional approaches to anthropology, such as sexuality, posthumanism, and the image of God. He addresses fundamental questions like, Who am I? and Why do I exist? He also considers the creaturely and divine nature of humans, the body-soul relationship, and the beatific vision.

Joshua Farris is co-editor (with Nathan Jacobs) of the prominent Philosophy of Theological Anthropology project, a web project of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  

Remembering Keith Yandell’s Contributions to Philosophia Christi

Members of the Evangelical Philosophical Society mourn the loss of friend, colleague, and teacher, Keith E. Yandell (b. 1938), who passed away on April 28th.

Since the 1960s, Keith’s dozens of articles and books have addressed multiple areas of philosophy, including issues in philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical anthropology, and Christian engagement with religious diversity and eastern religions. According to an announcement of his passing made by the Society of Christian Philosophers, Keith’s wife, Sharon, said that Keith “enjoyed most of all teaching and mentoring the many students he had in a 45 year career at UW-Madison and as an affiliate professor for several years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.” Additional remembrances are posted at Keith’s Facebook page. See also reflections from Thomas McCall and Harold Netland.

Within Philosophia Christi, the peer-reviewed journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Keith’s papers were published on issues of metaphysics and philosophical theology, an appraisal of Plantinga’s religious epistemology, Hasker’s “emergent dualism,” an assessment of new interpretations of Kant’s philosophy of religion, and critiques of pluralist accounts of religions and religious diversity.

For example, in 1999, and in the inaugural issue of Philosophia Christi, Keith wrote on “Ontological Arguments, Metaphysical Identity, and the Trinity.” In this article, Keith seeks “to explore some accounts of the necessary and sufficient conditions of metaphysical identity” and their implications for “Anselmian and non-Anselmian views of the Christianity trinity” in order to argue that “if one is a Christian trinitarian theist, then – given certain plausible claims – one should reject the view that God has logically necessary existence” (83). His paper, as in much of his work, toggled between issues of metaphysics and philosophy of religion.

In 2000 (vol. 2, no. 2), Keith participated in a book symposium on William Hasker’s The Emergent Self, which also included contributions from Nancey Murphy, Stewart Goetz, and a reply from Hasker. Keith’s article – “Mind-Fields and the Siren Song of Reason” –  attends to “powers attributed to matter by emergent dualism amount to this: when suitably configured, it generates a field of consciousness that is able to function teleologically and to exercise libertarian free will, and the field of consciousness in turn modifies and directs the functioning of the physical brain.” The article goes on to illuminate the ‘pretty severe tension’ “between the apparently mechanistic character of the physical basis of mind and the irreducibly teleological nature of the mind itself,” such that “the siren song of Cartesian dualism once again echoes in our ears” (183).

In the following year (vol. 3, no. 2), Philosophia Christi featured a book symposium on Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief, which included a paper from Keith – “Is Contemporary Naturalism Self-Referentially Irrational?” and also contributions from Douglas Geivett and Greg Jesson, Richard Fumerton, Paul Moser, and a reply from Plantinga. Keith’s paper offers a multi-point reflection on Plantinga’s argument, leaving the reader to ponder ‘how bad’ is the contemporary naturalist’s argument if Plantinga’s argument is correct?; it “depends not only on [Plantinga’s argument] being valid and having true premises, but on what exactly it does to a view to show that it supports the conclusions that one cannot rationally accept it.” Keith wonders, “Is this like a car having a little scratch on its fender, or like the motor’s parts having been fused by heat?” (356).

In 2007, Keith’s paper, “Who is the True Kant?,” was part of a book symposium on Kant and the New Philosophy of Religion (vol. 9, no. 1); the symposium was guest edited by Chris Firestone and with additional contributions from John Hare, Stephen Palmquist, Nathan Jacobs, Firestone and Jacobs, and Christophe Chalamet. Keith’s article renders a more cautious, as opposed to an optimistic view of the ‘new wave’ interpretations of Kant. “I take Kant, among other strengths, to be incapable of making uninteresting mistakes, which – if you think about it – is a very high compliment” (81).

Keith returned to issues of metaphysics and philosophical theology in a 2009 article (vol. 11, no. 2)  co-authored with Thomas McCall, titled, “On Trinitarian Subordinationism.” In that paper, McCall and Yandell analyze “the claim that the Son is necessarily subordinate to the Father” in order to argue “that there are no good reasons to hold such a view but that there are strong reasons to reject it” since such arguments “often rest upon fundamental misunderstandings of the theological issues at stake, their arguments from Scripture bring important—but flawed—metaphysical assumptions into the exegesis of biblical texts, and their own proposal is either hopelessly mired in contradiction or entails the direct denial of the full divinity of the Son” (339).

Additionally, in that same 2009 issue of the journal, Keith contributed to a symposium guest edited by Chad Meister and that focused on philosophical and theological issues of “Religious Diversity,” which also included papers from Paul Moser and Paul Knitter. Keith’s paper – “Religious Pluralism: Reductionist, Exclusivist, and Intolerant?” –  addresses the idea that religions differ in significant ways and also critiqued the idea that “Religious Pluralism is often taken to define the only unbiased, rational, and acceptable approach to the diversity of religions.” Keith goes on to say that “the Pluralist route is anything but unbiased or rational” and that rather than “being the only acceptable approach, it should be flatly rejected” (275).

