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One God Of All? : Probing Pluralist Identities - Garth Hallett

One God Of All?

Probing Pluralist Identities

Hardcover

Published: 21st October 2010
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The claim has repeatedly been made, and has often been contested, that a single transcendent being is present or active in all of the world's major religions. In this view, names such as "God," "Allah," "nirvana," "Vishnu," and "Brahman" all refer to the same transcendent reality. Absent from the debate and here provided is a serious study of such claims in the light of the most pertinent philosophical literature, namely that concerning questions of identity and individuation. Of necessity, the terms that the claims employ are very general and abstract: the world's religions, it is said, all refer to the same "thing," "being," or "reality." Although analogy, rightly understood, can back the transcendent extension of descriptive expressions such as "wise," "good," and "powerful," it cannot do likewise for expressions such as "one," "same," and "many." So pluralists' identity claims appear empty. Hallett scrutinizes the soundness of this critique, its broad implications, and the possibility of replacing empty identity claims with suitable parables or comparisons.

One God of All? is a remarkable achievement that brings needed clarity, religiously sensitive and philosophically incisive, to the debates surrounding today's religious diversity. With Wittgenstein as his ally and John Hick his major debating partner, Hallett offers specific and penetrating insights into how we experience diversity and put it into words, and shows how we can sensibly think it through, without surrendering to fideism or relativism. This book should be a necessary reference for all those wishing to philosophize the meaning of today's pluralism.--Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, USA Hallett's Wittgensteinian sensitivities produce a fresh and original contribution to the critical examination of the pluralist thesis (all religions point to the same God). In his attention to the many problems of pluralism, he is able to tentatively but instructively develop a new approach to this vexed question.--Gavin D'Costa, Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Bristol, UK It may seem plausible to argue that the same divine reality - whether called God, Allah, Tao, or Sunyata - is active in all religions. But what is meant by words like 'same' when applied to terms which are themselves strictly beyond definition? Language, and the way we use and mis-use it, is Hallett's theme. Indeed proper attention to language and the way in which it is used to speak of identity and individuation may open up some of the ethical, as much as philosophical, questions which underlie one of the most important theological issues of our time.--Michael Barnes, Senior Tutor, Heythrop College, UK "One God of All? is a remarkable achievement that brings needed clarity, religiously sensitive and philosophically incisive, to the debates surrounding today's religious diversity. With Wittgenstein as his ally and John Hick his major debating partner, Hallett offers specific and penetrating insights into how we experience diversity and put it into words, and shows how we can sensibly think it through, without surrendering to fideism or relativism. This book should be a necessary reference for all those wishing to philosophize the meaning of today's pluralism."- Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, USA "Hallett's Wittgensteinian sensitivities produce a fresh and original contribution to the critical examination of the pluralist thesis (all religions point to the same God). In his attention to the many problems of pluralism, he is able to tentatively but instructively develop a new approach to this vexed question." Gavin D'Costa, Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Bristol, UK "It may seem plausible to argue that the same divine reality - whether called God, Allah, Tao, or Sunyata - is active in all religions. But what is meant by words like 'same' when applied to terms which are themselves strictly beyond definition? Language, and the way we use and mis-use it, is Hallett's theme. Indeed proper attention to language and the way in which it is used to speak of identity and individuation may open up some of the ethical, as much as philosophical, questions which underlie one of the most important theological issues of our time." Michael Barnes, Senior Tutor, Heythrop College, UK.

Preface; 1. Pluralist Identity Claims: A Preliminary Overview; 2. The Claims' Significance; 3. Fixing a Focus; 4. Transcendent Reference; 5. For and Against Identical Reference; 6. Neglected Questions; 7. Multiple Misgivings; 8. Counter-Exploration; 9. Dialectical Response; 10. Pluralism in a New Key?; Notes; Works Cited.

ISBN: 9780826446329
ISBN-10: 0826446329
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 21st October 2010
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Number: 1