Wednesday, 14 February 2007

A rejoinder from Oliver Crisp

Yesterday I posted a brief critique of Oliver Crisp’s new article on Robert Jenson; and I invited Crisp to offer his own rejoinder to my critique. Here’s his rejoinder:

It seems to me that whether a particular theological argument is coherent or not is of utmost importance. Part of the reason for writing this piece was that it seemed to me that the obvious resources Jenson could have availed himself of (viz. recent philosophical work on these matters by metaphysicians) he was unable to avail himself of, because of his views about the nature of metaphysics. The result is that what he comes up with does not work.

As I hope came out in the article, I am an admirer of Jenson’s theology, which is provocative and insightful. But, as Jenson himself admits, it is the fate of any theological system to be dismembered and analysed. I was simply subjecting one aspect of his thinking to such analysis to see whether it made better sense than traditional ways of thinking about this matter. In my estimation, it did not. Naturally, this is not the only important matter one could discuss with respect to Jenson's work. But – to repeat – if all truth is God’s truth, it surely matters if a particular view advanced by a leading theologian as an alternative to other, traditional accounts of a particular doctrine, is not a more complete, or satisfying, or coherent alternative. To that extent, I think the essay was worth writing.

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