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Divine Hiddenness: New Essays [Paperback]

by Daniel Howard-Snyder, Paul Moser
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 3, 2001 0521006104 978-0521006101
In this new collection of essays, a distinguished group of philosophers of religion explore the question of divine hiddenness in considerable detail. The issue is approached from several perspectives including Jewish, Christian, atheist, and agnostic. There is coverage of the historical treatment of divine hiddenness as found in the work of Maimonides, St. John of the Cross, Jonathan Edwards, Kierkegaard, and various Biblical writers. A substantial introduction clarifies the main problems of and leading solutions to divine hiddenness.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Divine Hiddenness may sound like a clumsy philosopher's way of talking, but it is at the heart of much thought. Whether in a university, a church, a bar, or in solitude, nearly everyone has at some time asked: Why does God hide from us? If God exists, why is He not manifest and obvious? Editors Daniel Howard-Snyder and Paul K. Moser have assembled many of the leading voices in the philosophy of religion to offer their views on the subject. There are both philosophers and theologians, skeptics and believers. The result is a scholarly, if occasionally academic, treatment of a thorny problem that has afflicted thinkers for thousands of years. The book ranges from analytic philosophy to theology to some interesting historical treatments of St. John of the Cross, Jonathan Edwards, and Kierkegaard. The volume contains 11 essays, including works by Nicholas Wolterstorff, Peter van Inwagen, and William J. Wainwright. Moser has also compiled an excellent bibliography on the subject, which is especially useful for students of philosophy. --Eric de Place


"...[an] excellent anthology...incisive and thought-provoking...I happily commend this book to anyone who is interested in the philosophy of religion or in the religious issue of God's hiddenness." Philosophia Christi

"...a set of essays rich in insight...Taken together, these essays offer a surprisingly comprehensive treatment of the question of divine hiddenness, exposing something of the variety and complexity in the subject and making it accessible to reflection." Theology Today

"This volume offers a representative selection of views on divine hiddenness. It contains valuable discussion of both classical and contemporary treatments of the problem, and would be suitable reading for a mid- or upper-level course on this topic." Philosophy in Review

"This is an interesting, sophisticated collection of philosophical essays on the hiddenness of God, in the specific sense that God (if such there be) has not made his existence sufficiently clear." - James Bradley, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521006104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521006101
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better May 1, 2012
By Reader
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Edited by Daniel Howard-Snyder and Paul Moser, `Divine Hiddeness' is a collection of previously unpublished essays examining the issue of divine hiddeness. The essays provide a multi-perspectival (atheist, agnostic, theist) discussion by some of the leading philosophers working in this area today; contributors include, Draper, Schellenberg, van Inwagen, Wolterstorff and Moser. I offer a few thoughts for potential purchasers.

Within the philosophy of religion the argument from divine hiddeness, or argument from non-belief as it is also known, has become an increasingly popular argument against the existence of God. In many ways argument from divine hiddeness is analogous to the argument from evil, in that it contends that the world we live in is different from what we would expect if the God of classic theism existed. In this case it is posited that if God existed he would be more apparent. If God desires a relationship with his creatures why are there so many non-believers? For an omnipotent being it would seem a trivial task to make Himself none. On a deeper salvific level God's hiddeness is even more troubling, that is to say, if as many theists claim, a relationship with God is crucial to our eternal fate either to glory or perdition shouldn't an all-good God have a moral obligation to ensure that his creatures do not fail to believe simply because there wasn't enough evidence. In the words of the great nineteenth century philosopher Frederick Nietzsche, "A god who is all-knowing and all-powerful and who does not even make sure his creatures understand his intentions - could that be a god of goodness?
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believing for the Right Reasons January 4, 2007
"Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior" (Isaiah 45:15). Why is God's existence not more obvious? Why do so many fail to believe in God? For this most part, this collection of essays is a response to J. L. Shellenberg's Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason in which he argues that a perfectly loving God would provide sufficient evidence to render reasonable unbelief impossible. In his opinion, God does not offer compelling proof, and thus he concludes that a perfectly loving God does not exist. Numerous authors challenge Shellenberg's thesis and conclusion. Perhaps our experience of the hiddenness of God is one consequence of human sinfulness: "Critics like Schellenberg consistently underestimate human corruption and sinfulness. Given our perversity, and tendency to idolatry, it is likely that even a fuller divine self-disclosure would be corrupted by us, and would thus not help us. What is needed isn't more evidence or a fuller revelation but a new heart to appreciate the evidence and revelation we have" (104). In this case God's hiddenness is actually human blindness. Perhaps divine hiddenness is related to human freedom (overwhelming proof would coerce in a manner incompatible with love), or the nature of faith (God doesn't simply desire belief, but trust, faithfulness, and love). Perhaps God desires that we believe for the right reasons: "God's desire for why people believe in His existence may well be much more important to Him than that they believe in Him in the first place. It may well be that God wants people to believe in His existence for certain reasons and not for others, that He prefers that they do not believe at all if the only option is to believe for the wrong reasons" (12). Read more ›
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19 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too one-sided May 6, 2002
There is some really good material in this book, but the selections are profoundly one-sided. There is only one atheist article in the entire book. There is also one from an agnostic, but he is as critical of the atheist position as the theists are. Even were I a theist, this one-sidedness would certainly detract from the book's value as an even-handed treatment of a controversial issue. Additionally, I found it odd that nothing from Ted Drange was included in the book, particularly since his work is often criticized by theists in the book (one article is even devoted almost entirely to criticizing Drange). This book is a must have, however, if you are really interested in divine silence, as there are many articles from extremely important thinkers contained in the book.
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