John Hick's pluralist philosophy of world religions: An exposition and response

Paul Rhodes Eddy, Marquette University


The purpose of this dissertation is to offer an exposition of and critical response to John Hick's model of religious pluralism. Chapter One shall begin by setting the conceptual stage upon which the discussions of theology of religions are being played out today. Along the way I shall offer some constructive suggestions as to how this stage could be further developed in order to offer a more accurate, less confusing presentation of the various options in Christian theology of religions. The standard threefold typology of responses to religious diversity--exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism, shall be explained and, with qualifications, defended. The pluralist paradigm shall become the final focus of this discussion, in order to situate Hick's model within its wider, paradigmatic conceptual context. Chapters Two through Four trace the rise and development of Hick's pluralist interpretation of religious diversity, including the development of his 'neo-Kantian' proposal. Chapter Five shall offer a catalogue of criticisms directed toward Hick's mature model of religious pluralism. Specifically, this chapter shall focus on those criticisms that suggest Hick's pluralist hypothesis falls short with respect to its claims of being both 'pluralistic' and 'Christian.' Finally, in Chapter Six, I shall present my own critical assessment of Hick's pluralist hypothesis. Two central strands of critique shall be delineated. It shall be argued that these two strands, taken together, lead to the conclusion that Hick's present model is ultimately unsuccessful in overcoming the perennial pluralist bane--the 'conflicting conceptions of the divine' problematic--in a way that allows him to simultaneously retain both his religious realism and pluralism.

Recommended Citation

Eddy, Paul Rhodes, "John Hick's pluralist philosophy of world religions: An exposition and response" (1999). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9929157.