Returning to Reality: Christian Platonism for our Times

By Paul Tyson

An metaphysical exercise attacking the assumptions underlying society and seeing Christian Platonism as central in the Christian understanding of the world.

ISBN: 9780718893859


Could it be that we have lost touch with some basic human realities in our day of high-tech efficiency, frenetic competition, and ceaseless consumption? Have we turned from the moral, the spiritual, and even the physical realities that make our lives meaningful? These are metaphysical questions – questions about the nature of reality – but they are not abstract questions. They are very down-to-earth questions that concern power and the collective frameworks of belief and action governing our daily lives.

This book is an introduction to the history, theory, and application of Christian metaphysics. Yet it is not just an introduction; it is also a passionately argued call for a profound change in the contemporary Christian mind. Paul Tyson argues that as Western culture’s Christian Platonist understanding of reality was replaced by modern pragmatic realism, we turned not just from one outlook on reality to another, but away from reality itself. This book seeks to show that if we can recover this ancient Christian outlook on reality, reframed for our day, then we will be able to recover a way of life that is in harmony with human and divine truth.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 228

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Paul Tyson is an Honorary Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham. He is author of Faith’s Knowledge (2013).




Part I: Re-discovering a Christian Understanding of Reality
1. Two Views of Reality
2. The Christian Platonism of Lewis and Tolkien

Part II: Christian Platonism and the History of Western Ideas
3. The Mythos of Modernity
4. Platonist Ideas in the New Testament
5. How Christian is Christian Platonism?
6. So What Went Wrong?
7. Is Modern Truth, without Wisdom, Believable?

Part III: Applied Christian Metaphysics
8. Returning to Reality

Name Index


Endorsements and Reviews

This is a passionately written book, calling for nothing less than a ‘life-world rebellion’. Those gripped by Tyson’s uncovering of the mythos of modernity find here a convincing alternative to the amoral instrumentalism that characterises much of contemporary society.
Hans Boersma, J.I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver

Paul Tyson has written an impressive essay on Christian metaphysics. He is aware of the widespread charges against Platonism, metaphysics, and Christianity but he addresses them with a balanced combination of sound common sense, theological acumen, and philosophical finesse. His thoughtful voice is both accessible and penetrating and the human wisdom of the author shines through. Warmly recommended.
William Desmond, Professor of Philosophy, Katholieke Universteit Leuven, Belgium, and David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University, Pennsylvania

Tyson’s impassioned call for a reinvigoration of Christian Platonism is thought provoking and a joy to read. Above all Returning to Reality succeeds as a masterful statement of the problem … of a hollowed out Christianity divorced from its metaphysical roots in late modernity. … There is much to appreciate in Tyson’s book.
Derek Michaud, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 24, Issue 3