Realist Christian Theology in a Postmodern Age

Realist Christian Theology in a Postmodern Age

Realist Christian Theology in a Postmodern Age

Realist Christian Theology in a Postmodern Age


This book cuts new ground in bringing together traditional Christian theological perspectives on truth and reality with a contemporary philosophical view of the place of language in both divine and wordly reality. Patterson seeks to reconcile the requirements that Christian theology should both take account of postmodern insights concerning the inextricability of language and world as well as taking God's truth to be absolute for all reality. Yet it is not simply about theological language and truth as such. Instead Patterson asks: where does language fit in divine and human reality? Patterson's discussion straddles realist, liberal-revisionist and postliberal theological schools, and critiques their various positions before going on to utilise selectively their insights to develop and apply a theological model of 'language-ridden' reality. This model affirms that worldly reality has a radical dependence on God. Finally, the book explores the theological and ethical implications of the model it proposes.


Colin Gunton has suggested that the concept of 'person' is ontologically and logically primitive—the 'idea' in terms of which other concepts are understood, an idea which can only be grasped (like language-games) in respect to particular instances. the task of this chapter is to examine the nature and relation of divine and human personhood. This will be done by first constructing a 'language-ridden'.lb /> Christian anthropology from below—that is, in its horizontal aspects with a view to drawing this anthropology inside its vertical component. Second, the nature of divine personhood will be explored in relation to human personhood. It will be suggested that incarnation is the linchpin between immanent and economic trinitarian realities that draws human personhood into participation with divine personhood and enables us to know what God is like.

The intention is to provide a programmatic sketch of a series of burgeoning implications of a 'language-ridden' theistic (and incarnational) realism for the doctrine of God and Christian anthropology (including the doctrine of sin and ethics) which will beg a great deal of further development in terms of both delving deeper into the areas already covered and generalizing sideways into other areas of Christian doctrine.

Language and relation

Gunton argues that a relational model best describes the complex pluriformity of contemporary reality. Personal distinctness is constituted in relation. Everything is constituted as what it uniquely is in relation to everything else. It follows that 'persons also are constituted in their . . .

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