Customer Reviews

7
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
2
3 star
2
2 star
0
1 star
0
Models of Revelation
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$17.40 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
This classic work of a beloved Catholic theologian and cardinal boils down and categorizes the work of dozens of prominent theologians, both Catholic and Protestant, from the 19th and 20th centuries into five models. It is indispensably useful as a primer and for such reason is widely read by graduate-level theology students studying revelation.

One strength of Dulles's book is that he does not merely summarize the positions. He critiques each position, trying to identify both its positive and negative points. This does not mean they are all equal, and his critique of the third and fifth models mentions how they are difficult to reconcile with traditional Christian beliefs. Dulles does not advocate a specific model, nor does he think that the models can simply be combined (since they arrive at different positions on specific questions). Nor does he think creating a sixth model is viable at the present. Instead, he wants to improve upon the models by critiquing them in light of the other models. A clear way forward is not presented. That would be a miraculous feat, to reconcile such diversity!

The first (1) model (Revelation as Doctrine) could be called the conservative or traditional model, which is worked out by both Catholics and Protestants in the 19th century over against the theories of Rationalism. This model sees the Bible as a collection of factually true statements about God and humankind. In some ways it is made official Catholic dogma at the First Vatican Council, though not in a way that totally excludes the following four models. It is also the model generally used by Evangelical Protestants today.

The second (2) model (Revelation as History) is also worked out in the 19th century in deliberate reaction to the first model. According to this model, the Bible itself is not revelation but merely witnesses to revelation. Revelation itself is the acts of God in history (e.g., the Exodus, the Incarnation). The famous scholar Oscar Cullmann (1902-1999) belongs to this school, as does Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928- ). The former popularized the German word Heilsgeschichte, which is usually translated "salvation history." Jean Cardinal Danielou, the famous patrologist, created a Catholic version of this theory, which found its way into the Second Vatican Council's document on revelation, Dei Verbum.

The third (3) model (Revelation as Inner Experience) is essentially the view of Liberal Protestantism, whose founder may be Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), though the model is worked out by later scholars. This model sought to establish a theory of revelation in which revelation was not dependent on the Bible, which was considered historically unreliable. Instead, revelation is coterminous with a personal religious experience of God, which can be mediated by the Bible (though it can also exist outside Christianity). One living author who falls here to some degree is John Hick (1922- ), who, however, can also be placed in the fifth model.

The fourth (4) model (Revelation as Dialectical Presence) is what is sometimes called Neo-Orthodoxy, as developed after World War I specifically by Karl Barth (1886-1968), Emil Brunner (1889-1966), and Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976). It is a reaction to Liberal Protestantism. According to these Protestant theologians, God is "absolute mystery" and cannot be objectified. The object of revelation is not God himself in his absolute essence but God as he turns toward his creatures. Revelation is nothing but the fact of Jesus Christ. As in the second model, the Bible itself is not revelation, but witnesses to revelation.

The fifth (5) model (Revelation as New Awareness) was the most difficult one for me to wrap my head around. According to Dulles, in this model revelation is "the transcendent fulfillment of the inner drive of the human spirit toward fuller consciousness." It is a sort of evolutionary view, in which humankind is moving toward "fuller consciousness," and this is what revelation is. The very famous theologians Paul Tillich (1886-1965) and Karl Rahner, SJ (1904-1984), are to some degree associated with this school of thought.

After going through the five models, he tackles specific questions (for example, the Bible, the Church, Christ, eschatology) and shows what answers each model arrives at. This is, again, very useful for the beginning theology student. Overall, this book is on the short-list of must-reads for students of the theology of revelation. No doubt it could be critiqued by theologians of each school of thought, but it is inevitable that a book of this nature will not please all, and many simplifications are necessary to fit so many theologians into only five models, which Dulles himself acknowledges. Something is sacrificed in the name of utility and simplicity, but it is an acceptable sacrifice for the beginner.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Avery Dulles takes the untrained reader on a journey through the complex thought processes of a religious scholar, in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step manner.
He sets up criteria and begins building five philosophies or models of revelation theology that are most commonly embraced by Christians today. These models serve as a great eye-opening tool in the final compare-and-contrast stage of his analysis.
Perhaps more fascinating, Dulles expands his search to include specific historical periods, so that the reader gets a better understanding of how theological thought evolves and changes, as one generation of Christian believers builds on the knowledge or misconceptions of the past, and how meaningful dialogue with historians, scientists and other religious groups have enhanced our traditions and affirmed our convictions.
This book represents a rare opportunity for one of the laity to peer into the mind of a great theologian. One can not help but be impressed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
...there's still much good information to be had. My theology professor had us write papers explaining why Dulles's portrait of the evanagelical model fell short, but I really don't think it was bad at all, considering the religious orientation of the author.

