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Abstract

While the impassibility debate has traditionally been construed in terms of whether God suffers, recent philosophy of religion has interpreted it in terms of whether God has emotions more generally. This article surveys the philosophical literature on divine im/passibility over the last 25 years, outlining major arguments for and against the idea that God has emotions. It argues that questions about the nature and value of emotions are at the heart of the im/passibility debate. More specifically, it suggests that presuppositions about the dichotomy between emotions and reason (or the ‘heart and the head’) have negatively impacted the debate. It contends that the debate can only move forward in response to serious reflection on our affects as we experience them, aided by historical and anthropological as well as contemporary philosophical perspectives.