Listening to God: Using Meta–Terminology to Describe Revelation in a Comparative Theistic Context • A. J.

Watson

179

Theology Update

Listening to God: Using Meta–Terminology to Describe Revelation in a Comparative Theistic Context1
By A. J. Watson
Abstract: Starting from the assertion that comparative theology is inherently dialogical in nature, this paper examines the use of non-confessional meta-terminology and its application in interfaith dialogue. In so doing, it examines potential meta-terms for describing revelation as related in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur’an, and the Gospel of John, and concludes that non-confessional terms aid in the dismissal of normative viewpoints, leading to greater appreciation of commonality and meaning in the truth claims of other faiths and dialogue partners. Key Terms: comparative theology, revelation, interfaith dialogue, Qur’an, Bhagavad-Gita, Gospel of John

Introduction: Revelation and Meta-Terminology
Comparative—or inter-religious—theology is a relatively new field within the study of religion that emphasizes faith commitments and issues related to confessional religious identity within a pluralistic environment.2 As such, comparative theology is inherently dialogical in application. In fact, one of the central questions asked by the Comparative Theology Group at the American Academy of Religion is, “how might members within a particular tradition and those persons out-

side of it learn from one another regarding that tradition?”3 This being the case, revelation in a theistic context, for which I use a definition implied by Karl Barth, Francis Clooney, Fazlur Rahman and others as the self-offering or self-manifestation of God, describes the process by which God is revealed to followers and is thus a basic tenet of faith in most theistic religions. Central to this question of revelation is how different religions treat the physical manifestation of God, and what God has to say to believers in that form. Within an interfaith or pluralistic context, then, a believer’s particular understanding of revelation can provide either an aid to dialogue or a significant stumbling block, as

A. J. Watson is completing doctoral work on comparative missions at Cambridge University. He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, and has researched Islam and interfaith dialogue at the Pluralism Project and with the Islam in the West Program at Harvard University.
C

2009 Wiley Periodicals and Dialog, Inc.

”6 He goes on to state that revelation. religion— all religions—is actually unbelief. In examination of these passages. and if so. In so doing. and as such does not lend itself easily to definition. Three Definitions of Revelation: Barth. I hope to include an example where God does not reveal him/herself in human form. then. Finally. . Karl Barth In Church Dogmatics I. I will attempt to determine if there is a common theme apparent in God’s revelation in all three passages. revelation tells him something utterly new. Some theologians. “is not conformed to human expectations as some kind of complement to human striving for the divine. thereby enabling believers to better appreciate the revelatory messages of other faiths. I propose to briefly sketch out this aspect of revelation through the juxtaposition of three concise.180 Dialog: A Journal of Theology • Volume 48. Using the examples of these texts. and from their work we can derive parameters for our own further explorations into the nature of revelation. because divine revelation occurs in many different religions in different forms. or as a playful lover. an angelic message. I will apply meta terms for describing the event of God’s revelation. It arrives abruptly. illustrate the application of these terms for different types of revelation. texts from three religious traditions: Chapters 4 and 11 of the Bhagavad-Gita. revelation is the self-offering or selfmanifestation of God to humankind in a means that transmits information previously unknown. however. thereby ideally presenting another view of God’s revelation. Regardless of form. and point towards applications in interreligious dialogue. whether as a burning bush. In the context of Barth’s theology. . the Gospel of John. with special emphasis on chapter 4 and chapter 6:41-47. . the term is loaded with confessional importance.5 Thus. From a dialogical perspective. have undertaken the effort. a human substitute for the work of God . I will review the revelation of God in two distinct ways: God’s physical manifestation (if any). a messiah. but illustrative.97 as interpreted by the late Fazlur Rahman. I hope to briefly. the noted Protestant theologian Karl Barth offers the following definition in his discussion of revelation: Revelation is God’s self-offering and selfmanifestation. I further subdivide revelation by agency into personal or impersonal revelation. this means that revelation is the exact opposite of religion. and what God actually has to say in revelatory form.2. something which apart from revelation he does not know and cannot tell either to himself or others. and the general conclusions drawn from God’s revelation to his/her followers. Revelation encounters man [sic ] on the presupposition and in confirmation that man’s attempts to know God from his standpoint are wholly and entirely futile . Clooney. if not comprehensively. this begs the question of whether these manifestations are different. how? Furthermore. a mystical trance. and Rahman What. and descriptive terms for two principal ways in which revelation is manifested: direct revelation and revelation by agency. and the Qur’anic view of prophethood and revelation in the Surah of the Cow: 2. is the definition of revelation? The answer is complicated. breaks in on the human condition. can dialogue between faiths about confessional issues be aided through the use of meta/non-confessional terms that are potentially less pregnant with spiritual meaning. outline other potential lines of questioning for further consideration. In this article. and shatters . . a process which is a stated goal of the Comparative Theology Group?4 I propose an experiment that attempts to apply nonconfessional terms in examining how God is revealed to followers. In incorporating Qur’anic revelation. one can only conclude that religion and revelation are irreconcilably at odds with one another. As Clooney notes on Barth: “Because revelation is God’s self-offering and self manifestation. a renowned Islamic scholar. Number 2 • Summer 2009 • June the confessional grammar of revelation is driven by that believer’s interpretation of truth claims.

