The Stuff of Revelation: Austin Farrer’s Doctrine of Inspired Images

  • Ingolf Dalferth
Part of the Studies in Literature and Religion book series (SLR)


Austin Farrer was a philosophical theologian who took revelation seriously. He did not hold God’s creation and government of nature to be truths received by way of revelation and otherwise uncertified. But he was convinced that we cannot progress very far in our attempts to understand these rational truths about God if we ignore the truth which ‘God himself has revealed’.1 All our knowledge of divine truth, as he was well aware, depends on God’s prior self-manifestation: there is no knowledge of God unless he reveals and we reason. But, he insisted, merely to ‘distinguish between God’s action and ours’ is not enough: we must go on to distinguish between ‘two phases of God’s action’: his revelation by way of nature and his supernatural self-revelation in particular actions in history. There are divine mysteries such as the Trinity or the incarnation which are ‘inaccessible to natural reason, reflection, intuition or wit’, and ‘Christians suppose such mysteries’ to have been revealed in Christ and ‘to be communicated to them through the scriptures’.2


Literary Criticism Biblical Text Historical Interpretation John Hick Holy Ghost 
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© Ann Loades and Michael McLain 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingolf Dalferth

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