Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks

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Divine discourse comprises Nicholas Wolterstorff's philosophical reflections on the claim that God speaks. This claim figures large in the canonical texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but there has been remarkably little philosophical reflection on it, in good measure (so Professor Wolterstorff argues) because philosophers have mistakenly assimilated divine speech to divine revelation. He embraces contemporary speech-action theory as his basic approach to language; and after expanding the theory beyond its usual applications, concludes that the claim that God performs illocutionary actions is coherent and entails no obvious falsehoods. Moving on to issues of interpretation, he considers how one would interpret a text if one wanted to find out what God was saying thereby. Prominent features of this part of the discussion are his defense, against Ricoeur and Derrida, of the legitimacy of interpreting a text to find out what its author said, and his analysis of the double hermeneutic involved when the discourse of one person is appropriated into the discourse of another person. The book closes with a discussion of the epistemological question of whether we are entitled to believe that God speaks.
 

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Inhalt

Locating our topic
1
Speaking is not revealing
19
The many modes of discourse
37
Divine discourse in the hands of theologians
58
What it is to speak
75
Could God have and acquire the rights and duties of a speaker?
95
Can God cause the events generative of discourse?
114
In defense of authorialdiscourse interpretation contra Ricoeur
130
Interpreting the mediating human discourse the first hermeneutic
183
Interpreting for the mediated divine discourse the second hermeneutic
202
Has Scripture become a wax nose?
223
The illocutionary stance of biblical narrative
240
Are we entitled?
261
Historical and theological afterword
281
Notes
297
Index
325

In defense of authorialdiscourse interpretation contra Derrida
153
Performance interpretation
171

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