Rahman notes. In describing revelation as an event. revelation can appear at any time to disrupt our activities. While textual revelation is indeed equally important and is represented in all of the faith traditions that will be examined—the writings of the Mimamsa theologians noting the transformational power in the reading of the Veda. I mean the actual event in which God appears to humanity and provides revelation. or not. there are several of these forms. and as we—as mere created aspects of that reality—have no role besides subservience to God. Taking this line of reasoning further. it is a strictly oneway relation of real truth from God to humanity. however. second. literally infinite. it is therefore a true reality in God’s terms. the opposite of God’s revelation. and the muezzin and commentarial traditions on the Qur’an in Islam to name just a few examples— an analysis of the transformational power of textual revelation is an extensive field worthy of separate treatment. and even time—with God’s true reality. as human creations of God. a reality that is simulta- . we must ultimately choose to either accept that reality. It is solely about God’s expression of will and true reality to us. and we have scarce option but to submit to this new reality. Fazlur Rahman This is also a view that is close to a prevailing Islamic view of God as the source from which all creation emanates. For the purposes of this paper. this correction is an aspect of God becoming involved in human affairs: “Just as the body assumed during a divine descent is real. therefore. “God is that dimension which makes other dimensions possible. As creations of God. seems to have certain agreed upon characteristics: first. the nature of that self-offering may appear in different forms. the religious constructs we develop to transmit the power of revelation among ourselves and from generation to generation are human constructs. and the form taken by God in order to do so. As Clooney notes.”8 neously foundational to and infinitely beyond our own understanding of our world. accepting the consequences of our choice.10 the sacramental readings of the Gospels in liturgical settings. that being the direct event through which God’s intentions are revealed to a human witness. Another interpretation of this perspective. many of which are shared across faith traditions. we will review revelation as an event. and He alone is infinite.”7 Francis Clooney Thus in its very essence revelation does not conform to human parameters and expectations. Forms of Revelation: Event or as Text? While revelation may be the self-offering of God. J. revelation smashes our own constructs and realities—our own perceived truths such as religion. .”9 Revelation. so too the activity of God descended to earth is real and effective activity . He is allenveloping. it is the self-offering and selfmanifestation of God. and finally. by bringing humans into proximity with a God involved in human activities. He gives meaning and life to everything. it confronts human ignorance and the inability to understand who God is. places God as the foundation of all true reality. third. with a working definition of revelation in hand. For the purposes of this experiment in meta-terminology. it is appropriate to ascertain non-confessional terms for the forms in which it can occur. revelation tells humanity something it cannot know without revelation—it cannot be derived or guessed. we lack the understanding of God’s reality to debate God on that reality. yet different from that of ordinary humans. As such. social order. they evolve over time and are therefore prone to correction by God at any time. As outlined below. revelation by God to humanity occurs in two general categories: as a direct event or through a text. any wonders of creation are ayat —signs—of God’s greatness and generosity. Typically.Listening to God: Using Meta–Terminology to Describe Revelation in a Comparative Theistic Context • A. Thus. Watson 181 the various human projects aimed at acquiring the divine. while perhaps not completely definable. . Under this view.

