Studies in Comparative Religion
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Philip Sherrard
Philip Sherrard was an English author and scholar educated at Cambridge. Among the works for which he is best known is his collaboration in the complete translation of the Philokalia. The combination of his interests in metaphysics, theology, art and aesthetics led to his participation in the review Temenos, of which he was one of the founders in 1980. He was also recognized as a leading voice in situating modern attitudes and behaviors regarding the environment within a Christian framework. He passed away in 1995.


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Type TitleAuthor/
Reviewed Author*
Author 2/
Art and OriginalitySherrard, Philip Vol. 14, No. 3 and 4. ( Summer-Autumn, 1980) Comparative Religion
To be, or not to beSherrard, Philip Vol. 11, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1977) Christianity
Modern Science and the Dehumanization of ManSherrard, Philip Vol. 10, No. 2. ( Spring, 1976) Christianity
Between the early and late writings of Plato there emerges a contradiction of views regarding the relationship between the divine and the material, or "sensible" world. Plato's earlier writings suggest that the sensible world is inherently evil, man must transcend his natural senses and instincts in order to achieve knowledge of God. However, passages from the Corpus Hermeticum and the Timaeus suggest an view of the world based on an intermingling between the material and the divine, for which the Soul serves as an intermediary. Georgios Gemistos Plethon recognized a significant influence of the former tendency on Christian doctrine, and sought to challenge this condemnation of the sensible world. This criticism was repeated by several prominent philosophers throughout the following centuries, most notably by Friedrich Nietzsche.
The Symbolical Career of Georgios Gemistos PlethonSherrard, Philip Vol. 8, No. 2. ( Spring, 1974) Christianity
Between Platonic philosophy and Christian theology there exists a contrast regarding the role of logic in understanding divine Reality. According to Platonist thought, there is nothing within the structure of divine Reality which does not conform to logical analysis. This led the Platonists to dismiss such doctrines as the Trinity as absurd. Christian theology, while not denying the validity and significance of logic, maintain that metaphysicial Reality is beyond the reach of logic, and as such can only be express in paradoxical terms.
Logic and the Absolute: Platonic and Christian ViewsSherrard, Philip Vol. 7, No. 2. ( Spring, 1973) Comparative Religion
Author Philip Sherrard distinguishes between "sexual love" as it is commonly understood and the "sacramental form of sexual love [which] is not simply a human emotion or impulse or even a created cosmic or elemental force. Still less is it to be identified simply with a bodily or a somato-psychic energy. It is, in its origins, a spiritual energy. It is rooted in divine life itself and its principle, so to say, is placed by God in man and woman in their creation. Hence, to be united in this love is to find oneself returned to oneself, to one's full being and primal condition." Using mostly Christian sources, he shows that the "highest spiritual potentialities" can be unlocked through the sacramentalization of this most physical and natural of acts.
The Sexual Relationship in Christian ThoughtSherrard, Philip Vol. 5, No. 3. ( Summer, 1971) Christianity
In this article Philip Sherrard explains the theories and writing of Teilhard De Chardin as they apply to the split of science and faith in modern thought and the ways in which Chardin seeks to reconcile this separation. Chardin’s evolutionary theory is fueled by the power of “becoming” and “self creation”. It contains both physical and conscious progression in a personal and collective context. To Chardin, the individual is not responsible for the highest realization of self, but instead the highest form of the universe. In order to reconcile these differences of the personal and the collective, Chardin applies a faith-oriented theory in which he integrates the role of the Omega (or the Christ) in which the personal and the collective potentials are centered on each other and therefore both are fulfilled. Besides the inconsistencies this theory demonstrates in regard to faith, Sherrard also explores the way that it proves science as an incomplete mode of philosophy.
Teilhard De Chardin and the Christian VisionSherrard, Philip Vol. 4, No. 3. ( Summer, 1970) Christianity
Philip Sherrard responds to a letter written by Mr. Bolton regarding Sherrard’s article Man and the presence of evil in Christian and Platonic Doctrine. “It is so easy to appeal to "complete principles" of "true metaphysics" [Ed: as Bolton does in his letter rebutting Sherrard’s article] while forgetting that this appeal begs an endless number of questions… I cannot answer Mr. Bolton's letter without first going into the whole question of the nature and authority of the principles of the doctrine he asserts—obviously something that cannot be done in a letter.”
Correspondence on Man and the Presence of Evil in Christian and Platonic DoctrineSherrard, Philip Vol. 3, No. 2. ( Spring, 1969) Christianity
Philip Sherrard examines the religious convictions of psychologist C.G Jung. According to Sherrard, Jung “denied the objective existence of those metaphysical or meta-psychical realities which theological statements presuppose”, yet his argument that there is no truth but purely subjective truth is itself one of the “categorical statements lacking all so-called empirical basis” that he criticizes religions for. Thus, Sherrad concludes, Jung’s statements point to a religious viewpoint of his very own. Jung felt that “God Himself had disavowed theology and the Church founded upon it,” and Sherrard postulates that Jung saw himself as a religious leader for the new, scientific, modern era.
An Introduction to the Religious Thought of C. G. JungSherrard, Philip Vol. 3, No. 1. ( Winter, 1969) Misc
Book Review
Philip Sherrard reviews Kathleen Raine’s book Defending Ancient Spring. “The book is a collection of essays either on poets or on topics directly related to poetry—on myth and symbol, and the use of the beautiful.” Raine’s book is written in defense of the traditional springs and the poets who have found them. “From this point of view, all art—all true art—is always concerned with the expression of themes connected with the nature of the soul and what is beyond the soul…” Raines discusses both historical examples while also touching on the dilemma of modern poets who seek to speak on traditional themes in a non-traditional world.
Defending Ancient SpringsRaine, Kathleen *Sherrard, Philip Vol. 2, No. 3. ( Summer, 1968) Comparative Religion
Phillip Sherrard explains the differences and similarities in the Platonic and Christian views of evil. According to Plato, he says, man is created through necessity and his contact with evil is a natural part of creation as evil is immanent in matter. Christian doctrine, however, maintains that man is normally good and his fall proceeds from his freedom to choose, that evil is neither normal nor natural and that man’s salvation is the restoration to the normal state. In the light of these two doctrines of necessity versus freedom, the author examines their concepts of God’s responsibility for evil, His relationship with the soul and the role of time.
Man and the Presence of Evil in Christian and Platonic Doctrine (part II)Sherrard, Philip Vol. 2, No. 2. ( Spring, 1968) Christianity
Sherrard examines the apparently contradictory theories of emanation and the Christian theory of creation. He discusses these dichotomous theories in the context of their allowance for evil to occur due to the fact that while God’s nature is perfect what he creates is not necessarily a part of His perfect nature. However, Sherrard’s argument maintains that, in both Platonic and Christian logic, the actual presence of evil is not necessarily a consequence of creation but rather creates only the possibility, which, he argues, is an entirely different matter.
Man and the Presence of Evil in Christian and Platonic DoctrineSherrard, Philip Vol. 2, No. 1. ( Winter, 1968) Christianity
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