Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Fingerprints of God: Tracking the Divine Suspect through a History of Images

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Fingerprints of God: Tracking the Divine Suspect through a History of Images

Article excerpt

The Fingerprints of God: Tracking the Divine Suspect through a History of Images. By Robert Farrar Capon. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000. xv + 163 pp. $15.00 (paper).

Capon tells us that his theological writing has "been a matter of skipping stones--of landing lightly on serious subjects" (p. 80). That may well be, but he manages to produce in this instance a book with a sweeping thesis that could be summed up in an aphorism once used by Saint John of the Cross, to the effect that God, once having spoken His Word, need speak no more. More precisely, in a relatively small number of pages, Capon argues that there is an essential nexus between the inner Trinitarian life and the uttering of the Word in creation and incarnation. This dynamic is faintly discernible if one looks at the broad sweep of images found in the Scriptures without attempting to recast the images as propositions.

This scriptural discovery will not occur if one views the Bible as a kind of religious soft-drink machine that dispenses canned propositions, but it will happen if one understands that over the course of salvation history images arise, disappear, then reappear again in a thicker and denser fashion. In other words, Capon takes with utmost seriousness what the exegetical tradition from the beginning understood: the Scriptures must be read as a whole. Or, to use the felicitous phrase of the late Northrop Frye, everything in the Scriptures is self-referential. Hovering beneath Capon's work, then, is the theory of recapitulation, already found in the New Testament, and later elaborated by, among others, Irenaeus of Lyons in the second century. …

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