However. Arjuna is committed to awed obedience to Krishna’s will. . long since have these men in truth been slain by me: yours it is to be the mere occasion. in his eternal rest. garlands and robes celestial He wore . as Barth describes. Arjuna’s Experience of a New Reality This is the heart of revelation. nothing in Krishna’s teaching had prepared him for this . showing this particular man. vows that he will not fight his kinsmen. Arguna does not understand the full import of this revelation of godly reality. the Cosmic. so Krishna further drives the point home by revealing himself as time and timelessness itself: “Time I am. without human embodiment: an understandably disturbing form of revelation that completely rips away the constructed realities of the witness. that. God is relating to Arjuna in God’s own terms. Krishna not only reveals himself to Arjuna in his true form—not that of Arjuna’s god-companion in human guise who has accompanied him through the rest of the BhagavadGita—but he also demonstrates to Arjuna that societal norms such as traditional kinship obligations . as Zaehner explains in commentary: “Arjuna does not yet understand the terrible side to his nature displayed . . as will be described below. . “This chapter is the climax of the Gita. godlike form. . . . the Bhagavad-Gita. . Arjuna said.”11 In the Bhagavad-Gita. In the BhagavadGita. Although other. flaming fire. God of gods. . . forcing her/him to stand naked and helpless before the Eternal. . revealed to the son of Pritha . His God has shown him that obedience to God is what matters over all. personal agency. . I cannot find my bearings.182 Dialog: A Journal of Theology • Volume 48. Krishna now tells him that the reality is quite as fearful as it seems. . using three general categories: direct revelation. .”14 With more discussion in the ensuing chapters. the Infinite. In it Krishna reveals Himself in all his terrifying majesty. Arjuna. What follows is a discussion between Arjuna and his friend-god about the correct course of action. It is this type of revelation that occurs in chapter 11 of the Hindu sacred text. something which apart from revelation he does not know. it is revelation in its extreme. In the climax of the discussion. . . the gods in your body I behold and all the hosts of every kind of being . . ‘O God. expressing doubt in the rightness of his course of action. the Omnipotent. . drawn up there in their opposing ranks . Arjuna is now fully aware of just how different God’s reality is from his. facing every way! . Krishna provides Arjuna with a celestial eye so that Arjuna may view him in his true celestial nature: The great Lord of power .”15 In this particular chapter. revelation tells him something utterly new. . less disturbing forms exist. rather than in his incomprehensible and seemingly savage activity. .73) as to whether killing his kinsmen in battle is a proper action. and humanity as a whole. wreaker of the world’s destruction . a conversation takes place between the brave warrior Arjuna and his friend Krishna on the edge of battle against Arjuna’s kinsmen. faith restored and “with doubts dispelled” (18. . . all these warriors shall cease to be. [Arjuna] would sooner know Him [Krishna] . . “He is God. Number 2 • Summer 2009 • June I will use meta-terms for this type of revelation that takes both human and non-human form. Arjuna picks up his bow and heads into battle. and Krishna’s desire for Arjuna to engage in battle. and that as such He is his Lord.”13 Even so. his highest sovereign form . [Behold this] God whose every [mark] spells wonder. with many a mouth and eye and countless marvelous aspects . You do not know—how infinite your strength! How numberless your arms—your eyes the sun and moon! So do I see You—your mouth a With this revelation. . home of the universe!’12 Direct Revelation: Krishna’s Celestial Self in the Bhagavad-Gita Direct revelation is the appearance of God to humanity in true. . middle. . In telling him this. or end. have mercy. As RC Zaehner relates. direct revelation is revelation in its most pure form. and impersonal agency. I cannot find a refuge. burning up this universe with your blazing glory . do what you will. . beginning.

