Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $21.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 51%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $21.95   
  • New (5) from $41.90   
  • Used (5) from $21.95   


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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...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

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521475570
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/5/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Locating our topic; 2. Speaking is not revealing; 3. The many modes of discourse; 4. Divine discourse in the hands of theologians; 5. What it is to speak; 6. Could God have and acquire the rights and duties of a speaker?; 7. Can God cause the events generative of discourse?; 8. In defense of authorial-discourse interpretation: contra Ricoeur; 9. In defense of authorial-discourse interpretation: contra Derrida; 10. Performance interpretation; 11. Interpreting the mediating human discourse: the first hermeneutic; 12. Interpreting for the mediated divine discourse: the second hermeneutic; 13. Has Scripture become a wax nose?; 14. The illocutionary stance of Biblical narrative; 15. Are we entitled?; 16. Historical and theological afterword; Endnotes; Index.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)