Re: History and Theology

> This was then discussed by many.  I would like to make a point in reference
> to Christianity's being a historical religion.  The central focus of
> Christianity is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  The truth or
> falsity of this focus lies in the historical.  The theology of Christianity
> is built around this central ideology.  If one tampers with the history,
> one tampers with the theology as well.  And so it is with all the other
> statements concerning Jesus.  If they are placed under historical
> suspicion, then the theology becomes suspicious as well.  Historical
> questions concerning the authenticity of Jesus' statements will necessarily
> affect theology.  Thus, I do not think that history and theology can be
> separated so, given the historical nature of the Christian religion.
> Kevin Cauley
> raycaul@utxvms.cc.utexas.edu

I find it ironic that in the great debates between Fundamentalism and
Modernism (which ultimately lie behind statements such as the one
above), neither side noticed that Fundamentalism had unconsciously
adopted a philosophical premise of Modernism, namely, that if something
can be shown to be unhistorical, it is therefore untrue.  This link
between truth and history is not a necessary one.  It is an artifact of
Modernist philosophy.

Critical scholarship has, I think, proven quite well that Christianity
is as mythological as any other world religion.  To claim otherwise is
to engage in wishful thinking of a Modernist sort.  The assertion that
Christianity (or the western monotheistic tradition) is superior to
eastern religions because they are mythological but we are historical,
is an old neo-Orthodox (Barthian?) cavil.  It just ain't so.  

If you really want to escape from the evils of modernism, don't attack
historical scholarship (which is, I admit, modernist), but learn
that truth can be communicated through poetry and myth and parable as
well as -- perhaps better than -- through history.


p.s., I don't have time to explain this right now.  I've got a big pile
of papers to mark.  In fact, I'm probably going to regret sending

Sterling G. Bjorndahl, bjorndahl@Augustana.AB.CA or bjorndahl@camrose.uucp
Augustana University College, Camrose, Alberta, Canada      (403) 679-1516
  When dealing with computers, a little paranoia is usually appropriate.