Eternal Living (Dallas Willard et al)

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RamistThomist

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Moon, Gary. ed. Eternal Living: Reflections on Dallas Willard.

This book is a combination of anecdotes on Dallas by his students and friends and analyses of key aspects of his thought.

When Jane Willard first met Dallas in the college library, she noticed he never wore socks. She thought he was some kind of rebellious hippie. She later found out that he couldn’t afford socks.

Richard Foster: Dallas and I used to team-teach Sunday School. When I taught, people might come. When Dallas taught, they brought their tape recorders.

Every contributor notes how Dallas was always in the presence of God. He was never rushed. Never startled. He moves and speaks with a calm power. Dallas not only imitated what Jesus taught, but the Hebraic way he taught (Cf. Jane Willard’s chapter).

Husserl and Knowledge

Greg Jesson: For Dallas knowledge was the most practical thing, as it enabled you to grasp reality. The problem with modern philosophers (Kant, Hume, etc) is they believed our awareness is always of some mental state, such as an idea or perception. They couldn’t explain how it relates to the mind-independent world.

If I am thinking of the Pythagorean theorem, then I am thinking of the same mind-independent fact that he thought of 2500 years ago. This means that the mind has the ability to grasp things that are not part of itself. For Husserl, a mental state isn’t something that just floats about in our mind. It is necessarily vectorial. It is always of something other than itself. This pointing feature is called intentionality.

Moreland and Dallas

Moreland gives a brief summary of Dallas’s epistemology and the various ways it means “to know.” There is knowledge-by-acquaintance, propositional knowledge, and know-how. Further, knowledge doesn’t require certainty. Only immutable facts are certain, and there aren’t many of those. In Ephesians 5:5 Paul says to “know with certainty,” which would be redundant if all knowledge were certain. Further, my degree of knowledge can grow or weaken over time.

Five Tips for a Teacher

By Gary Black Jr.

Focus on your purpose.

Cultivate patience.

Accept solitude and sustenance from God.

Stay engaged with others.

Beware of intellectual pride.
 
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