Divine Discourse

Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks

Divine Discourse

The canonical texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam claim that God speaks, but philosophers usually mistakenly treat such speech as revelation. Wolterstorff argues that contemporary speech-action theory offers a fascinating approach to the claim. He develops an innovative theory of interpretation along the way opposing the current near-consensus of Ricoeur and Derrida that there is something wrong-headed about interpreting a text to find out what its author said.


"...Wolterstorff makes an important contribution to biblical hermeneutics. His work should cause all concerned readers to ponder the implications of this challenging theory." Christianity and Literature

"...the most extensive and penetrating philosophical discussion of the idea of divine speaking ever undertaken." The Princeton Seminary Bulletin

"...this rich book gives substance to the ancient Jewish conviction that God has not left us to ourselves but "speaks to us on our way," and that. accordingly, our special calling is to listen to that speech in order to hear the threats and promises, the commands and blessings, the exhortations and assertions, that God is addressing to human beings." First Things

"Wolterstorff provides the first philosophically informed look at the nature of divine communication, removing it from general theories of revelation and placing it right into the midst of common language debates of speech-act theory of J.L. Austin. This innovative position is then applied against the record of theological discourse and biblical hermeneutics....Recommended." The Reader's Review

"A careful reading of this book will provide acquaintance with the style and method characteristic of the best in contemporary anglophone philosophy of religion....[A] splendid book, a model of clear and careful argument on a very important topic in philosophical theology." Paul J. Griffiths, Anglican Theological Review

"This book, based on the Wilde Lectures at Oxford in 1993, is probably the most extensive and penetrating philosophical discussion of the idea of divine speaking ever undertaken." The Princeton Seminary Bulletin

"The subtitle of this book captures its aims very well....I recommend it...to philosophers of religion, theologians, and Biblical scholars." International Philosophical Quarterly

"...the sheer breadth of material covered, the incisiveness of Wolterstorff's analyses, and the lucidity of his prose makes this book deserving of a wider audience tha, perhaps, Wolterstorff himself may have intended." Andrew V. Jeffery

"...Wolterstorff has done in Divine Discourse what all good Christian philosophers do: He has allowed believers both inside and outside the academy to think more precisely about a topic of unspeakable existential importance-namely, what we possibly can mean when we say, with the Maggid of Mezritch, 'this is the word of the Lord.' Andrew Chignell, Books & Culture