Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Schwöbel and the cause of the christological crisis

II – Christologie und die trinitarische Logik christlicher Rede von Gott

In the second part of his essay, Schwöbel argues that these aspects of the christological crisis are really aspects of the one same syndrome. The crisis of modern Christology is caused by the neglected appreciation for the Trinitarian logic of the Christian understanding of God, and the implications of this for our understanding of the human being. Or, in a word, the problem is Trinitätsvergessenheit.

A brief sketch of the Trinitarian logic of Christian faith is then undertaken, starting with the OT roots. He thinks there are specifically two strands in the OT which influence the picture on the NT. One focuses more on the particularity of God and is united with a more universal  vision, seen in wisdom literature, a movement which also underlies an eschatological dimension .[1] New identifying descriptions of God are found in the NT which speak of God’s identity in terms of Christ, and as such reflect the particularising identity of God in the history of Israel, giving God’s identity in relation to Christ an irreducible narrative form.  The OT universalising vision is likewise reflected in NT christological language (Col. 1:16 etc.). The identification of God in Christ is also formulated in a post-Pentecost era; God and Christ are experienced through the Spirit. This happens not simply as a consequence of the Christ-event; the Spirit is constitutive of the Christ-event. With a little more simplicity than the NT allows, Schwöbel summarises the significance: ‘Der Geist, durch den der Vater sich zum Sohn und der Sohn sich zum Vater in Beziehung setzt, ist der Geist, durch den der Vater sich durch den Sohn zur Kirche in Beziehung setzt und in dem die Kirche durch den Sohn sich zum Vater in Beziehung setzt’ (270).[2] Either way, it remains clear that believers relate to God liturgically, in the economy of salvation and within the eschatological narrative, in terms of this Trinitarian structure. Indeed, Schwöbel is insistent that these Christian practices reflect a proto-Trinitarian deep structure.

This all leads to the important conclusion: ‘Es ist diese trinitarische Logik des christlichen Glaubens, die den Interpretationsrahmen bereitstellte, in dem sich christologische Reflexion über die Identität Jesu Christi entwickelte’ (272). And it is out of the perspective of this Trinitarian structure that the divinity of Christ cannot be understood if the temporal and bodily humanity of Christ is denied, and likewise the humanity of Christ cannot be understood if it is not at the same time grasped as the self-identification of God in this human’s life.

[1] I am not sure he should be so confident that it is ‘von auschlaggebender Bedeutung’ that specifically ‘die Identifikation Gottes in diesen beiden Strängen’ are so key to understanding NT texts (see p. 267), but the basic point is accepted: NT Christology accepts and modifies a canonical OT monotheistic vision (rightly understood!).

[2] Certainly Paul, for example, can speak of such and such ‘through Christ’, but I think that the older Religionsgeschichtliche Schule expressed the matter more precisely when they spoke of the ‘peculiar thoroughgoing duplication’ of the object of religious faith and veneration (so Bousset, Kyrios Christos, 205). Christ is also, and more often, the one to (not simply through) whom Christians relate.



At 9/07/2011 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Real cause of this crisis is because it is no longer tenable, and never was in any sense true either.

Please find a completely different Understanding of the universal, non-Christian, non-sectarian Spirit-Breathing Spiritual Way of Life taught and demonstrated by Jesus while he was alive.


A critique of the mommy-daddy "creator"-God of conventional exoteric religiosity


On the complete absence of psychic depth in conventional exoteric religiosity. Such depth is essentially even TABOO.



Also God Is the Deep of the World www.dabase.org/dht7.htm


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