Monday, 21 January 2008

Articulating "the unity of the manifold"

“The object of theological science in all its disciplines is the work and word of God in all their fullness, but in their fullness they are also the one work and word of God. This work and word are Jesus Christ, the one who was crowned as king of the Jews and Saviour of the world, who represents the one God among men and and man before the one God. He is the one servant and Lord who was expected, who arrived, and is now truly expected. Oriented to him who is its starting point and its goal, theological knowledge becomes a knowledge that articulates the unity of the manifold.”

As such,

“The intellectus fidei is engaged in gathering, although it abstains from equalizing, stereotyping, or identifying. While it gives every point of the circumference its special due, it brings together all parts from their own individual centers to their common center. ... In the theological act of knowledge, seeing is doubtless an attentive and exact gaze toward one or another special form of the object; as such, it is also sight that views one form together with the others. What is decisive is that it is an insight into the one object which presents itself now in this, now in that, form, or an insight into one particular form which has become a form of the one object. In the act of theological knowledge, every view, insight, and vision is attentively and accurately concentrated on this or that form. But also a syn-opsis, a seeing together of different forms, takes place. And finally, above all, each form is discovered to be a form of the one object. This is the sense of biblical exegesis, as well as the stocktaking and analysis known as Church history, or the history of dogmatics or theology.”

Barth, Evangelical Theology, 88—89; orig. 98—99.

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