Divine Simplicity: A Bibliography

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 28, 2009 in Resources

Please comment with suggestions and additions. I will keep this page updated. Please email articles I don’t already have to lukeprog [at] gmail.

Ordered by publication date. Use Ctrl+F to search by name or title.

  • Bennett, Daniel. “The Divine Simplicity” (1969, The Journal of Philosophy).
  • Mann, William. “The Divine Attributes” (1975, American Philosophical Quarterly).
  • La Croix, Richard. “Augustine on the Simplicity of God” (1977, New Scholasticism).
  • Burrell, David. Aquinas: God and Action (1979).
  • Wainwright, William. “Augustine on God’s Simplicity: A Reply” (1979, New Scholasticism).
  • La Croix, Richard. “Wainwright, Augustine, and God’s Simplicity: A Final Word” (1979, New Scholasticism).
  • Plantinga, Alvin. Does God Have a Nature? (1980). [starting at page 26]
  • Mann, William. “Divine Simplicity” (1982, Religious Studies).
  • Mann, William. “Simplicity and Immutability in God” (1983, International Philosophical Quarterly).
  • Morris, Thomas. “Properties, Modalities, and God” (1984, Philosophical Review).
  • Morris, Thomas. “On God and Mann: A View of Divine Simplicity” (1985, Religious Studies).
  • Stump, Eleonore and Kretzmann, Norman. “Absolute Simplicity” (1985, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Mann, William. “Simplicity and Properties: A Reply to Morris” (1986, Religious Studies).
  • Stump, Eleonore and Kretzmann, Norman. “Simplicity Made Plainer: A Reply to Ross’ ‘Absolute Simplicity’” (1987, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Morris, Thomas. “Dependence and Divine Simplicity” (1988, International journal for philosophy of religion)
  • Burns, Robert. “The Divine Simplicity in Thomas Aquinas” (1989, Religious Studies).
  • Dewan, Lawrence. “Saint Thomas, Alvin Plantinga, and the Divine Simplicity” (1989, Modern Schoolman).
  • Hughes, Christopher. On a Complex Theory of a Simple God (1989).
  • Leftow, Brian. “Is God an Abstract Object?” (1990, Nous)
  • Wolterstorff, Nicholas. “Divine Simplicity” (1991, Philosophical Perspectives).
  • Vallicella, William. “Divine Simplicity: A New Defense” (1992, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Miller, Barry. “On ‘Divine Simplicity: A New Defense’” (1994, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Kelly, Charles. “Classical Theism and the Doctrine of the Trinity” (1994, Religious Studies).
  • Vallicella, William. “On Property Self-Exemplification: Rejoinder to Miller” (1994, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Hughes, Gerard. The Nature of God (1995). [chapter 2]
  • Miller, Barry. A Most Unlikely God (1996).
  • Rogers, Katherin. “The Traditional Doctrine of Divine Simplicity” (1996, Religious Studies).
  • Wynn, Mark. “Simplicity, Personhood, and Divinity” (1997, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion).
  • Vallicella, William. “Review of Barry Miller, ‘A Most Unlikely God’” (1999, Dialogue).
  • O’Connor, Timothy. “Simplicity and Creation” (1999, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Holmes, Steven. “Something Much Too Plain to Say: Towards a Defense of the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity” (2001, Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie).
  • Vallicella, William. A Paradigm Theory of Existence: Onto-Theology Vindicated (2002).
  • Kaufman, Dan. “Divine Simplicity and the Eternal Truths in Descartes” (2003, British journal for the history of philosophy).
  • Pruss, Alexander. “On Three Problems of Divine Simplicity” (2003).
  • Oppy, Graham. “The Devilish Complexities of Divine Simplicity” (2003, Philo).
  • Richard, Jay Wesley. The Untamted God (2003).
  • Davidson, Matthew. “God and Other Necessary Beings” (2005, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
  • Franks, Christopher. “The Simplicity of the Living God: Aquinas, Barth, and Some Philosophers” (2005, Modern Theology).
  • Vallicella, William. “Divine Simplicity” (2006, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
  • Nash-Marshall, Siobhan. “Nash-Marshall – Properties, Conflation, and Attribution, the Monologion and Divine Simplicity” (2007, The Saint Anselm Journal).
  • Brower, Jeffrey. “Making Sense of Divine Simplicity” (2008, Faith and Philosophy).
  • Gwiazda, Jeremy. “Richard Swinburne’s argument to the simplicity of God via the infinite” (2009, Religious Studies).
  • Swinburne, Richard. “How the divine properties fit together: reply to Gwiazda” (2009, Religious Studies).

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Taranu September 28, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Is this related to the book you are writing or do you intend to start a new post series with this topic?


lukeprog September 28, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Divine simplicity is pretty boring to me. I suppose I may write on it eventually.


