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Title: Theological truth claims between metaphysics and morals : a critique of revisionist attempts to ground theological truth claims in the creative imagination
Author: Butler, Marcus G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis is concerned with the nature of theological truth claims. The problem it addresses concerns what model of theological truth best allows for the comprehensiveness religious belief offers, without either superseding or being reduced to, a moral imperative. It focuses this concern upon an analysis of contemporary attempts to force a middle-way between religion and ethics using the idea of the creative imagination as a critical theological principle. The thesis defends the viability of theological truth claims in the current epistemological situation, and argues that while possibility may be the key notion that distinguishes them, nevertheless, to rely upon the creative imagination as that critical principle by which theological truth claims are to be judged, is to risk privileging metaphysics over morals. The thesis focuses upon two contemporary revisionist theologians - David Tracy and Steward Sutherland - who both share a commitment to a 'mediating' role for theology in the current situation. It suggests that Tracy's understanding of a theological truth claim as the imagined possibility of self-authenticity founders upon the fact that 'art' distances the individual from the existential moment wherein possibility becomes real, and therefore fails to demonstrate how possibilities-in-principle can become possibilities-in-fact. The thesis suggests by way of a contrast that Sutherland's understanding of theological truth as lived possibility in the light of eternity may escape some of the criticism made of Tracy's model. At the same time as being a critique of revisionist thought on theological truth claims the thesis offers itself as a contribution within revisionist theology, and supports the ideal of a publicly accessible theological truth claim. The substantive contribution that it offers is a warning against a model of theological truth that is over-dependent upon the idea that art is the one particular that has universal scope. The constitutive elements of this critique are first, the suggestion that theological truth claims may more successfully bridge metaphysics and morals by deconstructing the idealised existence that the imagination presents us with, and second, that the legitimation of theological truth can best be achieved by employing a phronesis model of reason as a critical principle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available