Book 2 was the one I struggled to find for a long time. It seemed like it was out of print and people were asking for extraordinary prices on amazon and suddenly there seemed to be an influx of copies.
I have enjoyed the books a great deal though I think I have become less enamoured with them over time. Although I will certainly buy the fourth volume when (if) it comes out.
I have read books 1 and 2. Haven’t had a chance for 3 yet, though I imagine it will be interesting. Book one was excellent. If the Compassion Theory is not how God works, it is at least one important component of it. I wasn’t very convinced with his view of KFD in book 2.
#3 I appreciated his reading of KFD if only because it provide a hermeneutical break with the traditional approach to this text. I agree with Ostler, at the very least, that it is not possible to ground some of the larger theological claims of Mormonism onto the KFD.
Read and enjoyed all three. Struggled through physics-related portions, but think I got the gist. (What does it really mean to get he “gist” of something like that?!) These are really fun books, though.
I have read all 3 and really grasped 75% of it. Great stuff that builds my faith. I have also enjoyed the archives of Blake discussing his books on this site. Well done Thang!
Comment by Derek Christian — March 31, 2011 @ 12:10 pm
For me the first book in the series had a huge impact. It came at a pivotal moment in my own intellectual life and became more important to me even than the content of the book because it caused me to shift in my approach to philosophical issues in general. The other two had little chance of making a similar impression, but I also prefer the first one because it is heavier on philosophy. The second two are good too though.
I really enjoyed all of these books and have learned a lot from them. They make a great spring board for those who want to do further reading into Mormon Studies or theology in general. Book 1 was kind of my first introduction to Christian theology. Book 2 took forever to get but it looks like all three are available now. Hope to see a fourth book.
I have only read the first volume. The solid arguments against immaculate foreknowledge had the most influence on me, as did the contrast between typical 19th and 20th century approaches to Mormon theology of divine attributes. I was greatly impressed to find this on the shelves of Deseret Book.
I was in a married student ward with Blake Ostler many years ago and he taught Gospel Doctrine. That was very interesting. I’ve read some of his writings here and there over the years but have not been able to commit myself to read a whole book as, while I’m a fairly smart guy, I’m not really smart enough, or just too lazy, to be an intellectual.
I’ve purchased and read most of books 2 and 3. I haven’t read either of them straight through, but I’ve read certain chapters that appeal to me at different times. It is a great read and fills a hole in LDS literature.
Blair: you and I are very different indeed. I’d say they are important, but fun? Harry Potter is fun.
Haha, well Matt, I guess I should be more specific, I guess I have multiple types of fun. I mean fun in terms of enjoyable, worth my time, something I would do again, stimulating, challenging, sometimes enlightening and sometimes maddening.
I am surprised you note Ostler as a popular religion thinker like Madsen. I find Ostler (and I say this as someone who really likes his stuff) to be much more deep and less accessible than Madsen, and thus destined for a much more limited audience. I think Madsen works better for most LDS because he doesn’t go that far out on a limb, and keeps things at a devotional level, rather than a logical argument level.
I like both a lot, I just think thy are different.