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Kenneth Pearce

I'm really glad to hear that some of this cross-tradition dialogue is happening!

It is in fact pretty common for book-length studies in analytic philosophy of religion to begin by identifying what conception of God they have in mind, and how they see it fitting together with others. It does seem, though, that it might be useful to have something like the set of distinctions you specify in number 1.

You might be interested in this paper by Eleanor Stump: http://journalofanalytictheology.com/jat/index.php/jat/article/view/jat.2013-1.%20041104181915a/6
If I'm understanding your set of distinctions correctly, the paper is about the relationship between God as isvara and God as bhagavat.

Elisa Freschi

Dear Kenneth,

many thanks for that. I did not know the article and found it extremely interesting (also because of its nice introduction on the sociological vs. doctrinary distinction). I hope to be able to find the time to discuss it in a separate post in a close future. As for your last question, Christianity surely mixes the two aspects you mention (with usually more emphasis on the former among the theologians, and more emphasis on the latter among the mystics). Nonetheless, I wonder whether the Aquinas' proposal as reproduced by Stump could not rather be described as putting together a brahman-like conception of God (the impersonal esse, or love as an abstract universal) with an Īśvara-like one (God as having a specific will to act in the world)?

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