Revelation, religion, and Christian uniqueness : an appreciative critique of H.H. Farmer's theological interpretation of religion
The dissertation is an examination and appreciative critique of H.H. Farmer's theology of religions as this arises out of his writings, particularly his Gifford lectures, Revelation and Religion and Reconciliation and Religion. Not only is this the first comprehensive study of Farmer's theological interpretation of religion and religions, but it is the first study and explication of his unpublished second series of Gifford lectures. The thesis has three broad aims, namely, to explicate and assess: (a) Farmer's theological interpretation of religion: and (b) the arguments he uses for establishing Christian uniqueness in the history of religions. Finally, (c) the overall aim of the study is to demonstrate that Farmer's personalist thought still has much to offer to contemporary theologians and philosophers of religion. Hence, throughout there is dialogue with both those who influenced Farmer, and more recent studies in the theology and history of religions. The first chapter deals primarily with his theology of personal relationships and epistemology. The second chapter examines the nature of religion and the role of reason in his thought. Chapter three turns to his christology and soteriology. Chapter four is a discussion of the seven elements of normative religion which he identifies in Christian worship of God as Trinity. In the fifth chapter his analysis of religious types is explicated and examined. Chapter six is an outline and study of his unpublished second series of Gifford lectures. Finally, in chapter seven various lines of thought are drawn together, critiqued in the light of contemporary discussion, and suggestions are offered as to how Farmer's thought might be developed into a personalist theology of religions.