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Gilson's Christian Philosophy: A Change in “Tone”



Although Étienne Gilson did not change his position on Christian philosophy as defined in his 1931 Gifford Lectures, interesting modifications occur in his later formulations. Whereas Gilson's earlier formulations emphasized philosophy searching within the faith for what can become rational, his later formulations during the 1960s placed more emphasis on its Christian aspect, i.e., faith guiding reason. In the 1960s, Gilson emphasized faith and the Church as the guardians of Christian philosophy, expressed a relative indifference to the validity of rational proofs for the existence of God, and empathized with those accepting questionable philosophical approaches to understand the faith. Post-modernism with its rejection of a “pure” or “scientific” methodology in philosophy serves as an appropriate context in which to situate Gilson's later formulation of Christian philosophy.