Looking at Miracles Again: A Great New Book on David Hume

Michael J. Kruger

Posted on

October 7, 2019

In my most recent post, “Are Miracles Improbable? Rethinking What Makes Something ‘Likely’ to Happen,” I analyzed (and critiqued) the main arguments against miracles.  And, like any discussion of miracles, I felt required to mention the work of Scottish philosopher David Hume.

I can still remember walking by David Hume’s statue almost every day when I was studying at the University of Edinburgh years ago (see main photo).  He always seemed to stare at me as I passed by.  I could hear his hypothetical question in my head, “Why do you believe in miracles if you’ve never seen one?”

For those who want to dive deeper into Hume (and the issue of miracles), there’s a great forthcoming book on David Hume, by RTS Charlotte’s own James Anderson, the Carl W. McMurray Professor of Theology and Philosophy.

Aptly titled, David Hume, this new volume is part of P&R’s Great Thinkers series which includes other volumes on figures like Thomas Aquinas, Karl Marx, and Jacques Derrida.

Knowing Anderson’s other philosophical works, you will find a clear, compelling volume that is both accessible to the beginner, but deep enough for the seasoned philosopher. I regularly marvel at how James can pack so much depth into such concise volumes.

For other examples, see Anderson’s What’s Your Worldview? and also Why Believe Christianity?

Given Hume’s influence, this will make a wonderful introduction to the basics of how apologetics is done from a Reformed perspective.

Here’s the description:

Through his pursuit of a naturalistic grounding for morality and his forceful critique of supernaturalism, Scottish philosopher David Hume significantly undermined confidence in orthodox Christianity.

Professor, minister, and philosopher James Anderson summarizes the major points of Hume’s thought and offers a critical assessment from a distinctively Reformed perspective. He shows that Hume’s arguments, far from refuting the Christian worldview, indirectly support that worldview by exposing the self-defeating implications of naturalism. Deepen your understanding of this immensely influential thinker, and you will be better able to engage with today’s secular challenges to faith.

And some great endorsements:

“An uncommonly successful introduction, explanation, and assessment of the work of one of the most influential authors of the last three hundred years. Anderson’s account of Hume’s project, method, and principal conclusions is clear, accessible, and philosophically perceptive. In a remarkably short space, Anderson gives a very strong overview of Hume that makes Hume’s importance easy to understand. His assessment of the success of Hume’s overall project and individual assertions is rich, biblically serious, consistently Reformed, and likely to edify readers regardless of their previous exposure to Hume’s works.” —Bill Davis, Professor of Philosophy, Covenant College; former member, Hume Society

“The skepticism of David Hume has frightened many who have sought to follow Christ. But James Anderson’s book shows that it is the followers of Hume who should be frightened. Anderson presents an account of Hume that is accurate and comprehensive, yet concise. It is easy to follow. And it shows clearly where Hume went wrong, and how his errors illumine the biblical alternative. Hume fell into skepticism because he failed to think God’s thoughts after him.” —John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

“James Anderson’s book on David Hume is a masterly summary and critique of one of the most important and influential philosophers in modern Western history. With clarity and insight, Anderson presents the overall structure of Hume’s philosophical work, as well as devastating criticisms of Hume’s epistemological project. Once read and grasped, this book will provide the context and proper, Christian critique for anyone wanting to pursue further study in Hume, or in Western thought since Hume. I am glad to have Anderson’s book in my library.” —K. Scott Oliphint, Dean of Faculty, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary

Anderson’s volume is due out Dec 2, 2019.  For more details, see here.


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