Download Biblical Faith and Natural Theology: The Gifford Lectures by James Barr PDF

By James Barr

Do humans learn about God simply by being humans? Or do they want precise divine tips, in the course of the Bible and the church? typical theology used to be lengthy accredited as a uncomplicated factor in all theology, yet within the 20th century it used to be rejected by means of very important theologians, in particular Karl Barth. His perspectives denied all typical theology and positioned larger emphasis at the Bible. yet what if the Bible itself makes use of, will depend on, and helps typical theology? Professor Barr the following pursues those questions in the Bible itself and in the historical past of rules, past and newer; and he appears at their implications for faith and theology within the future.

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Additional info for Biblical Faith and Natural Theology: The Gifford Lectures for 1991: Delivered in the University of Edinburgh (Clarendon Paperbacks)

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None of this diction, then, means that Paul supposed his audience to be devoid of all knowledge relevant to the knowledge of the true God. If he had thought there was absolutely no knowledge there, he would no doubt have taken a quite other line, going through the patriarchs and Moses, the kings and prophets, as much modern theology would have liked him to do. But Paul, if he did not think there was total darkness there, did not necessarily think that there was a great deal of light either. He does not offer an evaluation of Greek culture.

Thus Barrett in his commentary tells us that: ‘It is not Paul's intention in this and the following verses to establish a natural theology; nor does he create one unintentionally. ’54 And again, a little later: ‘Paul does not teach that there exist rational means of proving from creation that God exists. ’ Now before we go further we can make some comments on the position taken by these two influential exegetes. First, it may indeed be argued, as it is especially by Cranfield, that there is ‘no natural knowledge’ here ‘independent of God's self-revelation in his Word’.

They did not for a moment suppose that Athena was a divine lady somehow boxed up within the Parthenon. Paul was thus using a line of very natural Jewish interpretation of older Hebrew materials, which as it happened was very close to a significant line of Greek understanding of the same subject. Paul's thinking is close to a commonplace of Hellenistic Judaism. It was the Jewish argument itself, and not only the Greek point of view, that was basic to Paul's thinking: God did not locally ‘dwell’ within any building.

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