he. the body becomes a material reality. providing revelation in human terms. whose father and mother we know? How can he now say. and this revelation spurs him to action. and his own brothers (7:1-9).’”18 Revelation by Agency Personal Agency: Jesus in the Gospel of John Revelation also may occur through agency. for what You are set on doing I do not understand. “Is this not Jesus. only to have that origin questioned repeatedly by the Jewish community (6:42). Why. In the example of Jesus in the Gospel of John this is the case. 12:25-26. Arjuna is faced with a new reality. the son of Joseph. As such. and indicates that he “has come down from heaven” (6:38) to do the will of God the father. what Arjuna asks him as well as he stares gaping at Krishna’s celestial form: “Tell me. only select groups of people accept Christ as divine in origin.21 In this form of revelation. I mean that experience of revelation in which God assumes a form— often human but not necessarily so19 —and interacts directly with humanity.”22 Thus. so God becomes embodied.31-3) Traditional commentary on the Gita views chapter 4 as instructive: “Whenever the laws of righteousness withers away and lawlessness arises. however.” (11. we see echoes of Barth’s description of religion (and society) in opposition to revelatory truth: God appears to humanity in order to right that which has fallen out of balance. a crowd denies this origin. God walks among humanity in a physical form and imparts godlike reality to us through lessons. In a telling passage. to be used as an instrument to assist in communication with others. You best of Gods.20 Throughout much of John. echoed in John 21:19. What is to be gained by such a direct revelation from Krishna? This is. An interesting aspect of this form of revelation is that it is often prone to not being recognized as revelation by the people for whom the revelation is intended. As with Christ. Impersonal Agency: The Revelation of the Qur’an to Mohammad With the Qur’an. is to follow Christ’s example in compassion and devotion to God. In using the term personal agency. though without the impurities. but something more perfect: “Various theologians . Watson 183 and even time itself break down as meaningless compared to the will of the master of all creation and destruction. or deleterious limitations that diminish the human . his body left behind. Despite the many miracles worked by Jesus in the Gospel of John.17 In this. . ‘I have come down from heaven?” (6:42). . is never born again: he comes to me. and 20:19 (as well as in Mk 1:17 and Lk 5:11). a different type of agency is seen. your form so cruel? . . miracles. and how does that form affect God’s message? With personal agency. .Listening to God: Using Meta–Terminology to Describe Revelation in a Comparative Theistic Context • A. in fact. agree on a basic quantified analogy: as humans are embodied. . impersonal agency—a form of revelation . This is reinforced by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: “To know God is to share in his mode of being: ‘Who knows my godly birth and mode of operation thus as they really are. who are You. many remain unconvinced of Jesus’ divinity because of his human form. God’s involvement uplifts rather than denigrates the human. would God choose to enter into human form. . then do I generate Myself [on earth]. That message. then. God’s human form in Christ provides us a direct model for attempting to live the revelatory message. In John. John’s Christ consistently relates his divine origin to humanity. Jesus appears as a man. J. defects. which itself can take personal or impersonal form. the body of God is not merely human. where many who witness Jesus’ miracles and hear his revelations still question his godly nature because of his human form. his disciples (6:60-4).”16 a reference that Zaehner argues points to the four classes of ancient Hindu society and the requirements of the three upper classes. have mercy! Fain would I know You as You are in the beginning. or signs. Here. saying.

but with different implications. through choice. for it is he who always speaks in the first person. the chosen intermediary is the angel Gabriel. He shall seal up your heart [so that there will be no more Revelation] (42:24)’ . While I have done this more as a sketch outlining further areas of work for use in inter-religious conversation. Whatever the agency of the revelation. As such. always choosing instead to do so through some form of agent. much of Sunni Islamic tradition rejects instances of God speaking directly to humanity. Qur’anic tradition has held that God is delivering the message. this form of revelation presents a different problem: reverence for God makes it unpalatable for God to speak directly to humanity.25 Rahman expands: God never speaks directly to a human but he may infuse a Spirit in the Prophet’s mind . and revelation by agency through both personal and impersonal means.’). ‘If We willed. such as an angel or prophet. and to use nature (which is automatically muslim. While there is some ambiguity—particularly in the early verses of the Qur’an—as to whether it is God or Gabriel speaking to Muhammad. then you will find no one who can help you with it despite Us! (17:86). In this regard. and that the use of non-confessional terms can assist in the In Islam. it is clear that distinct terms can be used for event-based revelation: direct revelation. ‘He [Muhammad] speaks not from his own desire—it is but a Revelation vouchsafed to him’[53:3] . revelation by impersonal agency introduces another term for describing an entirely different form of revelation: it is not a revelation involving direct personal experience on God’s terms—as with Arjuna viewing God with a celestial eye—nor is it God relating to humankind in human terms. . In the Qur’an. however.”23 Islamic scholar Fazlur Rahman notes that.”27 As Rahman describes. but it comes through Gabriel as an intermediary. as Christ does. Impersonal agency is somewhere in the middle. I have undertaken to outline a nonconfessional meta-terminology for three basic forms of event-based revelation using three examples from different faith traditions. and as a guidance and good tidings to the believers. designed to mercifully guide humankind to “control history towards good ends” rather than “succumb to its vagaries.26 God also speaks to humanity in the Qur’an. ‘obedient to God. as such. which was the sheer mercy of God: ‘Do they say that he [Muhammad] has forged [the Qur’an] as a lie upon God? If God wills. the true revealing subject always remains God. . .e.184 Dialog: A Journal of Theology • Volume 48.’24 Montgomery Watt and Richard Bell also observe that Islamic tradition is unanimous on the point that Gabriel was the agent of revelation. . orthodox Sunni Islam largely rejects anthropomorphic conceptions of God. In fact. Qur’anic speech is direct and commanding. . As such. .”28 Indeed. i. Conclusion: Towards Non-Confessional Terminology in Interfaith Dialogue In this paper. most vividly described in 2. it is important to note that the Qur’an is particularly interesting as unlike in Hinduism or Christianity. . it has its own benefits and drawbacks.97: “It is [Gabriel] who has instilled it in your heart by Allah’s permission confirming what preceded it. Number 2 • Summer 2009 • June where God does not speak directly to humanity but rather through a form of intermediary—occurs. to develop his higher potentialities in accordance with the ‘command’ (amr) of God. which makes him see the truth and utter it (‘Say: This is my path—I call people [to God] on the basis of clear perception’ [12:108]. Muhammad himself was clear on the point that he was not the source of revelation: The Prophet himself was always only too conscious that his Prophethood was not of his own making and that even his natural capacities could not cause Revelation. We would surely remove the revelation We have given you. “the purpose of man [sic ] is to ‘serve’ God. unlike Christ. it is my hope that these terms are useful for further work in interfaith projects. it is this dependence on and submission of all creation to God which defines Islam.

