This event has been canceled.
Professor of Classical and Medieval Philosophy Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri, St. Louis
“The Hiddenness of ‘Divine Hiddenness’: Divine Love in Some Medieval Muslim and Jewish Thinkers”
The issue of divine hiddenness has come to the forefront of philosophy of religion as one of the more pressing arguments against theism. The central idea of the argument is that the notion of an all-loving God is incompatible with the simple fact that some people, through no fault of their own, never experience God—God is hidden from them. In this talk,I look at certain presuppositions hidden within the argument itself. Particularly I consider how the concept of divine love and especially God’s desire for a personal relationship with us work in the argument. Those who defend the argument from divine hiddenness either provide little explanation of what divine love is or simply assume that it is obvious what it is. Yet, as I hope to show, historically there have been good even devout theists within both Judaism and Islam who would have questioned many of the argument’s assumptions about divine love. I focus on the medieval Muslim philosopher and scientist, Avicenna, and the Jewish philosopher and theologian, Moses Maimonides, and what these two thinkers have to say about divine love and God’s seeking a personal relation with us.
Jon McGinnis is professor of classical and medieval philosophy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is a leading expert in the history of natural philosophy, with a focus on the medieval Arabic-speaking world. In addition to numerous articles, he is the author of Avicenna in the Oxford University Press’ Great Medieval Thinkers Series (2010), translator and editor of Avicenna’s Physics from his encyclopedic work, The Healing (Brigham Young University Press, 2009) and co-translator with David C. Reisman of Classical Arabic Philosophy, An Anthology of Sources (Hackett Publishing Co., 2007). He has been awarded three National Endowment for the Humanities awards, a Mellon grant, a John Templeton Foundation grant and has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is currently a UM Presidential Engagement Scholar.