Divine Discourse

Divine Discourse : Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks

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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.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139238620
  • 9781139238625

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Locating our topic; 2. Speaking is not revealing; 3. The many modes of discourse; 4. Divine discourse in the hands of theologians; 5. What it is to speak; 6. Could God have and acquire the rights and duties of a speaker?; 7. Can God cause the events generative of discourse?; 8. In defense of authorial-discourse interpretation: contra Ricoeur; 9. In defense of authorial-discourse interpretation: contra Derrida; 10. Performance interpretation; 11. Interpreting the mediating human discourse: the first hermeneutic; 12. Interpreting for the mediated divine discourse: the second hermeneutic; 13. Has Scripture become a wax nose?; 14. The illocutionary stance of Biblical narrative; 15. Are we entitled?; 16. Historical and theological afterword; Endnotes; Index.show more

Review quote

'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, 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, 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 Studiesshow more

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42 ratings
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