In this challenging and engaging discussion, F. Gerald Downing draws on evidence from Ancient Jewish and New Testament scriptures in his analysis of the changing history of the concept of ‘revelation’ within Christianity. Through the discussion of central concepts in the philosophy of language, such as reference and identity, Downing provides a comprehensive analysis of our notion of the concept of knowledge through revelation and self-revelation.
Formation for Knowing God contains an overview of the history of the debate regarding the methods and extent of God’s revelation, specifically, his self-revelation. Downing argues that the conviction that God is self-revealed stems from eighteenth-century Enlightenment debates, and has no roots in the early Christian tradition, from which we learn that God is incomprehensible. Downing rejects the view that it was the primary purpose of Christ’s death to show God’s love, claiming that this is unsupported by the scriptural evidence. The positive thesis argued by Downing is that what has been revealed to us is not a matter of knowledge but a matter of faith.
Downing’s Formation for Knowing God will challenge the assumptions of its readers, providing an alternative and thought provoking approach to the nature of knowledge and certainty within Christianity.