Friday, May 13, 2011

Frei on the Literal Sense and Truth

Hans w. Frei, Theology and Narrative: Selected Essays, 166.
I plead then for the primacy of the literal sense then and, it seems to me, its puzzling but firm relationship to a truth toward which we cannot thrust. The modus significandi will never allow us to say what the res significata is. Nonetheless, we can affirm that in the Christian confession of divine grace, the truth is such that the text is sufficient. There is a fit due to the mystery of grace between truth and text. But that, of course, is a very delicate and very constant operation to find that fit between textuality and truth. The Reformers saw the place where that fit was realized in the constant reconstitution of the Church where the word is rightly preached and where the sacraments are rightly administered. There is where that fit takes place and there alone – and there without any guarantees. It is a very straight path. It is a tightrope to walk toward a very narrow gate. One constantly has to look with unease to the right, where referential truth theories abound (or at a more humble level, where neo-conservatives beckon us), or to the left, where pragmatists tell us that we have no problem of truth (or, at a more mundane level, where liberationists explode). And in between, it seems to me, is the witness of the Church within the text of the Bible.

I’m not sure I understand the entirety of what Frei says in this paragraph, which concludes a very interesting essay. However, it deserves pondering.

2 comments:

Collin said...
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Collin said...

Frei is like that: enticing but just a little too thick. Good quote, though. I am intrigued that he somehow situates the liberationists (exploding) on the left-hand side of the abyss under the faithful tight-rope walker.