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
3. Life and Finite Individuality: Revisiting a debate in British Idealism
N. N. Trakakis
4. Hope for Ultimate Goodness within Theism and Euteleology
5. Is God a Person? Maimonidean and Neo-Maimonidean Perspectives
6. On Timelessness and Mystery
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
10. Against Synchronic Free Will: Or, why a personal God must be temporal
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
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?
17. A God for the Atheists and Nones? Exploring Chinese and Indian Nonpersonal Conceptions of Ultimate Reality
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