'Foolishness to greeks': Plantinga and the epistemology of Christian belief

Sophia 48 (2):105-118 (2009)
A central theme in the Christian contemplative tradition is that knowing God is much more like ‘unknowing’ than it is like possessing rationally acceptable beliefs. Knowledge of God is expressed, in this tradition, in metaphors of woundedness, darkness, silence, suffering, and desire. Philosophers of religion, on the other hand, tend to explore the possibilities of knowing God in terms of rational acceptability, epistemic rights, cognitive responsibility, and propositional belief. These languages seem to point to very different accounts of how it is that we come to know God, and a very different range of critical concepts by which the truth of such knowledge can be assessed. In this paper, I begin to explore what might be at stake in these different languages of knowing God, drawing particularly on Alvin Plantinga’s epistemology of Christian belief. I will argue that his is a distorted account of the epistemology of Christian belief, and that this has implications for his project of demonstrating the rational acceptability of Christian faith for the 21st century.
Keywords Alvin Plantinga  Epistemology of Christian belief  Christian spirituality  Unknowing
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-009-0102-y
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Rolfe King (2012). Divine Revelation. Philosophy Compass 7 (7):495-505.

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