Blake Thomas Ostler (born 1957) is an American philosopher, theologian, and lawyer. His numerous writings on the topics of Mormon theology, philosophy, and thought are among the best in the Latter-day Saint community.
Ostler was born in 1957 in Murray, Utah. Ostler received his B.A. in philosophy and B.S. in psychobiology in 1981 from Brigham Young University (BYU). He received his J.D. as a William Leary Scholar from the University of Utah in 1985. In each of his these degrees, Ostler graduated with honors. He is a practicing attorney specializing in education law, commercial litigation; franchise law and litigation, construction law and litigation, property and development law and litigation educational law, employment law and intellectual property.
Ostler has published widely on Mormon philosophy in journals such as Religious Studies, International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Studies and the FARMS Review of Books. He is best known for his award winning and groundbreaking four volume series entitled Exploring Mormon Thought. The first volume addresses the attributes of God from a Mormon perspective. Ostler argues that God cannot know what acts a person will freely do in the future. The first volume also expounds a Mormon Christology or theory of Christ as both fully human and fully divine at once. The second volume addresses Mormon soteriology or theory of salvation. The third volume addresses the relation of the Israelite council of gods, the early Christian view of the Godhead and the angel of Yahweh, and finally analyzes the Mormon view of the Godhead as a social trinity that reconciles these views. The fourth volume (due to be published in 2014) addresses an epistemology of spiritual or testimony experiences in the Mormon tradition and the problem of evil. Ostler presents three different approaches to theodicy (explanation of why God allows evils) based upon three very different views of God's relation to the natural universe in Mormon thought—a naturalistic theodicy, a process theodicy and a Plan of Atonement theodicy. Ostler has also published a short volume relying on continental philosophers in the existential tradition Martin Buber and Søren Kierkegaard.
Ostler accepts the Book of Mormon as an actual historical account, but as edited and expanded in light of Joseph Smith's vocabulary and capacity for expression within his world view. He argues that it is a modern expansion of an ancient document. Because Ostler adopts the Expansion Theory, he affirms that the Book of Mormon was translated through the gift of God and reflects a revelation of the content of an ancient source though we have access only to its modern translation.
- Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God (October 1, 2001) ISBN 1-58958-003-6
- Exploring Mormon Thought: The Problems With Theism And the Love of God (March 2006) ISBN 1-58958-095-8
- Exploring Mormon Thought: Of God and Gods (April 2008) ISBN 1-58958-107-5
- "Fire on the Horizon'"A Meditation on the Endowment and Love of Atonement ISBN 978-1-58958-553-9 (paperback) (2013)
- BYU online library catalog entry for Of God and Gods (2008)
- "Biography". Blake Ostler's Mormon Publications Site. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- See Blake Ostler, "The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source," Dialogue 20:1 (Spring 1987) 66-123 review of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, by John A. Tvedtnes in FARMS Review
- http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2005/04/updating-the-expansion-theory/ Accessed on April 8, 2009.
- Maxwell Institute author bio page
- Blake Ostler's Mormon Publications Site
- Blake Ostler (MormonWiki.org; evangelical wiki on Mormonism)