The notion of transcendence in selected recent theologies and philosophies

Warren, James I (1962) The notion of transcendence in selected recent theologies and philosophies. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis undertakes to examine critically the notions of transcendence in certain recent theologies and philosophies and to compare and contrast them with Biblical teaching concerning the transcendence of God. Seven recent theologies and philosophies are chosen, and they are presented in four sections. In section one, two ontological theologies are studied-those of E.L. Mascall and Paul Tillich; in section two, two existentialist philosophies are treated-those of Karl Jaspers and Jean-Paul Sartre; and in section three, two experiential theologies are investigated-those of Rudolf Otto and Martin Buber, To each of these theologians or philosophers we address three questions: (1) How does his approach to theology or philosophy arrive at, or fail to arrive at, the conception of a transcendent God? (2) How does his theological or philosophical position allow or prohibit his knowing and speaking about a transcendent God? (3) What does his notion of transcendence seek to express and safeguard in the conception of God? In section four an investigation is made of Karl Heim's presentation of the doctrine of God's transcendence. In this treatment two questions are especially considered; (l) How can one meaningfully and honestly conceive of a transcendent God? (2) How can one express the notion of a God who is, at the same time, transcendent and omnipresent? In section five a study is made of the Logos doctrine of the Fourth Gospel. Here, two approaches are employed. First, the Logos doctrine is treated as aChristological element of the thesis, i.e, an attempt is made to determine what under(TM) standing of God's transcendence is to be found in the Logos Ghristology of the Fourth Evangelist, In the second place, the Logos doctrine is treated as an expression, from the position of faith, not only of the relation between God and the Incarnate Logos, but also between God and the world. This means that the work of this section is directed towards finding out what the Logos Ghristology means as well as towards the statement of its implications for the doctrine of God's transcendence, and this meaning and significance is then used as a standard by which to judge the expressions of transcendence in the theologies and philosophies which are previously studied. In section six an attempt is made to arrive at a clear understanding of what the doctrine of the transcendence of God seeks to safeguard and express. To this end a consideration is made of what each theology and philosophy studied seeks to safeguard and express, and the success or failure of each is judged by the standard established in section five. The method by which these conclusions are reached is a discussion of key questions which arise in the course of the investigation, and, broadly speaking, these questions may be grouped into the three more embracing questions which were addressed to each theologian or philosopher, (1) How does one arrive at the reality or conviction of a transcendent God? (2) How can a transcendent God be present to men, and how can one know and speak of a transcendent God? (3) What does the idea of transcendence seek to express and safeguard in the nature of God? This thesis investigates the doctrine of God in terms of ontology and in terms of God's presence and activity in the world, and arrives at the conclusion that any adequate treatment of God's transcendence must acknowledge the importance of both aspects. It concludes that expressions such as 'Being-itself' and 'Transcendence' are legitimate and necessary in presenting God as qualitatively transcendent of all beings, while at the same time it concludes that a balanced doctrine of God's transcendence must allow for the reality of God's out-going and self-giving action, which the Christian sees supremely executed and revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Theology, Philosophy of Religion
Date of Award: 1962
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1962-72898
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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