Readings on Theology and Language

The literature on this topic is extensive, so here I’m only offering a small sampling of theological and philosophical treatments of the sense of religious language. So if you have interests in theology’s use of tropes and devices like analogy, metaphor, symbol, and sign; or operations like figuration and reference; or theology’s capacity to profit from rhetoric studies, then some of the following titles might be worth consulting. As always, if you have suggestions to improve the list, leave a comment.

(listed chronologically — since 1965)

  • D. Z. Phillips, (1965) The Concept of Prayer
  • John Macquarrie, (1967) God-Talk: An Examination of the Language and Logic of Theology
  • Victor Preller, (1967) Divine Science and the Science of God
  • Robert Jenson, (1969) The Knowledge of Things Hoped For: The Sense of Theological Discourse
  • David Burrell, (1973) Analogy and Philosophical Language
  • Langdon Gilkey, (1976) Naming the Whirlwind: The Renewal of God-language
  • G. B. Caird, (1980) The Language and Imagery of the Bible
  • Sallie McFague, (1982) Metaphorical Theology: Models of God in Religious Language
  • Janet M. Soskice, (1987) Metaphor and Religious Language
  • Eberhard Jüngel, (1989) “Metaphorical Truth,” in Theological Essays I
  • Phillip Rolnick, (1993) Analogical Possibilities: How Words Refer to God
  • Dan Stiver, (1996) The Philosophy of Religious Language: Sign, Symbol and Story
  • Colin Gunton, (1998) The Actuality of Atonement: A Study of Metaphor, Rationality and the Christian Tradition
  • Paul Avis, (1999) God and the Creative Imagination: Metaphor, Symbol and Myth in Religion and Theology
  • Graham Ward, (1999) Barth, Derrida and the Language of Theology
  • Louis Doupre, (2000) Symbols of the Sacred
  • Paul Janz, (2008) God, the Mind’s Desire: Reference, Reason and Christian Thinking
  • D. Stephen Long, (2009) Speaking of God: Theology, Language and Truth
  • Roger White, (2010) Talking about God
  • David Brown, (2011) God and Mystery in Words: Experience through Metaphor and Drama
  • Kevin Hector, (2011) Theology Without Metaphysics: God, Language and the Spirit of Recognition
  • Edward Morgan, (2011) The Incarnation of the Word: The Theology of Language of Augustine of Hippo
  • Garth Hallett, (2012) Theology within the Bounds of Language: A Methodological Tour
  • Paul Hinlicky, (2014) “Metaphorical Truth and the Language of Christian Theology.” In Indicative of Grace — Imperative of Freedom, 89-100.
  • Rowan Williams, (2014) The Edge of Words
  • R. David Nelson, (2015) “Webster and Ebeling on Christian Texts: A Placeholder for a Theological Theology of Language.” In Theological Theology: Essays in Honor of John Webster, edited by Nelson, Sarisky, and Stratis, 203-218.
  • Archie Spencer, (2015) The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakablility
  • Stephen Mulhall, (2016) The Great Riddle: Wittgenstein and Nonsense, Theology and Philosophy

Theology & Rhetoric

  • David Cunningham, (1992) Faithful Persuasion: In Aid of a Rhetoric of Christian Theology
  • Lucretia Yaghjian, (2015) Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers, 2nd Ed.

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