Finally, in 2011 (vol. 13, no. 2), Yandell contributed to one more Philosophia Christi symposium, and this time centered on “God and Abstract Objects,” guest edited by Paul Gould, with additional contributions from Richard Davis and William Lane Craig. Keith’s article – “God and Propositions” – focuses the discussion this way: “Arguments that necessary existence is a perfection, and God has all perfections, assume that Necessitarian Theism is true, and hence consistent. Thus they do not provide reason to believe that Necessitarian Theism is true. Nonnecessitarian (‘plain’) theism is on a philosophical par with Necessitarian Theism and can accommodate abstract objects all the while avoiding theological and philosophical refutation” (275).

The above is but a microcosm of Keith Yandell’s faithful work. Keith’s mind, wit, prose, and rigor will surely be missed. Important areas of philosophy – e.g., issues in philosophy of religion – are better because of his leadership.

Learn more about Philosophia Christi, or subscribe today for as low as $25/yr (EPS membership includes a print subscription to the journal).


The Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) is pleased to introduce a unique and ongoing Philosophy of Theological Anthropology project! Your contributions, readership, exploration and support are most welcomed. For more on this theme and Christian contributions to philosophy, become a subscriberfor as low as $25 per year! – to Philosophia Christi, the peer-reviewed journal of the EPS [all EPS members receive Philosophia Christi as part of their membership].

Summary of Project 

Inaugurated in 2018, The Philosophy of Theological Anthropology is an EPS web project devoted to the foundations and meta-themes of theological anthropology. Contributors seek to highlight a variety of new topics, which are at present underexplored, and fresh philosophical perspectives of older topics. This is an opportunity for philosophers and constructive theologians to explore foundational and innovative themes within theological anthropology from a philosophical perspective.

Topics of interest in this web series include areas of epistemology, metaphysics, Christology, and traditioned anthropology. We are interested in approaches that reconceive in fresh new ways the conditions and foundations for thinking about theological anthropology. This amounts to critical interrogations of commonly held assumptions in the contemporary theological literature on anthropology. We invite contributions that are extensions of previously published works as well as unique speculative pieces. 

Areas of Web Project 

The present issue will contain topics on anthropology, philosophy of mind, imago Dei [broadly conceived], with the aim toward advancing the philosophical foundations and implications of a theistic anthropology.

Current Papers

Core Project Questions

  • How should we approach the anthropos and its telos?
  • Furthermore, how might we understand human ‘selfhood’ and ‘identity’?
  • What are the benefits and liabilities of an Analytic Theology approach?
  • Analytic Theology and Christological anthropology?
  • What are the benefits and liabilities of a more Phenomenological approach to the anthropos?
  • What is the distinctive contribution of philosophy of mind/personal ontology in contemporary theological anthropology?
  • What role does or should the sciences play in our theological constructions?
  • What are the benefits of a Christological method to anthropology?
  • Christological anthropology as an organizing motif?
  • Is a Christological method sufficient for theological anthropology?
  • From the Christian tradition, what is the Good News for the anthropos and how might that shape approaches to a study of what it means to be human?
  • What role do ecclesial, theological, or philosophical traditions play in our theological construction?
  • What substantive place does reason and experience have in understanding humans?
  • What are the different religious/denominational perspectives on the nature of human beings?
  • How might spiritual features and formation of a human being shape an understanding of the nature and purpose of a human being?
  • What are the distinctive ideas within a Christian anthropology and other religious anthropologies?
  • How might theologies and philosophies of the human person shape theologies and philosophies of ‘public life’?

Find this Project Interesting? See these other EPS Web Projects

Want to Contribute to the Philosophy of Theological Anthropology Project? 

Options for contributing: reflection essays, critical responses, book reviews, exploratory essays, dialectical pieces, methodological hybrids (biblical studies to philosophy), how to communicate to the public.

Length: Shorter (e.g., 1500-2000 words) and longer papers (e.g., 6,000 words) are permitted. You are welcome to work with the Project Editors on length issues.

Suggested topics: evolution and theological anthropology, imago Dei, the metaphysics of gender and sexuality, method, Christological anthropology, religious epistemology, and human ontology.

Main Project Categories:

  1. Denominational and Traditioned Theological Anthropology
  2. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
  3. Sociology, Ethnography, and Theological Anthropology
  4. Science, Design, and Anthropology
  5. Technology and Posthumanism
  6. Morality and Theological Anthropology
  7. Disciplines: Philosophy, Biblical Theology, Philosophical Theology, Systematic/Constructive Theology, Retrieval Theology, Social Science, Humanities (N.B. the aim of the investigation ought to impinge on philosophical-theological matters)

Submit a Proposal: Email a topic, thesis and description of the proposed paper (250 words max) to Project Editors Joshua Farris and Nathan Jacobs [see below]. They will help guide your proposal toward being a contribution of this web project.

Lead Project Editors & Coordinators:

Past Editorial Assistant: Dave Strobolakos.

Web Project Overseer: Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi.

Please consider becoming a regular annual or monthly financial partner with the Evangelical Philosophical Society in order to expand its reach, support its members, and be a credible presence of Christ-shaped philosophical interests in the academy and into the wider culture!

Summer 2012: EPS President’s Update

Hello, fellow EPS members.


Last week I made my hotel reservations for our annual EPS meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Yes, I’m looking forward to being back at my old stomping grounds during my Ph.D. studies in philosophy—Marquette University. But much more than this, I am eager to gather with you all at what is the highlight of my academic year—the EPS annual meeting and EPS apologetics conference. Truly, we have much to look forward to!


EPS annual meeting (November 14-16—Wednesday through Friday): Hearty thanks to the philosophy department at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, for putting together a marvelous program this year. We’ll have familiar presenters—Bill Craig, J.P. Moreland, Gary Habermas, Angus Menuge, Greg Ganssle, Scott Smith—and newer ones like Jonathan Loose, Paul Gould, and Matt Flannagan. We’re pleased to have as our plenary speaker the noted philosopher of religion Charles Taliaferro, professor of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  And please join us on Wednesday evening of our gathering for our EPS reception;  J.P. Moreland will offer a word of challenge and encouragement.


EPS apologetics conference (November 15-17—Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday morning): This will take place at Spring Creek Church in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. In addition to our excellent seminar speakers, the plenary lineup is stellar indeed: Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and Greg Koukl.


EPS session at AAR/SBL (November 18, Sunday—7:00 PM): This event will take place in Chicago at the Hilton Chicago (Continental Ballroom A). The panel will discuss the book, The Persistence of the Sacred in Modern Thought (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012). In this book, Chris L. Firestone, Nathan A. Jacobs, and thirteen other contributors examine the role of God in the thought of major European philosophers from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. This symposium addresses two questions that emerge out of this collection: What elements of the sacred persist in certain key figures of Modernity? And how might contemporary thinkers capitalize on these elements? The panelists include Chris L. Firestone (Trinity International University), Nathan Jacobs (John Brown University, Philip Clayton (Claremont School of Theology), and others. Stay tuned at the EPS website for a forthcoming author interview with Firestone and Jacobs.


Many other good things are happening within the EPS. This past week the EPS co-sponsored a conference in Pasadena, CA, entitled “Brave New World,” which deals with genetic engineering and human dignity. I was privileged to be the plenary speaker for our EPS Southeastern regional meeting this past spring—one of several regional EPS gatherings. Various EPS members continue to participate in apologetics conferences around the country, including a recent “On Guard” conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was attended by 1,000 people, including atheists and agnostics, two of whom made commitments to Christ. 


We rejoice that the EPS is not only a philosophical society, but a missional organization that seeks to equip the church and make an impact not only in North America, but across the globe. In addition to what we are presently doing, we hope to launch new initiatives in international outreach. So please consider supporting the work of the EPS through your financial gifts and your prayers.


One final note: this November will mark the end of my six-year term as EPS President. It has been a privilege to serve and work together with you as fellow philosophers and as laborers together in God’s kingdom.


God’s blessings to you all!

Paul Copan
EPS President

Philosophia Christi Summer 2012 Issue

The Summer 2012 issue (vol. 14, no. 1) leads with a unique and stimulating discussion between Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley about Plantinga’s “new argument against materialism.” In addition, other contributions include the following:

  • Nathan Jacobsasks, “Are Created Spirits Composed of Matter and Form?” and offers a defense of “Pneumatic Hylomorphism.”
  • Stewart Goetzcritiques N.T. Wright’s critique of dualism.
  • Esther Meekcontrasts Michael Polanyi and Alvin Plantinga’s contributions to epistemology.
  • Christian Miller and Cristian Mihutcontribute to discussions on forgiveness, resentment, and virtue ethics.
  • John Jefferson Davisaddresses the challenge of inter-religious epistemologies in the Christian-Buddhist discussion.
  • Charles Taliaferro discusses the significance of thought experiments in Derek Parfit’s work.
  • Kirk MacGregordiscusses the irrelevance of gratuitous evil.
…. and many more wonderful book reviews, important news about upcoming journal themes, and news about great fellowships and conferences!
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New Metaphysics Blog

Gabriele Contessa has started a group blog devoted to metaphysics.

Take a look at Matters of Substance. Contributors will include:

Elizabeth Barnes
Karen Bennett
Ross Cameron
Gabriele Contessa
Kit Fine
Katherine Hawley
John Heil
Thomas Hofweber
Jonathan Jacobs
Dan Korman
Dan López de Sa
E.J. Lowe
Ned Markosian
Kris McDonald
Jennifer McKitrick
Stephen Mumford
L. A. Paul
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra
Jonathan Schaffer
Robbie Williams
Jessica Wilson
Dean Zimmerman