Article

Authority of Scripture, Tradition, and the Church

Richard Swinburne

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596539
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199596539.013.0002

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Authority of Scripture, Tradition, and the Church

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Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all claim that God has given humans a revelation. Divine revelation may be either of God, or by God of propositional truth. Traditionally Christianity has claimed that the Christian revelation has involved both of these. God revealed himself in his acts in history; for example in the miracles by which he preserved the people of ancient Israel, and above all by becoming incarnate (that is human) as Jesus Christ, who was crucified and rose from the dead. And God also revealed to us propositional truths by the teaching of Jesus and his church. Some modern theologians have denied that Christianity involves any propositional revelation, but there can be little doubt that from the second century until the eighteenth century, Christians and non-Christians were virtually unanimous in supposing that it claimed to have such a revelation, and so it is worthwhile investigating its traditional claim. This article is concerned with the Christian claim to have a propositional revelation. The first section describes the process by which Christians of past centuries have come to believe that certain propositions have been revealed. The second assesses alternative philosophical accounts of what constitutes a belief that such-and-such propositions have been revealed, being a ‘justified’ belief (or a ‘warranted’ or ‘rational’ one).

Keywords: Christianity; Christian revelation; God; history; propositions; religious beliefs

Article.  9779 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Comparative Religion ; Christianity ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Islam

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