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Grammatical thomism


Centred on figures like Herbert McCabe, David Burrell, and Brian Davies the loose tradition known as grammatical thomism is undervalued within analytic philosophy of religion. This is particularly unfortunate, since a grammatical thomist approach offers the prospect of both a reorientation towards a more apophatic conception of God, consonant with the theology and practice of many religious traditions, and of moving beyond certain debates in the philosophy of religion. In this article, a grammatical thomist approach to the word ‘God’ is laid out: the conditions for introducing the word constrain its grammar, such that it cannot be understood as designating anything within our world. Accordingly inferential moves which we might otherwise find tempting are blocked. The result is an apophatic theology grounded in linguistic considerations. Objections against linguistic approaches to philosophy and theology, owing to Williamson and Murphy respectively, are considered and counter-arguments presented. The potential for therapeutic approaches to both the problem of evil and questions around theology and politics is then flagged.

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Religious Studies
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