Exploring Mormon Thought: Volume 1, The Attributes of God


by Blake T. Ostler
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Book Description:

In this first volume Blake T. Ostler explores Christian and Mormon notions about God. Written for both Mormons and non-Mormons interested in the relationship between Mormonism and classical theism, his path-breaking Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God is a critique of classical theism regarding some of the central concepts that have formed the Christian understanding of God. He deals with questions of traditional philosophical theology including free will and foreknowledge, the nature of God and Christology. The approach to these questions is from the analytic philosophical tradition and includes detailed arguments relating to the coherence of Christian belief, scripture and practice. However he recognizes that religious faith is far more a product of intimacy with the divine than of ultimacy of reason, more a product of relationships than of logical necessities.
     He provides an overview of the most influential Christian notions of deity, exploring themes and resources within this discourse that might be helpful to Latter-day Saint explorations. Also highlighted are various perspectives within Mormonism itself including a detailed analysis of Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith and discussion of the thought of Orson and Parley Pratt, B. H. Roberts and John Widstoe. Earlier Mormon thought is demonstrated to have included a concept of God as a being in process. He suggests areas in which Mormon approaches to questions about free agency and God's omnipotence might suggest resolutions to some of the difficult issues that have troubled theologians and philosophers for centuries. For the first time ever Ostler formulates a systematic Mormon Christology.

Praise for the Exploring Mormon Thought series:

“These books are the most important works on Mormon theology ever written. There is nothing currently available that is even close to the rigor and sophistication of these volumes. B. H. Roberts and John A. Widtsoe may have had interesting insights in the early part of the twentieth century, but they had neither the temperament nor the training to give a rigorous defense of their views in dialogue with a wider stream of Christian theology. Sterling McMurrin and Truman Madsen had the capacity to engage Mormon theology at this level, but neither one did.” — FARMS Review, Neal A. Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University

“This may be the most exciting volume to come out on Mormon theology ever. I eagerly await it as I think it will demonstrate a maturity of Mormon theology in that it will take "as given" a presentation of the basics of Mormon thought. One hopes that other authors will present engagements with other major thinkers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida, or others. However clearly before one can move on to this more ‘mature’ level of discourse, the beginnings have to be established. While I’m sure other writers may take exception to some of Blake’s positions in this first volume, he clearly is blazing the trail in an exciting way. Further it opens up to non-Mormons a clear and lucid presentation of Mormon theology that one can't get from most other writings.” — Clark Goble, Association for Mormon Letters

“I hope that Ostler’s work finds a wide audience within the Church. Anyone who thinks seriously about the meaning of LDS doctrine should read it. It is a book that will take some time to unpack and some time for its influence to be felt.” — James McLachlan, BYU Studies

Other Volumes in the Exploring Mormon Thought Series:

Volume 2, The Problems of Theism and the Love of God
Volume 3, Of God and Gods

About the Author:

Blake T. Ostler is a practicing attorney specializing in educational law, employment law and intellectual property.  His books include the EXPLORING MORMON THOUGHT series and Fire on the Horizon: Meditations on the Endowment and Love of AtonementHe has published widely on Mormon philosophy in journals such as Religious Studies, International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Studies, Element, and FARMS Review of Books.

More Information:

Pages: 542 
ISBN: 978-1-58958-654-3 (paperback); 978-1-58958-003-9 (Hardcover)

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