Divine Revelation as Rectrix Stella: A Contextual Analysis of Wilfrid Ward's Theology of Revelation

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Theology


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: William Portier


Wilfrid Ward's understanding of divine revelation appeared in three phases. In the first, Ward confronted "agnosticism" and "positivism," which resulted in an exploration into the nature of mysticism in the saints, as well as an explanation of the saints as an authority for the church's reception of divine revelation. Ward's second phase took place at the height of the modernist controversies, in which he was embroiled in disputes of George Tyrrell concerning the nature of the deposit of faith and our explication of the deposit and whether the initial revelation can be considered semper eadem. Ward's third, and final, phase of his theology of divine revelation returns in part to his interest in the nature of "imagination" and "conscience" and their role in the reception of divine revelation. Many of the questions concerning divine revelation that Ward expounds upon are still with us today. This dissertation looks at the foundational questions of Ward's theology of revelation, which includes his understanding of the reception of divine revelation by Christian subjects as it manifests within the context of his three theological phases.


Religion, Religious History, Theology, modernist crisis, modernism, Wilfrid Ward, John Henry Newman, science and religion, Synthetic Society, revelation, Christian revelation, Divine Revelation, religion and science, George Tyrrell, George Mivart

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