The Presence and Absence of God

The Presence and Absence of God. Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, Conference 2008. Ed. by Ingolf U. Dalferth
2009. VIII, 236 pages. RPT 42

ISBN 978-3-16-150205-7
sewn paper € 49.00

The Presence and Absence of God

Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, Conference 2008
Ed. by Ingolf U. Dalferth

Safeguarding the distinction between God and world has always been a basic interest of negative theology. But sometimes it has overemphasized divine transcendence in a way that made it difficult to account for the sense of God's present activity and experienced actuality. Criticisms of the Western metaphysics of presence have made this even more difficult to conceive. On the other hand, there has been a widespread attempt in recent years to base all theology on (religious) experience; the Christian church celebrates God's presence in its central sacraments of baptism and Eucharist; process thought has re-conceptualized God's presence in panentheistic terms; and some have argued that God might be poly-present, not omnipresent.
But what does it mean to say that God is present or absent? For Jews, Christians, and Moslems alike God is not an inference, an absentee entity of which we can detect only faint traces in our world. On the contrary, God is present reality, indeed the most present of all realities. However, belief in God's presence cannot ignore the widespread experience of God's absence. Moreover, there is little sense in speaking of God's absence if it cannot be distinguished from God's non-presence or non-existence. So how are we to understand the sense of divine presence and absence in religious and everyday life? This is what the essays in this volume explore in the biblical traditions, in Jewish and Christian theology and philosophy, and in contemporary philosophy of religion.


Survey of contents:

Ingolf U. Dalferth: God , Time, and Orientation. 'Presence' and 'Absence' in Religious and Everyday Discourse
I Biblical Traditions
Leah Rediger Schulte/Tammi J. Schneider: The Absence of the Deity in Rape Scenes of the Hebrew Bible - Kristin De Troyer/Leah Rediger Schulte: Is God absent or present in the Book of Esther? An Old Problem Revisited. - Stefan Alkier: Ways of Presence and Modes of Absence in the Gospel of Luke - or: How Scripture Works
II Jewish Theology and Philosophy
Jerome Gellman: The Hiddenness of God in Early Hasidic Thought - The Hiding of the Hiding of God's Face - Philip. Clayton: The Hiddenness of God in Spinoza: A Case Study in Transcendence and Immanence, Absence and Presence - Claudia Welz: God's Givenness and Hiddenness: Franz Rosenzweig on Human (Dis)Trust and Divine Deception
III Contemporary Philosophy of Religion
Anselm Min: The Dialectic of God's Presence and Absence in the World - John H. Whittaker: The Knowledge of God in the Cloud of Unknowing - Stephen T. Davis: God as Present and God as Absent - Roland Faber: "Indra's Ear"-God's Absence of Listening
IV Literature and Politics
Patrick Horn: Simone Weil and Cormac McCarthy's The Road: Conditions for the Possibility of Beauty, Justice, and Faith in God - Richard Amesbury: Religious Neutrality and the Secular State: The Politics of God's Absence?

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