Stump and Swinburne on Revelation

Religious Studies 32 (3):395 - 411 (1996)
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The paper considers the criticisms that Eleonore Stump has made of Richard Swinburne's account of Christian's revelation, as set out in his book "Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy." It argues that Stump's criticisms of Swinburne's theory of biblical interpretation are misguided, but that her criticism of his deistic picture of revelation contains a crucial insight. Direct theories of revelation, which see God as communicating propositions directly to believers, are superior to deistic ones, which see God as communicating propositions only to an original group who then hand on the propositions to everyone else. Stump's suggested alternative to a deistic picture is flawed. A better theory would result from incorporating Swinburne's account of the Church into a direct theory, and holding that God communicates propositions directly to believers in the teaching of the Church. This position combines the insights to be found in Stump and Swinburne, while avoiding their mistakes.

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