The Inner Form of Experience

Between sacred story and the mundane stories there is a mediating form the form of the experiencing consciousness itseif. For consciousness is moulded by the sacred story to which it awakens, and in turn it finds expression in the mundane stories that articulate its sense of reality. But consciousness itself is not a blank. Consciousness has a form of its own, without which no coherent experience at all would be possible.5 Aside from that formidable inconvenience, it is difficult to see how a...

I

In recent years appeals to narrative and to story have been increasingly prominent in scholarly circles, to the delight of some, the consternation of others, and the bewilderment of many. Such appeals have caused delight in that narrative and story appear to provide a cure, if not a panacea, to a variety of Enlightenment illnesses rationalism, monism, decisionism, objectivism, and other isms. Or so some defenders of narrative claim. The appeals have caused consternation in that the focus on...

Faith in Our History

The distinction between history as known by the pure and as apprehended by the practical reason, though it raises difficulties that must be met, does assist us to understand how it is possible for the word revelation to point to history and yet point to God also. It cannot point to God, as we have noted, if the history to which it directs attention is the chain of events that an impersonal eye or mind apprehends. For such history, abstracting from human selves, must also abstract events from...

Modernity and Revolution An Intemperate Conclusion

The form of consciousness to which we apply the name modernity seems to represent a transformation as radical, though of a different sort, as that celebrated by Clement, Some have even suggested the emergence of a yet new sensibility, so new and inchoate that it can oniy be designated post-modern. All this is too close to us to speak of it with much assurance, but I yield to the temptation to offer some suggestions that bear on our theme. I have argued that experience is molded, root and...

The Narrative Quality of Experience I Mundane Stories and Sacred Stories

There are powerful grounds for thinking that narrative form is artifice that it is simply one of the ways we organize a life of experience that is in itself inchoate. We are being reminded nowadays that stories are fictions after all.4 Of course there have been many forms of narrative epic, drama, history, the novel, and so on and our knowledge of the origins and development of such genres has given us a keen impression of their cultural and historical relativity. Furthermore, among some of the...

The Gospel Story and the Hermeneutics of Mediating Theology

The chief beneficiary of this conservatism in general biblical hermeneutics was the New Testament story. Everyone who believed that the sense of the gospel narratives is the history of Jesus the Messiah believed also that the notion of historical salvation or revelation is itself meaningful. On the other hand, people who beiieved that monotheism, immortality, and the realization of man's happiness through altruism are the substance of man's religion, equally available to all men at all times...

Religious Apologetics and the Loss of Narrative Reading

The left-wing opponents of meditating and supernaturalist theology had of course to deny that these texts had to be read in this particular way, grounding religions in factual historical assertions. But mediating and left-wing parties were agreed that the criteria for what makes sense, as well as what can be religiously or morally significant, were general whether or not the Bible provides us with reliable factual information, and whether or not this information is what the texts providing it...

The Historical Method of Christian Faith

Our self-consciously historical time accepts the limitations of the historical point of view with a sense of constraint and an air of resignation. In this situation, however, we do well to remind ourselves that the Christian community has usually and particularly in times of its greatest vigor used an historical method. Apparently it felt that to speak in confessional terms about the events thac had happened to it in its his-torv was not a burdensome necessity but rather an advantage and that...