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Desperately Wicked


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"With great literary agility Patrick Downey masterfully explicates the meaning of the prophet's words: 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?' (Jer 17:9). Beginning with Plato's ring of Gyges and incorporating threads as diverse as Plato and Aristotle's political philosophy, the Greek tragedies of Sophocles and Aeschylus, and the entire biblical narrative, Downey weaves an intricate tapestry exposing the intractable conflict between our desires to have, to be seen and to know, causing us to cry out with the apostle Paul, 'Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?' Downey brilliantly argues that it is only through the miracle of the incarnation, death and resurrection of the God-man, Jesus, that we can be rescued from our desperately wicked heart. I challenge you to read this book and not be profoundly changed by it."--Mark W. Foreman, associate professor of philosophy and religion, Liberty University "A gifted teacher, widely read in ancient and modern texts, Patrick Downey's book Desperately Wicked will open the minds and hearts of teachers and students to the central questions in the conversation between Jerusalem and Athens, questions that enable us not only to reclaim our intellectual heritage but also to ponder who we are and how we ought to live."--Thomas Hibbs, dean of the Honors College, Baylor University "It is not easy to characterize this stunning and mesmerizing work. Is it a lens into the darkness of Greek tragedy? A window into the daybreak of classical philosophy? A glimpse into the light of sacred Scripture? It is all of the above, but more than anything else it is a performative path to self-knowledge. Desperately Wicked is an ideal introduction for students to the power of philosophy and theology as well as an exhilarating refresher for seasoned scholars."--Michael P. Foley, associate professor of patristics, Great Texts Program, Baylor University "Without hesitation I recommend Desperately Wicked. If you want to know yourself and relate to others better, you need to read this book."--Timothy Lim Teck Ngern, The Pneuma Review, Spring 2011 "Downey demonstrates a firm grasp of Western philosophical writings and draws from them a vivid depiction of the condition of the human heart. In turning to the Scriptures, he carefully and precisely correlates the depiction of the human heart found in it to that found in the philosophical writings. The end result is a work that provides a comprehensive view of the human heart drawn from the complimentary disciplines of philosophy and theology with the solution to the moral quandary being presented by the latter."--Kevin Staley, Christian Apologetics Journal, Fall 2009 "An engaging first introduction to Girard's interpretation of Christ's saving work, and a thought-provoking devotional work for the philosophically-minded Christian. An interesting test case for students who are learning to develop integrated theological and philosophical points of view."--Sonia Waters, Koinonia "More than intellectually stimulating; it dealt with my heart in a very needful manner. It has been such a tremendous challenge and help to me."--TheoSource (, May 5, 2009 "This is a fine piece of work, one that makes a unique contribution to Christian philosophical reflection. Professor Downey offers an account of the Christian view of life and meaning that has practical implications for politics and what it means to be a follower of Christ in a fallen world. It is one of the best articulations of Christian political philosophy that I have read in quite some time."--Francis J. Beckwith, associate professor of philosophy & church-state studies, Baylor University

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