Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 92

REVIEW OF MORMON CHRISTIANITY - Sherlock Christian era. The greatest scholars of the Gospel of John in the last century, Protestant C. H. Dodd and Catholic Father Raymond Brown S. S., have both shown how closely these verses about the eternal Logos resemble the Neoplatonism of Philo of Alexandria, who was writing about two generations earlier than John. There is no evidence that St. John ever read Philo. But the worldview found in Philo was so much a common currency in the first century that failing to employ it would be similar to a modern biologist writing about inheritance without mentioning DNA. The patristic church did not add Neoplatonism to Scripture. They found Neoplatonism in Scripture. Incidentally, Orson Pratt, the Mormon thinker he so admires in this book, was in the 1850s a Neoplatonist, though he did not know it. Finally, we must call attention to Webb’s discussion of the advantages of Mormon materialism. He appears to hold that some version of materialism is now dominant in science and philosophy. Moreover, he holds that the Mormon version of materialism has advantages not found in hard materialism or in what he conceives of as dualism. The dominance claims are highly suspect. The work of Mario Beauregard on nuns in prayer, Sara Lazar and Andrew Newberg on Zen meditators, and Robert Schneider and colleagues on transcendental meditation has shown that a materialist understanding of the brain is not all that its scientific promoters claim it to be. In philosophy, the substantial collection of papers in Robert Koons and George Bealer’s The Waning of Materialism2 have shown that materialism is under serious attack. Furthermore, work by Rick Machuga and, especially, David Oderberg has shown that Aristotelian hylomorphism has a strong case to be made in its favor. Webb seems to claim that since current physics cannot definitively state what matter is and is not, the Mormon concept of “spiritual matter” or “refined matter” is as viable an option as anything else. This move makes the same stipulative error as before. Since we don’t know for certain what matter is, it can be whatever I stipulate it to be. To be blunt, I regard this sort of stipulation as nonsense. 2. Robert Koons and George Bealer, The Waning of Materialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). 91