Christianity and Paradox: Critical Studies in Twentieth- Century Theology

By Ronald W. Hepburn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
HISTORICITY AND RISK (2)

I

O NE English theologian whose apologetic works are widely read is Professor Alan Richardson.1 Perhaps equally influential is the Theological Word Book of the Bible, which he edited, and to which he contributed several of the main articles. The problem of historicity is prominent in these works, and his treatment of it deserves serious discussion here. We shall confine our attention in this chapter almost entirely to Professor Richardson's approach, rather than skim superficially over a plurality of theories. We shall find that several of the ideas already discussed reappear in this writer (a further testimony to their importance in contemporary British thought), but Richardson adds original arguments at many points and provides a particularly interesting account of miracles.

In his book Christian Apologetics we meet the same paradox as in Macquarrie An Existentialist Theology. First, the Christian faith 'is bound up with certain happenings in the past, and if these happenings could be shown never to have occurred, or to have been quite different from the biblical-Christian account of them, then the whole edifice of Christian faith, life and worship would be found to have been built on sand'.2 It would surely seem to follow that historical criticism could conceivably falsify belief. But the reader will be conditioned by this stage against bewilder

____________________
1
See especially his Christian Apologetics ( London: S.C.M., 1947).
2
Christian Apologetics, p. 91.

-112-

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