Dulles does an admirable job of portraying the doctrine of revelation from several viewpoints, so this book should come in handy to anyone interested in the nature and thought of revelation.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on September 27, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Very well articulated views on how God reveals Himself to man. Dulles speaks primatial lay of the catholic stance which overlaps greatly with the majority of Protestant views. A must in thinking about the history of our knowledge of the creator!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on October 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
Very Scholarly review of several understandings of Revelation. Fair in most of his assessment. (posted by a conservative Evangelical)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 13, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Hard read
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
25 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Avery Dulles defines "revelation" as "God's free action whereby he communicates saving truth to created minds, especially through Jesus Christ as accepted by the apostolic church and attested by the Bible and by the continuing community of believers." In Models of Revelation, Dulles identifies five models of revelation: Revelation as Doctrine, Revelation as History, Revelation as Inner Experience, Revelation as Dialectical Presence, and Revelation as New Awareness. He explains that the propositional view of revelation to which he links Conservative Evangelicalism and the propositional view of Catholic neo-Scholasticism both fit within his model of Revelation as Doctrine. Dulles' view, however, does not paint a complete picture of the "Conservative Evangelical" view of revelation.
Dulles traces his description of the Conservative Evangelical view of revelation to the views presented by B.B. Warfield, through the defenses of Gordon H. Clark, J.I. Packer, J.W. Montgomery, and Carl F.H. Henry, to the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy's "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy." Dulles concludes that this view holds that God makes himself known through nature (natural or general revelation), but that salvific truth requires supernatural (special) revelation. Natural revelation makes God "available always and everywhere." Special revelation provides for effective knowledge of salvific truth because God's tanscendence and the devastating effects of original sin prevent humans from attaining a sure and saving knowledge of God by natural revelation alone. God's revelation is deposited in the canonical scripture, so the Bible is the whole and final revelation of God, thereby allowing revelation without prophets, Jesus Christ, or apostles.
Dulles finds that the "propositional model stands up well in terms of its faithfulness to tradition, its internal coherence, and its practical advantages, but less well when judged by other standards." He also notes that it promotes unity through its doctrines, provides firm doctrinal standards, facilitates full commitment to biblical and ecclesiastical teaching. This model "safeguards the meaning and authority of revelation, which is seen as providing clear, firm answers to deep and persistent questions concerning God, humanity, and the universe, and thus as offering sure guidance through the confusions of life."
However, Dulles concludes that this model provides too narrow an approach, that it is authoritarian and extrinsicist. He criticizes its as implausible, inadequate to experience, and as valueless for dialogue. Dulles believes that this model requires submission to propositions in the Bible held to be revelation, regardless of whether they seem to apply to the believer, thereby ignoring the believer's own life and experience. Its apparent rigidity stemming from its acknowledgment of Holy Scripture as the complete deposit of revelation rejects "members of other groups as heretics or infidels." Because he doubts the authority of every passage of Holy Scripture as God's word, Dulles questions this model's treatment of the Bile as peremptory authority. Nevertheless, Dulles does not imply "that the clear teachings of Scripture and the creeds are without grounds in revelation."
Dulles clearly identifies the elements of God's revelation in his descriptions of five models. What he views as the weaknesses of the Evangelical's conservative model, presumes his bias that Holy Scripture, without the Church through the pope, is incomplete. He discounts that the conservative model actually accounts for the role of history, experience, and faith because of his desire to "compartmentalize" God's revelation. Nevertheless, Dulles' analysis does lead to the conclusion that God's revelation is important to the believer because it conveys God's nature and purposes to the community of believers.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Inerrancy
Inerrancy by Norman L. Geisler (Paperback - May 7, 1980)
$23.98

Surprised by the Voice of God
Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere (Paperback - October 1, 1998)
$9.79

Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God
Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God by Stanley J. Grenz (Paperback - August 19, 1996)
$13.07
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.