Ben September 29, 2009 at 1:17 am

Thanks. I’ve been needing to look up these references.


lukeprog September 29, 2009 at 4:32 am

I’ll be uploading lots of these papers in a bit.


Ben September 29, 2009 at 5:07 am


Luke, why do you find this topic boring? Some of these defenses to divine simplicity are simply hilarious classic examples of trying to defend circular squarisms. :D



Brian September 29, 2009 at 5:59 am

Burrell, David B. Aquinas: God and Action ([1979] 2003). An excellent treatment properly understanding divine simplicity in Aquinas as an apophatic qualifier within the domain of analogical predication. Had Plantinga taken this book to heart, he would have had no issues to deal with.

“If this be a ‘doctrine of God,’ it is a dreadfully austere one. Taken as a doctrine of God, it spawns the notorious God of ‘classical theism,’ not unrelated to Blake’s Nobodaddy. But a perceptive reader would think twice before identifying a deliberate consideration of what God is not with a teaching presuming to say what God is. We could expect a doctrine of God to state what God is like, yet Aquinas is clear enough in warning us not to expect that of him. Nevertheless, commentators and critics alike have assumed that he is offering just that – a doctrine of God – in questions 3 through 11.” p. 13

These next ones might actually offend a few Eastern Orthodox as recommendations on a list for understanding divine simplicity:

Zizioulas, John Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (1985) The first hundred pages or so are simply phenomenal. He presents, among other things, an etymological evolution of the notion of personhood within the mid to later Grec-Roman world, and the appropriation of such by early Christians, and the culmination of the Cappidocians in their specific articulation of the Trinity. The result was philosophically and theologically revolutionary: an articulation of the Trinity by which the three persons are both one substance yet 3 subsistences, within the backdrop of Plotinian neo-Platonism; philosophically revolutionary because it is at this moment in history where our notion of personhood as we know it emerged (and you do not have to be a Christian to recognize this or appreciate this; I am sure that someone as much as a fundamentalist as Dawkins could appreciate this, if he actually took the time to read theology, which he self admittedly does not.)
Idem. Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church (2007) Further articulation on similar themes: how the Cappidocians articulated how the persons of the Trinity are one and three, that the Father is the cause of the persons of the other two who are fully God – the One is also one of the three.

Hart, David Bentley – The Beauty of the Infinite (2003). Admittedly, if you have no acquaintance with Nietzsche, Kant, Deleuze, Derrida, Levinas, or Heiddeger then, at least the first portion of the book will be nigh impossible for you to understand why or what the hell he is arguing. But in the second section of the book is one of the best articulations of the Trinity in unity written in English as of recent. He writes very, very well (and the book is much better, in my opinion, than his recent Atheist Delusions – his treatment of Dennett is pretty hilarious in an earlier article, ‘Daniel Dennett Hunts the Snark’ – http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/01/003-daniel-dennett-hunts-the-snark-15) – nothing to do with divine simplicity, but relevant I am sure for your web site).


lukeprog September 29, 2009 at 7:14 am

Thanks, Brian!


lukeprog September 29, 2009 at 7:17 am

Ben: Luke, why do you find this topic boring? Some of these defenses to divine simplicity are simply hilarious classic examples of trying to defend circular squarisms.

For some reason I can’t even laugh at those defenses. All I can do is roll my eyes.


Ben September 29, 2009 at 7:26 am

For some reason I can’t even laugh at those defenses. All I can do is roll my eyes.

lol, fair enough. I can appreciate the abysmal angle as well.


J. Barrett September 30, 2009 at 8:49 pm

It would be lovely if you could be more clear which is an article and which is a book (besides using Amazon links). Specific journals and publishers would help and be great. Either way, though, thanks for providing the list


ILOVEJESUE December 16, 2009 at 8:24 pm

y’all are all wrong. you will see when Jesus comes back and talks to y’all, and you will be like “dang it, wish i’d listened to that guy on that one web site, he was right” don’t be wrong, find a church and learn the truth


james v January 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Of course all you can do is laugh… if one’s understanding of philosophical theology is unable to move beyond caricature.

Much of the development of the Western philosophical rigor (some of you revere) for better or worse arose from systematic grappling with these types of theological problems.


Thomas Harvey June 1, 2010 at 1:38 am

What about “Classical Theism and the Doctrine of the Trinity”
Charles J. Kelly
Religious Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Mar., 1994), pp. 67-88


Rinku Mathew June 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hello Luke,

You should add Jay Wesley Richard’s book The Untamed God to the list.



lukeprog June 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm



Haecceitas January 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Richards, not Richard. Untamed, not untamted.


James January 4, 2012 at 12:34 am

You might also add the historical study by Peter Weigel, “Aquinas on Simplicity” (Peter Lang, 2008).


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