Friday, September 02, 2011

Christology in total crisis

Christoph Schwöbel’s „Christologie und trinitarische Theologie“ is a fine essay is found in Schwöbel’s (highly recommended) book, Gott in Beziehung Gott: Studien zur Dogmatik (Mohr Siebeck, 2002). In the first (of five) parts, he describes what he calls Christologie in der Krise.

Schwöbel with Mr Miyagi Prof. Eiichi Katayanaga
Drawing largely on an essay by W. Härle, he makes three points. First, with reference to Lessing, is the antinomy between the “Historischen” and the “Letztgültigen” (or ultimate). This contrast can take many forms, and can label, for example the antinomies between contingent and necessary being, temporal and eternal, historical and metaphysical, functional and ontological etc. This then reflects the divide between biblical exegesis, on the one hand, and dogmatic theology on the others. The former is a historical discipline, while the latter concerns itself with metaphysical and ultimate. In systematic this is described, he adds, as a distinction between christologies “from below” and “from above”.

The second antinomy, again with reference to Lessing, is that between the past and the present. ‘Es scheint in der modernen Christologie nicht länger möglich zu sein, ein integriertes Bild von Jesu Christi Vergangenheit und von seiner Gegenwart für uns und für die Welt zu entwerfen‘ (261). This contrast is then felt in the question as to whether Christology should begin with the historical Jesus, or with the presence of the risen Lord of Christian confession.

Third, Schwöbel outlines the disjunction between ‘Sein’ and ‘Sinn’, ‘being’ and ‘meaning’. Famously, this contrast found expression, he argues, in Melanchthon’s dictum, ‘To know Christ is to know his benefits’ as well as in Bultmann’s kerygma. Here we see the fault lines between the Person and Work of Christ, between soteriology (meaning) and Christology (metaphysical speculation on being). We are often left with non-soteriological ontology or non-ontological soteriology.

These three antinomies confronts us, Schwöbel maintains, with a modern christological crisis which is a picture of disintegration.

What do you think? Fair cop?



At 9/03/2011 2:08 AM, Blogger psychodougie said...

why antinomies? aren't they just axes along which we understand the one Jesus?

i don't think i've every read Schwöbel, but why is he going back to pit Bultmann and Schweizer against one another, rather than recognising the both-and?

At 9/04/2011 1:30 AM, Blogger Weekend Fisher said...

Or ... how did Moltmann put it ... the task of theology is always evaluated against the historical Jesus, and the crucified Jesus of history is the one that was proclaimed as the risen Lord of the kerygma (or words to that effect). If they're separated they're going to fall into disintegration; but they need not be separated.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

At 9/04/2011 9:47 AM, Anonymous Andrew Perriman said...

"Both... and" is a metaphysical sleight of hand. It's too easy. It doesn't answer any questions. This is where some sort apocalyptic narrative framework is required.

At 9/04/2011 6:57 PM, Anonymous Petteri Punakuono said...

I will never comment your blog again. There! I said it.

At 9/06/2011 1:04 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Andrew, would be interested to hear how an apocalyptic narrative might help with these antinomies.

Psychodougie, I highly recommend Schwoebel!

Thanks, Ann. Yes, nice way of puting it, and a key question becomes how that works in practice (which Schwoebel tries to argue)

At 9/06/2011 1:32 AM, Blogger psychodougie said...

yeah i dunno, these systematicians...

i don't think ricoeur (subject of my thesis) would be very happy with me reading him...

At 9/06/2011 1:37 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Ah, if that is your subject, have you read chap. 13 of Harrisville's The Bible in Modern Culture? I ordered the book yesterday.

At 9/06/2011 2:02 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Oh, and I'll bung up a summary of the second part of his essay tomorrow evening

At 9/06/2011 2:34 AM, Blogger psychodougie said...

hey thanks - will get it from the library asap - looks good.

does the end of p283 perhaps speak to schwöbel? resisting the separation of knowledge into two separate worlds.

that said, amazon cuts off the next page so i can't get the context!

look forward to reading it.


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