Tradition, Authority and the Hiddenness of God

Part of the Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (CSPR)


The mystery of God is central to Christianity and related religions. In his papers ‘From Coffee to Carmelites’1 and ‘On Not Understanding God’2 D.Z. Phillips has sought to shed light on the concept of the mystery of God by expounding and defending the idea that it makes sense to say that God and his ways are beyond human understanding, in the sense, not merely that we do not understand God, but that we could not. A large part of his concern is to show what part the mystery of God plays in the lives of believers. He writes:

A philosopher tries to understand what is meant by saying that God’s ways are beyond human understanding. If he succeeds in doing so, this does not mean that he understands God. What he understands is the place the belief that God’s ways are beyond understanding has in the lives of believers. He tries to understand the kind of belief it is, to clarify its grammar.3

The present paper is an attempt to further that understanding, to clarify that grammar, by taking the investigation in one specific direction. I look at some connections between the mystery of God, the concept of revelation and religious authority.


Human Agent Causal Chain Religious Tradition Human Understanding Religious Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    D.Z. Phillips, ‘From Coffee to Carmelites’, in Wittgenstein and Religion (London: Macmillan and New York, St. Martin’s, Press, 1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.

Copyright information

© Timothy Tessin and Mario von der Ruhr 1995

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations