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Analytic Philosophy and Christian Theology


Correspondence address: Jason McMartin, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639. E-mail:


In the 20th century, a particularly acrimonious relationship took place between analytic philosophy on the one side and Christian theology on the other. Analytic philosophy has been the dominant mode of philosophical engagement in the English-speaking world. After a long period of hostility or apathy toward religion, it has surged back to the investigation of religious, theological, ethical, and metaphysical questions. The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed the explosion of Christian analytic philosophical theology and its exploration of standard doctrines of the Christian faith. I survey the history and nature of analytic philosophy and explore arguments from Christian theology against analytic philosophy to unearth sources of the division between the two. Several positive appropriations of analytic thought are discussed, including analytic philosophy of religion and philosophical theology, postliberalism, process theology, speech–act theory, and proper functionalism. Finally, I briefly propose a mode of future engagement between the two disciplines and will consider the program of analytic theology.