At the outset of his book Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy (1992), Richard Swinburne differentiates between “sentences” and “statements,” a distinction that disengages his quest for rational revelation from biblical studies and the latter’s historical treatment of biblical texts. Not only does this strategy reinstate the obsolete traditional form/content binarism, and presumes a correspondence account of truth, it also ignores the specific socio-cultural contexts and strategic aims behind all biblical texts. Swinburne’s assertion that any God, being “God,” would reveal “himself” through prophets, perform miracles, and become incarnate as an atoning saviour, arises out of the culturally specific, Western, Christian tradition. His understanding of biblical miracles as violations of the laws of nature is based on a seventeenth-century understanding of miracles, as propounded by the British empiricist John Locke. His “four tests of [true] revelation” simultaneously grant preferential treatment to the Christian revelation, while facilitating the dismissal of [what he terms] “non-Christian” religions. His newly added section (2007) entitled “Moral Teaching” demonstrates how Swinburne’s “revelation” (as a discursive practice) participates in non-discursive apparatuses of power and domination over women and lgbtq communities. Thus, in the end, this neo-conservative philosophical discourse on “revelation” employs the illusion of truth to extend itself as power over those who have been customarily marginalized by traditional forms of Christianity.


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pp. 369-387
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