Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A friendly critique of Küng’s view vis-à-vis miracles Pt 1 of 2

3) So, what are my difficulties with Küng’s presentation in Der Anfang Aller Dinge?

3a) I wonder if the ‘modern people’ he wishes to give ‘a helpful answer to’, are indeed modern? Modernist, yes, but modern? A generation raised on ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, and such like, don’t, I think, have the slightest problem with miracles. The point: His claimed apologetic motives are, I suspect, simply out-of-date for many.

3b) Ben Myers quotes Küng’s Christ Sein in his comments to his first post on this subject: ‘[T]here is no question here of all or nothing, of everything being legendary or nothing being legendary. There is no need at all either to accept all miracle stories in an uncritical, fundamentalist spirit as historical facts..., or, on the other hand in a spirit of narrow-minded rationalism to refuse to take any miracle stories seriously. The hasty conclusion is a result of putting all miracle stories on the same plane’ (p. 229). This crucial comment, or something like it, is, however, missing in Der Anfang Aller Dinge.

3c) ‘In the Hebrew Bible and in the NT, nowhere does one differentiate between miracles that correspond to the laws of nature, and those that explode (sprengen) them’ (p. 171). This is, I suggest, an oversimplification of the epistemological Unterscheidungskraft of the ancients in the near east, who were quite aware of those things that normally happened, and those that didn’t. This is bordering, to use a C.S. Lewis phrase, on chronological snobbery.

Labels: ,


At 6/28/2006 6:08 AM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

I wonder the real value in trying to figure out which are which. The fact of 'historicity' regarding a miracle story does not detract from its deeper theological meaning. Nor does a deeper theological meaning relegate a miracle account to the realm of fiction. There is value in the story and the meaning.

Also I think, as Protestants, we sometimes miss the value of hagiographic accounts. They stimulate what O'Donoghue calls the Imaginal. That sacred imagination that lets us imagine God is greater than any circumstance or accident of creation that might have us pinned. We have hedged that sort of thing out in our pursuit of rationalism. But, you are right, measures of the culture like Buffy do reveal a desire to move back towards story that has a more imaginal quality.

At 6/28/2006 7:43 PM, Anonymous Mike L said...


I don't have Küng's new book and don't read German. However, I've commented on Küng on miracles in the past and am in complete sympathy with the tenor of your remarks. I would welcome your contribution to my debate with Ben Myers on the topic of miracles.


At 6/28/2006 11:09 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Frank
"Also I think, as Protestants, we sometimes miss the value of hagiographic accounts" - I agree! I like the phrase 'imaginal quality'. Did you get that from Brueggemann?

Hi Mike l,
Yes, I've been reading your carefully agrgued posts with interest. Thanks for the link.

At 6/29/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

No from Noel Dermot O'Donoghue, from "The Mountain Behind the Mountain: Aspect of the Celtic Tradition".


Post a Comment

<< Home