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In the fall of 1994, Hendrik-Jan van Leusen, an acquisitions editor from Kluwer Academic Publishers, visited me in my home to discuss a proposal for a handbook in the philosophy of religion. He reported that he had been talking about this with philosophers of religion at several universities and that the response to the idea had been quite favorable. I suggested that given the dif ferent approaches to the philosophy of religion, it might be good for him to meet with philosophers representing different philosophical traditions at an up-coming meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association. Jude Dougherty, Joseph Kockelmans, Robert Neville, William Rowe and Merold Westphal kindly agreed to attend that meeting. They made many substantial and helpful suggestions and a summary of the discussions was sent to van Leusen. Some months later, he wrote to inquire whether I might consider editing the series and writing the first volume which was to provide a historical map of twentieth century western philosophy of religion. Although I could imagine myself editing the series I was initially reluctant to under take the task of writing a volume that would take me across the lines of many different philosophical traditions. By coincidence I had been asked some months earlier to contribute an essay on the philosophy of religion for a conference being held at the Catholic University of America on the general topic, "One Hundred Years of Philosophy.