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Social Sciences - Religious Studies | Models of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities

Models of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities

Diller, Jeanine, Kasher, Asa (Eds.)

2013, XXI, 1041 p. 8 illus.

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  • First collection since Hartshorne and Reese's Philosophers Speak about God (1953) to explore from a philosophical perspective the models of ultimate reality in the world's major philosophical & religious traditions
  • Covers models extant in over 15 major philosophical traditions & six living religions, representing over 90% of current religious commitment
  • The only collection on this theme that offers perspectives from many voices on each topic, including an insider's appreciation of each model

Dedicated to exploring the enormous variety of ultimate realities at the center of the world’s great religions and philosophical traditions, this volume is a richly varied collection of essays on how we conceive this central notion, whether expressed as God, or as an ultimate reality of another kind. Years in the making, the collection examines the guiding principles of 15 major philosophical traditions and 6 living religions. A publication of monumental scale and detail, it features an innovative thematic structure that aggregates traditions according to their core models, allowing the reader to grasp the common features of  ultimate realities as understood in diverse traditions such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and in some non-religious discussions.


Borne out of proceedings at both  the American Philosophical Association and the American Academy of Religion, the volume also examines foundational questions related to the human propensity for creating and using such models, including the issue of whether we are capable of acquiring knowledge of ultimate reality. It features a sustained analysis of the concept that modeling such an ultimate reality is a fruitless endeavor doomed to failure since the ultimate might well be beyond human conception, as well as reflections on the staggering diversity of these models and their application to concepts such as spirituality, gender equality, war, and global warming. Accessible and authoritative, the collection combines section primers for those new to the field, deeper treatment in dedicated essays, and a wealth of references for further reading and study.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Ultimate realities - classical theology - divine multiplicity - doctrine of God - monism - panentheism - philosophical theology - process theology - religious diversity - theoretical models - ultimate reality

Related subjects » Religious Studies

Table of contents 

Forewords.- Introduction.- A. Conceptual Foundations.- 1. What is a model of ultimate reality?.- 2. Meta-theoretical questions about models of ultimate reality.- B. Specific Models of Ultimate Reality.- Overview of specific models; Ted Peters, James E. Taylor.- 1. Classical and neo-classical theism.- 2. Pantheism.- 3. Process theology.- 4. Open theism.- 5. Panentheism.- 6. Deism.- 7. Ground of being theology.- 8. Religious naturalism/naturalistic theism.- 9. Dualism.- 10. Polytheism.- 11. Communotheism.- 12. Via Negativa/apophatic tradition (against all models).- 13. Skeptical or non-theistic views.- C. Diversity of Models of Ultimate Reality.- D. Practical Impacts of Models of Ultimate Reality.- References.- Index.

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