The Divine Nature : Personal and A-Personal Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

The Divine Nature
Personal and A-Personal Perspectives

ISBN 9780367619268
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
356 Pages

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Book Description

This book is the first systematic treatment of the strengths and limitations of personal and a-personal conceptions of the divine. It features contributions from Jewish, Islamic, Chinese, Indian and naturalistic backgrounds in addition to those working within a decidedly Christian framework.

This book discusses whether the concept of God in classical theism is coherent at all and whether the traditional understanding of some of the divine attributes need to be modified. The contributors explore what the proposed spiritual and practical merits and demerits of personal and a-personal conceptions of God might be. Additionally, their diverse perspectives reflect a broader trend within the analytic philosophy of religion to incorporate various non-Western religious traditions. Tackling these issues carefully is needed to do justice to the strengths and limitations of personal and a-personal accounts to the divine.

The Divine Nature: Personal and A-Personal Perspectives will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in philosophy of religion and philosophical theology.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Thinking about Personal and A-Personal Aspects of the Divine

Simon Kittle and Georg Gasser

Section I: A-Personal Aspects of the Divine: Theoretical Virtues and Limits

2. Personal Theism vs. A-Personal Axiarchism

Yujin Nagasawa

3. Life and Finite Individuality: Revisiting a debate in British Idealism

N. N. Trakakis

4. Hope for Ultimate Goodness within Theism and Euteleology

Georg Gasser

5. Is God a Person? Maimonidean and Neo-Maimonidean Perspectives

Samuel Lebens

6. On Timelessness and Mystery

Natalja Deng

7. Classical Islamic Conceptions of God and Revelation: God Is Not a Person but Can Speak

Mohammad Saleh Zarepour

Section II: Personal Aspects of the Divine: Theoretical Virtues and Limits

8. Metatheology and the Ontology of Divinity

Jonathan L. Kvanvig

9. What we cannot know about God

Richard Swinburne

10. Against Synchronic Free Will: Or, why a personal God must be temporal

Simon Kittle

11. An Apophatic Approach to God’s ‘Personal’ Nature

Christopher C. Knight

12. Impassibility, Omnisubjectivity and Divine Eternality

R. T. Mullins

Section III: Practical Implications of Personal and A-Personal Aspects of the Divine

13. Spiritual Practice and Divine Personhood

Mark Wynn

14. A-Personal conceptions of God and the Christian promise of eternal life

John Bishop and Ken Perszyk

15. Can only a suffering God help?

Anastasia Philippa Scrutton

16. Could we worship a non-human-centred impersonal cosmic purpose?

Tim Mulgan

17. A God for the Atheists and Nones? Exploring Chinese and Indian Nonpersonal Conceptions of Ultimate Reality

Mark Berkson

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Simon Kittle is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. His primary interests are the topics of human agency and free will, and questions connected with that topic.

Georg Gasser is Professor for Philosophy at Augsburg University, Germany, and the main editor of the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Georg received his Ph.D. from Innsbruck University and his habilitation from the Munich School of Philosophy. Georg’s scholarly work addresses topics in personal identity, the ontology of the human person, philosophical theology and the metaphysics of resurrection.


"I’m deeply convinced that this book will make an important contribution to recent debates concerning models of God and theories on the God-world-relationship. Highly recommended."Matthias Remenyi, University of Würzburg, Germany