Books

Forthcoming Titles

  • The God We Can’t Believe In, co-authored with Claudia Pearce (under consideration).
  • The Immanence of the Sacred: Tales of Spiritual Return, in honor of the Life and Journey of Marcus Borg, co-edited with Andrew Davis (under consideration).
  • The Space Between the Atoms (in preparation)
  • This Sacred Earth: Faith and the Future of the Planet (in preparation)

Published Books

Confronting the Predicament of Belief: The Quest for God in Radical Uncertainty (Nashville: Crowdsource, 2014)

Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe (Claremont: Process Century Press, 2014; Chinese translation 2015)

The Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy, Faith (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011)

Religion and Science: The Basics (London: Routledge, 2011)

Transforming Christian Theology: For Church and Society Philip Clayton (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 2009) Christian language is alive and well in the churches, and sometimes even outside them as well. But serious reflection about what Christian language means in our world today is in deep trouble. This book, written for non-specialists, makes a radical call to pastors and laypeople to get involved and transform theology as we know it today. It offers concrete advice to readers on how to explore and voice their own Christian beliefs in such a way that they can have a transforming impact on both church and society. For further details on the Transforming Theology project, see TransformingTheology.org

In Quest of Freedom: The Emergence of Spirit in the Natural World Philip Clayton (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht Oct. 2009)In this new work, Clayton argues that contemporary neuroscience and theories of biological evolution make the problem of freedom profoundly more difficult than many have acknowledged. Yet recent theories of emergent complexity also offer new options for reconceiving freedom, options that were once excluded by reductionist treatments of evolution. The book presents a theory of human agency that is consistent both with the best of biological science and with many of our intuitions about ourselves as subjective moral agents in the world. It also argues that religion and theology play an important role in assessing the claim that humans sometimes act freely in the natural world.

Adventures in the Spirit: God, World, Divine Action Philip Clayton and Zachary Simpson (ed) (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 2008)Many theologians have been reconceiving the God-world relation, challenging the separation that underlay too much of Patristic and Scholastic theology. These panentheists affirm a radical indwelling of God within the world and the world within God. During the same period scientists have begun to abandon the reductionist ideology that characterized much of the modern period. Reductionism is being replaced by a new emphasis on emergence: the study of how new structures and entities arise throughout the evolutionary process and how each requires its own form of explanation.Surprisingly few theologians have recognized the paradigm shift represented by the convergence of these two important schools of thought. Clayton’s pioneering work develops new models of God and the God-world relation in light of panentheism and emergent complexity and models an open-minded Christian theology that still respects tradition.

Die Frage nach der Freiheit: Biologie, Kultur und die Emergenz des Geistes Philip Clayton (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht Nov. 2007)In this new work, Clayton argues that contemporary neuroscience and theories of biological evolution make the problem of freedom profoundly more difficult than many have acknowledged. Yet recent theories of emergent complexity also offer new options for reconceiving freedom, options that were once excluded by reductionist treatments of evolution. The book presents a theory of human agency that is consistent both with the best of biological science and with many of our intuitions about ourselves as subjective moral agents in the world. It also argues that religion and theology play an important role in assessing the claim that humans sometimes act freely in the natural world.

Practicing Science, Living Faith: Interviews with Twelve Leading Scientists Philip Clayton and Jim Schaal, editors. (New York: Columbia University Press, Jan. 2007)Twelve scientists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines demonstrate that it is indeed possible for profound intellectuals to integrate the life of science with the life of faith. In honest and inspiring interviews, they describe the difficult though rewarding process of reconciling their faith with their science and reveal the ways in which the two spheres can not only coexist but also mutually enhance each other.

Das Gottesproblem, vol. 2: Moderne Lösungsversuche, under contract with Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag. (English title: From Hegel to Whitehead: Systematic Responses to the Modern Problem of God)

oxford handbook The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science Philip Clayton, editor (Oxford University Press, Nov. 2006)The field of ‘religion and science’ is exploding in popularity among academics as well as the general reading public. Spawning an increasing number of conferences and courses, this field has shown an unprecedented rate of growth in recent years. Here for the first time is a single-volume introduction to the debate, written by the leading experts. Making no pretence to encyclopaedic neutrality, each chapter defends a major intellectual position – at the heart of the book is a series of ‘pro’ and ‘con’ papers, covering each of the current ‘hot topics’ (such as evolution versus creation, naturalism versus the supernatural). In addition to treatments of questions of methodology and implications for life and practice, the Handbook includes sections devoted to the major scientific disciplines, the major world religions, and the main sub-disciplines in this exciting and ever-expanding field of study.

reemergence book cover The Re-Emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion Philip Clayton and Paul Davies. (Oxford University Press, July 2006)This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.

Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness Philip Clayton (Oxford University Press, Nov. 2004)This volume considers the evidence for the emergence of new causal entities in the natural world. Clayton argues that recent developments in science amount to a replacement of the reductionist paradigm by a new paradigm of emergence. After making the case in the biological sciences, Clayton develops an emergentist theory of mind consistent with the biological conclusions. In a final chapter he speculates on the metaphysics of emergence and its compatibility with theistic belief.

Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspectives Philip Clayton and Jeffrey Schloss, editors. (Eerdman’s 2004)It’s frequently argued that evolutionary psychology and the ethics that stem from contemporary biology are diametrically opposed to those of the biblical traditions. Can altruism – the command to love one’s enemies – ever be consistent the biological perspective? The authors of this volume offer a variety of competing responses, ranging from the rejection of religious truth claims to suspicion about contemporary biology to new attempts to integrate the two.

Science and Beyond: Cosmology, Consciousness, and Technology in the Indic Traditions Philip Clayton, et al., editors. (Bangalore, India: NIAS Publications, 2004)This joint collaboration between the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore and the Science and the Spiritual Quest program stems from a major international conference in Bangalore in January 2003. The book brings some of India’s leading scientists, political leaders, philosophers, and religious scholars into dialogue with Western scientists and philosophers, focusing on the themes of cosmology, consciousness, and technology.

In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God’s Presence in a Scientific World Philip Clayton and Arthur Peacocke, editors. (Eerdman’s, 2004)In this major new collection, scientists, philosophers, and theologians explore the prospects for panentheism, the view that the world is within the divine, although God is also more than the world. A variety of definitions and defenses of panentheism are presented, offering the reader a rich selection of positions to compare and evaluate. In a concluding essay, Clayton considers the prospects for panentheism as a form of theology that can be fully integrated with the practice and theories of science.

Quantum Mechanics, Vol. 5 of Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action Philip Clayton, et al., editors. (Vatican City: Vatican Observatory, and Berkeley: Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, 2002)This fifth and final volume of the groundbreaking Vatican/CTNS series on divine action presents the core principles of contemporary quantum physics (including quantum chaos) and evaluates its impact on theistic belief. The volume combines articles from quantum physicists, philosophers, and theologians, tracing the various ways that theology can respond to and incorporate insights from quantum physics.

Science and the Spiritual Quest: New Essays by Leading Scientists Philip Clayton, et al., editors. (London and New York: Routledge, 2002)This collection of interviews and essays from the Science and the Spiritual Quest program shows leading scientists struggling with the challenges of integrating faith and scientific practice.

The Problem of God in Modern Thought Philip Clayton (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman’s, 2000)The notion of an infinitely perfect being was a core presupposition of the Scholastic and late medieval period. How did God become a problem in modern thought? Clayton here offers a one-volume history of philosophical theology from the dawn of the modern period through most of German Idealism. In particular, he shows how early modern approaches from Descartes to Leibnitz were dominated by a medieval metaphysics of perfection that was unable to survive the growth of modern science and the challenges raised by Kant. The Spinozistic tradition of the infinite God, by contrast, offers a viable response to these challenges. The book culminates with the fusion of Spinoza and German Idealism in the panentheism of Friedrich Schelling’s Essay on Freedom.

God and Contemporary Science Philip Clayton (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman’s, 1998)In this Templeton Award-winning presentation, Clayton defends the continuing viability of theistic belief in an age of science. Designed as an introduction to the field of religion and science, this book covers many of the major topics and thinkers in the contemporary discussion. It defends in particular a panentheistic doctrine of God as the theological position that best reconciles divine action and contemporary science. Panentheism, on Clayton’s view, is the doctrine that the world exists within the divine, although God is also more than the world.

Explanation from Physics to Theology: An Essay in Rationality and Religion Philip Clayton (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989) Clayton evaluates the rationality of religious beliefs by considering their unique status as explanations. After analyzing the criteria for good explanations in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and philosophy, Clayton shows how religious explanations are similar and different. Drawing on the methodology of research programs developed by Imre Lakatos, he outlines a theological methodology that defends the place of theology among the academic disciplines in the contemporary university.

The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg: Twelve American Critiques, with an Autobiographical Essay and Response Philip Clayton, editor. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1988)Pannenberg’s Festschrift, which appeared at about the same time as his German Festschrift, evaluates his theology in the light of the concerns and interests of American theologians. The volume offers a cross-section of the responses that American scholars have made to Pannenberg’s theology. Catholic and protestant, evangelical and liberal, a wide variety of leading theological voices is represented. With contributions from John Cobb, Lewis Ford, and David Polk, process theology is particularly well represented. The book opens with a brief autobiographical sketch by Pannenberg and closes with an in-depth response to his American critics.