if there is a common message to be found in God’s revelatory events. where he is exhorting Arjuna to forget his family obligations to his kinsmen and his reputation and follow Krishna’s will. Finally. has many examples of personal agency: Krishna appears as a child. Impersonal agency. not objective knowledge. they may be all false. Thus. such as in the example of the burning bush. At the same time. I also do not attempt to judge the truth claims of the various faiths. it should be noted that while I have used three separate faith traditions to illustrate these categories. mine is not an argument for generalization per se. When God speaks—certainly as in the examples we have reviewed—God is exhorting human followers to leave the old and embrace the new order God has undertaken revelation to bring about. and true to basic tenets of comparative theology. And it is the case with God’s revelation to Muhammad.32 While there has not been enough space to do it here. is a setting aside of normative viewpoints in an attempt to find commonality and meaning in the truth claims of other faiths and dialogue partners. What is certain is that they are true to their adherents and so all have relevance. Thus. This is perhaps not surprising. from the examples cited. In this article. where God is commanding the establishment of a new community transcending traditional Arab tribal authority. for example. for if Barth and Clooney are in fact right and religion is indeed the lack of faith or unbelief. of course.”30 In essence. I envision fruitful ground for discussion between faiths regarding the implications of these different types of revelation and their import within each tradition. Watson 185 discussion of underlying truth claims between members of different faiths. as a lover of the Gopi. does direct revelation: Jesus in John 20 transcends death and appears before his disciples. as Pierre Bourdieu points out in Outline of a Theory of Practice. Indeed. In examining how they are represented.’ the implication of this is. but an invitation to appraise new terms through dialogue that are free of preconceived truth claims. it does appear that revelation occurs when God wishes to correct human action. and as the ‘comrade’ to Arjuna. establishing a new Kingdom. it appears to be the rejection of the traditional order and the taking up of a new one. any generalizing I advocate is done for the sake of encouraging viewpoints that Edward Said describes as “swept under the rug.”29 As the noted postmodern ethnographer Michael Jackson puts it. the instances of these revelatory categories are not unique to the faith tradition used. dialogue is best fostered by the discussants developing their own ‘common language. They may be all true. So. to my mind. his form so different from their understanding of reality that they initially do not recognize him. This is the case of Krishna in the BhagavadGita. they may even have varying degrees of truth within their own traditions. that there is no normative standard for interpreting specific passages and the discussants are free to bring what they believe to the table. it is impossible and even undesirable to conceive of oneself as an objective ‘spectator. then. while potentially helpful. so to replace one construct with the other is counter productive. the aim of using such terms is to avoid confessional constructs. Hinduism. generalizing “is a means of creating solidarity. the essence of the dialogical aspect of comparative theology. are not to be taken as universal constructs.Listening to God: Using Meta–Terminology to Describe Revelation in a Comparative Theistic Context • A. establishing a new authority over the temple and coming into direct conflict with the Jewish religious hierarchy. and establishing a new social order. In other words. too.’31 What generalized terms do enable. appears in JudeoChristian traditions as well. It is the case of Jesus in John. the importance of not ‘fetishizing’ the language or meta terms I specifically use in this paper can not be overstressed. then it is to be expected . it is possible to draw some general inferences on the nature of revelation that I hope will prove useful in dialogue between faiths. Put another way. This is. too. I think it is important to note the meta-terms I use in this paper. With the regard to the terms themselves. rejecting polytheist traditions. it is again hoped that useful applications can be made in areas relating to interfaith dialogue. The dialogical process I outline for interfaith work is inherently phenomenological: thus. I suggest that as a faith practitioner it is not possible to be completely objective. J. so. As the standing definition of revelation I introduced earlier indicates.

