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Divine Nature and Human Language: Essays in Philosophical Theology (Cornell paperbacks) 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801495458
ISBN-10: 0801495458
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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell paperbacks
  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801495458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801495458
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
William Alston's collection of essays is truly extraordinary. This collection contains significant contributions in both the philosophy of religious language and in explorations of the nature of God. Especially important are the essays "Hartshorne and Aquinas: A via media" in which Alston carefully carves a path between the classical view of God and the process view showing that one does not need to accept either package as a whole and "Does God have beliefs?" in which he lays out a different approach to understanding God's knowledge.
It will be difficult to find one volume of essays that have made a greater contributions to philosophical theology than this one.
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I continually ran into William Alston being discussed throughout the philosophy of religion books I read. I never knew why he was such a big deal until I picked up this work. In "Divine Nature and Human Language," Alston presents a cohesive flow of essays which argue that talk about God can indeed have a valid reference. Those theologians who deny that talk about God can mean anything often raise the objections Alston answers in this work.

The book's essays cover: I. 'Talk about God' which includes essays on "Irreducible Metaphors in Theology", "Can We Speak Literally of God?", "Functionalism and Theological Language", "Divine and Human Action", and "Referring to God" II. 'The Nature of God' with essays on "Hartshorne and Aquinas: A Via Media" (this essay is much-discussed throughout philosophy of religion), "Divine-Human Dialogue and the Nature of God", "Divine Foreknowledge and Alternative Conceptions of Human Freedom", "Does God have Beliefs?", III. 'God and the World' with essays on "God's Action in the World", "The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit," and "Some suggestions for Divine Command Theorists."

All of these essays are absolutely essential reading for philosophers of religion. Each addresses a topic that is of great interest to those interested in this field. Some of the essays have been discussed in other literature and rejected (Alston's formulation of a timeless God is interesting, but William Lane Craig rejects it in "Time and Eternity"--this debate over timelessness continues in Brian Leftow's "Time and Eternity", another fantastic work). Others have been discussed and affirmed.

I highly recommend this work for those who want to explore whether talk about God can mean anything. Moreover, it is necessary reading for those wishing to work in the field of philosophy of religion.
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Format: Paperback
Alston's study of theology and language is an admiraable attempt to deal with a worthy topic. Unfortunately, that's where this book's only star is gained. Alston tends to chase himself around, over, and through his topics, leaving the reader with no line of thought that can be consistently followed. He fails to connect his theology to his philosophy of language. His philosophy of language fails to agree with or elucidate either common sense notions of language or linguistic findings, and his theology is nothing remarkable. Thus, this book fails on both fronts it attempts to address.
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