09 June 2010

Dissertation topic

Several HancAquam book benefactors have asked about the topic of my doctoral dissertation.   They want to know what sort of academic work they are helping to fund!

My license thesis took on the problematic relationship between science and religion, arguing that a critical realist epistemology and a healthy dose of humility when making truth-claims on both sides represents the best way for the two ancient contestants to make peace.  I used the work of physicist-priest, John Polkinghorne, as my principle inspiration for this argument.

My dissertation topic will leave philosophy of science behind and take up the recently revived question of religious skepticism and divine hiddenness.  The question being asked:  if God wants us to believe that He exists, why doesn't He reveal Himself in such a way that disbelief would be unreasonable and culpable?  IOW, as it stands, our knowledge of God allows disbelief to be seen as reasonable and inculpable, both logical and blameless. 

I hope to focus on the philosophical implications of divine revelation, paying particular attention to how a Christian understanding of divine love entails that God remain hidden in order to honor human freedom.  Unfortunately, most of the work done on this question has been done by Anglo-American analytical philosophers, i.e. not Thomists or continental philosophers.

This wiki entry provides an excellent overview of the issues and lots of external links to primary and secondary sources.

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  1. Father: I saw René Latourelle's Theology of Revelation on your wish list. Having studied this book years ago in my undergraduate De Revelatione class, I must warn you that the English translation is poor, sometimes leading to false theological statements. My advice is, gulp, get the French original.

  2. DMWallace. . .ugh. I was afraid of that. Mostly I need it for the bibliography and historical and biblical references. I know of no other source for a comprehensive list of instances of revelation in scripture. Save me tons of time. I can always check the French if I quote anything. Thanks for the warning!

  3. Yes, man, but more importantly, how does this thesis protect us from the Zombie Apocalypse?

    Priorities, friar!

  4. Father, as you know, our elders in the Order are not as hip to the dangers of the CZA as we younger friars are. I asked to study the ZA problem, but they insisted I study something more "traditional." Whatever THAT means...