Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks

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9780521475396: Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks

Wolterstorff reflects on Judaic, Christian, and Islamic texts and traditions that claim God speaks, from contemporary speech-action theory. His innovative theory of interpretation opposes the near-consensus of Ricoeur and Derrida. He concludes some of us are entitled to believe that God has spoken.

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'Long regarded in the United States as a leading philosopher of religion, Nicholas Wolterstorff now has a growing reputation world-wide. He is cross-disciplinary in his approach, drawing freely from literary and critical theory, and is sensitive to the need to place religious claims in a larger context. Divine discourse addresses the traditional theme of divine revelation in a disarmingly direct way, by reflecting philosophically on the meaning of recurring biblical phrases, such as 'Thus sayeth the Lord' and of liturgical utterances, such as 'This is the word of the Lord'. This book will be a major contribution to a philosophical (and religious) understanding of what it means for God to speak.' John Clayton, Professor of Religious Studies, Lancaster University 'Derived from his Wilde Lectures delivered at Oxford in 1993, Wolterstorff's Divine discourse makes an important contribution to contemporary research at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. Wolterstorff approaches biblical texts by focusing on the notion of divine speech, rather than by examining the idea of revelation, as is commonly done. The result is an original and creative account of God's communication with human beings, which provides a new way of thinking about biblical interpretation and about the interpretation of texts in general. This book is mandatory reading for anyone interested in these topics.' Eleonore Stump, Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy, St. Louis University '... a very interesting and important book and one for which the philosophical community should be grateful.' Richard Swinburne, Philosophy ' ... an impressive work, carefully argued and well informed, not only philosophically but also theologically and more widely.' Journal of Religious Studies

From the Publisher:

Prominent in the canonical texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is the claim that God speaks. Nicholas Wolterstorff argues that contemporary speech-action theory, when appropriately expanded, offers us a fascinating way of interpreting this claim and showing its intelligibility. He develops an innovative theory of double-hermeneutics - along the way opposing the current near-consensus led by Ricoeur and Derrida that there is something wrong-headed about interpreting a text to find out what its author said. Wolterstorff argues that at least some of us are entitled to believe that God has spoken. Philosophers have never before, in any sustained fashion, reflected on these matters, mainly because they have mistakenly treated speech as revelation.

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