Saturday, June 11, 2016

Theology, History, and Scholarly Objectivity (Philip Walker Butin)

Taken from Revelation, Redemption and Response: Calvin's Trinitarian Understanding of the Divine-Human Relationship, which is authored by P.W. Butin:

"I have no quarrel with the ideal of 'objectivity,'
properly conceived. If Yahweh alone is God, then at
least this fundamental truth obtains in all times and
places, whether or not it is acknowledged by human
beings" (p. 4).

While conceding the importance of objectivity,
"properly conceived," however, Butin adds:

"Within this conviction, however, it is for equally
theological reasons that I personally have no wish to
deny or critically overcome the contextual limitations
of my own historical and cultural standpoint. In my
view, the incarnation of Jesus Christ implies a
corresponding divine affirmation of the historical
particularity and contextuality of the church that is
his body and the individuals who comprise it. Happily,
this theological position comports well with certain
trends in recent general historiography. It is
increasingly acknowledged that historical figures
become significant precisely because of the
investments specific communities or individuals in the
present have in the living legacy they have left to
humankind" (ibid).


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