Re: MD Philosophy and Theology

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Mon Apr 07 2003 - 11:12:43 BST

  • Next message: Elizaphanian: "Re: MD Philosophy and Theology"

    Hi David, Scott, all,

    > DMB says:
    > Right. Myth and ritual is not the same as theology, but our discussion
    > be poorer if we left them out. They are intimately connected so that
    > theology is impossible without them. Their nature tells us a great deal
    > about what theology is up to, no?


    > DMB says:
    > They object because Bultman isn't literal enough.

    Bultmann was existentialist (as Scott points out). That was just as much of
    a problem as his 'de-mythologisation'.

    > I think its safe to say
    > that the liberal/conservative spectrum in Christian theology basically
    > revolves around not only how strictly, but also how literally the
    > are interprepeted.

    It's more complex than that. Remember that political website we all tried
    about six months ago, which rejected the single axis in favour of two? It's
    a bit like that - you can use conservative and liberal as one axis (defining
    the terms, of course) as long as you also use something like 'location of
    authority' as another (ie the difference between Bible and church tradition,
    roughly equivalent to Protestant or Catholic). So someone like Ratzinger is
    an extremely conservative Catholic, but he wouldn't agree with conservative
    Protestants about the literal nature of the Bible.

    > Nobody is denying that some theologians are also
    > philosophers, and nobody is saying all theologians and theologies are
    > literalists or fundamentalist by definition.

    I thought there *was* an element of that... If not, then we clearly have
    large areas of agreement.

    > But as Cambell puts it, our
    > time is marked by a "pathology of the symbol". Fundamentalists are just
    > most flamboyant example. Sure, the more "liberal" theologies and
    > are increasingly willing to speculate and deviate from their Church's
    > doctrines, and I applaude that, but guys like Alan Watts and Matthew Fox
    > still getting de-frocked for it.

    Here you identify 'church doctrine' with the 'literalists or
    fundamentalists' that you previously said wasn't the definition of theology.
    Would you accept that a 'mainstream' theologian - ie one that sees herself
    in perfect conformity with the teaching of her tradition - is not a
    'literalist or fundamentalist'?

    > Scott said:
    > A contemporary theologian is more likely to treat Christian myths more or
    > less as Campbell does.
    > DMB says:
    > I'd like to see some of that. I'd be thrilled to be wrong about this, but
    > suspect you are only talking about the "exceptional few", as Watts put it.

    Perhaps you should prepare to be thrilled... :o)

    > DMB says:
    > This too is an aspect of the pathology of the symbol. It may not be
    > literalism, but it misunderstands myth as something that is supposed to
    > appeal to the intellect. Thus my quotes about the living mythological
    > symbol, the one that turns you on immediately. The intellect can only come
    > along later to add its comments.

    I agree with this (but see also my comment to Scott).


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