1993). 1. California). but he especially takes issue with Barth’s preference for Christian revelation after elucidating this concept. Francis X. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. 27. The Qur’an: Arabic Text and English Translation. 15. 2004). 2nd Edition (Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica. Translated by M. Major Themes. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. Clooney.. translated by Majid Fakhry (New York: New York University Press. 124. 4. (Zaehner trans.S. 2007 (San Diego. 1977). 2001). 4. Representations of the Individual. Shakir. My thanks to Francis Clooney. 3. This is precisely how comparative theology serves interfaith dialogue by suspending judgment on the validity of truth claims and seeking to understand the underlying message. translated by A. 19. 2003). (San Francisco: Harper. Montgomery Watt. Bhagavad-Gita. Hindu God . 139. 1994).7 (Zaehner trans. 11–12. 9. Arberry (New York: Touchstone. 1996). 303. The Bhagavad-Gita. Christian God . 8. Hindu God . 7. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an. 29. Clooney cites the work of Satakopan. (Clooney. English translation of the meanings–A Bilingual Edition. Presented to the Comparative Theology Group at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bhagavad-Gita. 119–20. 13. Fazlur Rahman. 5. November 18. . May 2006. Karl Barth.2§17. 9. 23.186 Dialog: A Journal of Theology • Volume 48. 133. 1990) and the Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV). Ward also suggests that Barth’s approach could “lead just as well to [the] acceptance” of revelation in other faiths.) Endnotes 1. The Qur’an. Religion and Revelation (Oxford: Clarendon. it need not do so. I have used The Holy Bible (NRSV). For all Biblical references. Number 2 • Summer 2009 • June that God would wish to correct it from time to time. 4. Hindu God.. 9. Things As They Are (Indiana: University of Indiana Press.. 1994). who provided comments and encouragement on earlier versions of this paper. 184 (Zaehner trans.. Statement for the Comparative Theology Group within the American Academy of Religion.. 11:41.J. 32.) 19. Zaehner (New York: Oxford University Press. Ibid. with a commentary based on the original sources. See Keith Ward. 31. 11. 25. Clooney. 2004). Ibid. Ibid. 1996). 6. 311. Introduction to the Qur’an. translated by R. 1997). 16–21. Ibid.H. Edition. 1963). Rahman.) 18. Major Themes. The Koran. 4. Clooney.. Peter Slater and Allan Keislar.) 20. Ibid.. 9 th U. 30. 311. 1998 impr. Bhagavad-Gita. Ibid. 96. and is the subject of this paper. 301. and his relating of God appearing as a boar.). Interpreted. 305–309. 12. 10. Ibid. Jerry Martin. The 1993 Reith Lectures (New York: Pantheon. Edward Said.) 17. While this form of personal agency often takes on human form. translated by Barbara Stoler Miller (New York: Columbia University Press.C. 22. an eighth-century Vaisnava saint. 119. R. Church Dogmatics I. 24.2 §17 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark. 134. 91. (Elmhurst. Ibid. Major Themes of the Qur’an. 107. 1–2. 99. Michael Jackson. 1993). Rahman. 21. 301. Ithamar Theodor. Pierre Bourdieu Outline of a Theory of Practice tr. 28. Bhagavad-Gita. Hindu God. 19. 82–84. Gitagovinda II. 16.9 (Zaehner trans. Richard Bell and W.. Christian God (New York: Oxford University Press. 26. Barth. Ibid. 1956. 2. 8. Church Dogmatics I. Keith Ward takes issue with the concept “that reason cannot judge revelation” put forward by Barth. Bhagavad-Gita. 14.. albeit with the divine purpose of lifting the world out of the cosmic ocean.

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