Between Vision and Obedience – Rethinking Theological Epistemology: Theological Reflections on Rationality and Agency with Special Reference to Paul Ricoeur and G.W.F. Hegel

By George Ille

An analysis of contemporary issues of rationality and knowledge in theology, offering an epistemology rooted in a Trinitarian view of God’s action in the world.

ISBN: 9780227174265


Contemporary discussions of problems of selfhood and knowledge have offered a wide range of solutions, from calls for a new Enlightenment (in the face of the resurgence of myth and the irrational), to attempts to “re-enchant the world” (in the face of the growth of an impersonal instrumental Reason). In Between Vision and Obedience – Rethinking Theological Epistemology, George Ille seeks a theological response to these competing views, with the specific purpose of evaluating the present state of epistemological rationality in theology.

Ille anchors his concerns historically and thematically through the work of the philosophers Paul Ricouer and G.F.W. Hegel. Invoking theological insights from Eastern and Western philosophies, and seeking recourse to a number of philosophers and theologians from both the continental and analytical traditions, he traces the contours of a theological rationality freed from both modern and post-modern hermeneutical anxieties. He proposes a rationality that follows the drama of God’s engagement with the world through dying and resurrection, ascesis and abundance, suffering witness and eucharistic communion.

This important text challenges and reframes existing theological and philosophical engagements with hermeneutics and epistemology. The new critical perspective it offers will be an invaluable resource for academics and scholars across the humanities.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 318

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

George Ille is Affiliate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Asbury Theological Seminary.



Part I: The Hermeneutical Self – From Meaning to Revelation: Reflections on Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutical Project
1. The Search for Foundation: From Reflexive Philosophy to Hermeneutics
2. The Ontological Horizon: Preface to a Transcendental Poetics?
3. Hermeneutics, Creation, and the “Re-enchantment” of the World

Part II: The Absolute Self – Hegel’s Journey from Revelation to Meaning
4. Hegel the Philosopher of Revelation
5. The Unfolding of God’s Story: Revelation, History, and Rationality in Hegel

Part III: The “Responsive” Self – Theological Rationality in Trinitarian Perspective
6. Trinitarian Description between Metaphysics and Hermeneutics
7. Epiphanies of Presence: On the “Return to the World”
8. Conclusions: Towards a Theological Epistemology Informed by a Trinitarian View of Agency

Index of Names
Index of Subjects


Endorsements and Reviews

George Ille is a fine scholar and a creative mind. His book breaks new ground by both examining a wide range of attempts (and failures) to connect theology and epistemology and by offering insights into the exploration of an explicitly theological epistemology.
Paul Copan, Palm Beach Atlantic University

This is an exceptionally bold exercise that seeks to break the logjam between the continental and analytic traditions. On the one hand, it is firmly rooted in the work of Ricoeur; on the other, it engages the work of Audi. Most importantly, it argues that epistemology can and should be rooted in a robust Trinitarian vision of divine action. This is a sophisticated, learned, and accessible volume that advances the discussion in ways that are both illuminating and surprising.
William J. Abraham, Southern Methodist University

Innovative and intriguing.
Dr John Saxbee, in Church Times, 9th Jan 2015

While Ille’s study is basically simple in outline, it is an intricately developed treatment of knowledge and epistemology. … The author skillfully balances appreciation and critique of Ricoeur’s work.
Peter B. Ely SJ, in Theological Studies, Vol 77, Issue 1

The book offers an interesting contribution to the hermeneutical ontological debate …
Johann-Allberecht Meylahn, in Theologische Literatur Zeitung, Jahrgang 141, Heft 4

The work is a magnificent contribution, underlining the ontological and narrative role of the self and the great drama of Revelation and Redemption; Ille’s book is beneficial in the multi-disciplinary epistemological discussion.
Maya Hládek, in The Expository Times, Vol 127, No 10