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Re: [John_Lit] authorship/philosophy of religion (re: Daniel McGrady)

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  • John M. Noble
    Daniel McGrady, Thanks for your comments. I have a couple of remarks in response to what you say about Kant, but since it is off topic, I ll try to keep it
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 24, 2005
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      Daniel McGrady,

      Thanks for your comments. I have a couple of
      remarks in response to what you say about Kant,
      but since it is off topic, I'll try to keep it
      brief.

      >What became
      >central for Kant was how all knowledge was not
      >based on either Reason or Experience
      >but realized through their mediation in what he called the Transcendental 
      >Imagination. The relevance in short is this, that there are eternal, divine
      >truths, realities that are known to us as the very conditions of experience
      >and existence. Thus even on a purely Kantian basis, the Logos is highly
      >relevant.

      I view Kant as basically rationalist; even the
      title of his book 'Religion within the Limits of
      Mere Reason' suggests this. In the first part of
      that book, he develops his doctrine of radical
      evil. But in the second part, he seems to take
      back what he said in the first. (In the first
      part, he declares the will to be indissoluble and
      therefore responsible for evil, yet in the second
      he once more divides the will into a good part
      and a bad part and ascribes to the good part, as
      the true self, the power to overcome the evil
      part).

      He stops short of admitting the irrational nature
      of evil, which would have been the inevitable
      consequence. He is therefore still able to pursue
      a philosophy which is basically rationalist. Had
      he retained his doctrine of radical evil, then
      the Logos would have been highly relevant, but he
      didn't. His basic philosophy 'I ought, therefore
      I can' renders redundant 'the Word became flesh'.

      >If you read Heidegger, you will see that philosophy begins with being and 
      >not with ideas. I.e. the first priority of philosophy is not to know, or to
      >believe, or to have an idea about, but to be. This distinguishes philosophy
      >from the sciences, including Theology. You
      >could on that basis say that only
      >philosophy seeks to counter Gnosticism which pursues salvation through
      >knowledge.

      As far as I understand it, Heidegger isn't very
      well understood and I do not understand his
      statement here. But I would say exactly the
      opposite of your conclusion; all the major
      Western philosophies seem to present a system to
      overcome the separation from the Divine. But none
      of them accept the fact which the moral sense
      calls 'evil'. It is not that they do not see
      this; they all interpret it in a different sense.
      Kant came close, but then he withdrew. As a
      result, they are all a form of Gnosticism.

      >As soon as in issue of Logos becoming flesh is raised philosophy is 
      >essentially involved. It is the question of how
      >the Logos instantiates itself. How
      >does the divine Logos become co-present in something individual? We have
      >the same problem in language. How does a
      >meaning, which is non-material become
      >united with the material signifier in order to form a word? Is a mediator
      >required?

      My initial point was not that philosophy was not
      involved, but rather that the prevalent view of
      philosophy among the Christian community within
      the first century would decide whether or not
      there existed people in the second and third
      centuries who were considered to have the
      authority to edit the sacred texts.

      >If John is to disclose the Christ, the Logos made flesh, as 'the once and
      >for all revelation', it must be of the Logos as
      >such rather than any idea about
      >the Logos. He must show the way to the present, self-manifesting Logos
      >through the flesh beyond which it is impossible
      >to go. He must demonstrate it
      >(or rather this 'who') as the self-disclosing expression of eternal life.

      Agreed.

      John M. Noble

      Linköping, Sweden
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