THE KNOWLEDGE OF THINGS HOPED FOR: The Sense of Theological Discourse by Robert W. Jenson

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THINGS HOPED FOR: The Sense of Theological Discourse

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The Christian's language about God has become unintelligible to its hearers. Today, the resistance to the Gospel comes not from unbelief but from the incomprehensibility of its language. ""What do you mean--if anything?"" is the primary question. Out of this situation, the author addresses the question whether it is possible to have a language of religion, with its own purposes and rules. Such a language would be meaningful to ""those who need it""--but this leaves the question, he recognizes, of ""who needs it?"" The problem cannot be resolved by translating traditional terminology into new terms. Rather, the deeper levels of the structure of language and of its logic must be examined. For the Christian, this examination leads to the question of the possibility of ""faith language"" arising out of the ""faith situation."" The argument of the book draws in a significant measure from the thought of Wittgenstein. It seeks, however, to move beyond the earlier levels of the analytical positivists. The author believes that the logical positivists are ""nearly extinct."" At the root of the problem is the question of the relation between talk about God and the kind of talk called scientific. The author reviews the work of Origen and St. Thomas bearing upon the question of religious language before coming to the contemporary linguistic analysts and the hermeneuticians. A substantial contribution to the subject, but limited to students and scholars in the field.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1969
Publisher: Oxford