Date of Award

1983

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Raoul F. Dederen

Second Advisor

Fritz Guy

Third Advisor

Gerhard F. Hasel

Abstract

This investigation studies the possibility of developing a theological criticism of Christian theological reason. The investigation proceeds by developing a phenomenological analysis of three major contexts within which reason has been interpreted and utilized by Christian theology for the constitution of its exegetical and systematic formulations: the philosophical, theological, and Biblical contexts. The philosophical context shows that the structure of reason requires the interpretation of Being's dimensionality which determines its basic meaning and functioning. Moreover, it shows that Being's dimensionality has been interpreted in two ways: as timeless and as temporal.

The theological context, through the analysis of reason's procedures as a tool for the constitution of meaning in Thomas Aquinas's and Rudolf Bultmann's systems, shows that theology has depended on philosophical critic is m of reason and its classical timeless interpretation of Being's dimensionality. Thomas's system, and with him conservative theology, follows the Aristotelian interpretation of reason while Bultmann's system, and with him liberal theology, follows the Kantian interpretation. The Biblical context, through the analysis of Exodus 3:14, the locus classicus for the discussion about Being in Scripture, shows that theological criticism of theological reason is possible and that Biblical reflection on Being interprets its dimensionality as temporal. Moreover, considering the facts that the philosophical context uncovers the hypothetical nature of reason, and that Christian theology is rooted in the conceptuality of the Biblical reflection in which it is grounded, it is suggested that criticism of theological reason should be developed following the temporal interpretation of Being as rooted and developed in Scriptures.

On this basis it is further suggested that such a criticism should be able to provide theology with the necessary starting point for advancing beyond the alternatives provided by the Aristotelian and Kantian interpretations of reason that so far have conditioned the interpretation and actual functioning of reason as a tool for the constitution of Christian theological meanings.

Subject Area

Reason, Christianity--Philosophy, Andrews University--Dissertations--Reason.

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