Religious Studies 21 (3):299-318 (1985)

One of the most difficult and perplexing tenets of classical theism is the doctrine of divine simplicity. Broadly put, this is generally understood to be the thesis that God is altogether without any proper parts, composition, or metaphysical complexity whatsoever. For a good deal more than a millennium, veritable armies of philosophical theologians – Jewish, Christian and Islamic – proclaimed the truth and importance of divine simplicity. Yet in our own time, the doctrine has enjoyed no such support. Among many otherwise orthodox theists, those who do not just disregard it completely explicitly deny it. However, in a couple of recent articles, William E. Mann has attempted to expound the idea of divine simplicity anew and to defend it against a number of criticisms. He even has gone so far as to hint at reaffirming its importance, suggesting that the doctrine may have a significant amount of explanatory power and other theoretical virtue as part of an overall account of the nature of God, by either entailing or in other ways providing for much else that traditional theists have wanted to say about God. In this paper, I want to take a close look at Mann's formulation of the doctrine and at a general supporting theory he adumbrates in his attempt to render more plausible, or at least more defensible, various of its elements and implications. As Mann has made what is arguably the best attempt to defend the doctrine in recent years, I think that such an examination is important and will repay our efforts
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0034412500017418
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,078
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Simplicity and Properties: A Reply to Morris.William E. Mann - 1986 - Religious Studies 22 (3-4):343 - 353.
Logic and Divine Simplicity.Anders Kraal - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (4):282-294.
Divine Properties, Parts, and Parity.Joseph Stenberg - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 75 (5):388-405.
Divine Commands, Christian Platonism and God's Nature.Paul Rooney - 1996 - Heythrop Journal 37 (2):155–175.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Simply Impossible: A Case Against Divine Simplicity.R. T. Mullins - 2013 - Journal of Reformed Theology 7 (2):181-203.
Divine Simplicity.Mohammad Saeedimehr - 2007 - Topoi 26 (2):191-199.
On God and Mann: A View of Divine Simplicity.Thomas V. Morris - 1985 - Religious Studies 21 (3):299 - 318.
Divine Simplicity: WILLIAM E. MANN.William E. Mann - 1982 - Religious Studies 18 (4):451-471.
Making Sense of Divine Simplicity.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (1):3-30.
The Deadlock of Absolute Divine Simplicity.Yann Schmitt - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (1):117-130.
Simplicity and Aseity.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2009 - In Thomas P. Flint & Michael C. Rea (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press. pp. 105-28.
Jonathan Edwards on Divine Simplicity.Oliver D. Crisp - 2003 - Religious Studies 39 (1):23-41.
Divine Simplicity.William E. Mann - 1982 - Religious Studies 18 (4):451 - 471.


Added to PP index

Total views
36 ( #313,611 of 2,498,795 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #421,542 of 2,498,795 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes