Anthony Thiselton links Postmodernity to the crisis of truth. To this one would naturally ask the question, “Why a crisis of truth�?? Is the linkage a matter or causality, that is, to suggest that Postmodernity is the cause of the crisis, or is the linkage merely descriptive? In the latter case, Postmodernity would be a description of a general condition of society where people in general and intellectuals in particular have lost confidence in attaining consensus regarding matters of truth.
What are the contours of the contemporary crisis of truth? One cannot help but be struck by the proliferation of theories spinning across the various disciplines of Western academia. Such proliferation is accompanied by intense disputes with no obvious winner. There is no evidence that the competing theories will be subsumed under an overarching, unifying framework. The resulting fragmentation of knowledge leads to doubts about the viability of the academic enterprise in securing certain or indubitable knowledge
A few years ago, I was asked to respond to a paper written by Anthony Thiselton at a conference on postmodernity. Thiselton subsequently published his paper, but it doesn’t seem like there is any chance that my paper will be published. I might as well share it with my readers and friends before the topic (or at least what I wrote) becomes irredeemably out of date:
POSTMODERNITY AND THE CRISIS OF TRUTH
A Response to Anthony Thiselton
POSTMODERNITY ON LOCAL TERMS
Anthony Thiselton’s paper has an obvious polemical thrust. As such, it is easier to determine what Thiselton rejects rather than what he affirms concerning the matters of theory of truth. He mounts a strong critique of the pragmatic version of Postmodernity exemplified by Richard Rorty. In this regard, I share much in common with Thiselton. As such, it would be more useful for me to attempt a critical appropriation rather than a critique of his paper. By critical appropriation I mean the need to identify and analyze the dynamics of Postmodernity. By appropriation I mean my intention to relocate the discussion of Thiselton’s paper from an evidently Western context to an Asian one. Continue reading “Postmodernity and the Crisis of Truth”
It has become fashionable in some Christian circles to deride the need for theory or to disabuse the importance given to doctrinal orthodoxy as a poor substitute for living faith. Indeed, it is claimed that pre-occupation with doctrinal orthodoxy leads to judgmentalism. Hence the favourite slogan “From absolute to authentic”. I think these criticisms are unfair. . .
Given the distinction between, but inseparability of theory and practice, it is unnecessary and unacceptable to emphasize any one of the components over the other. After all, “truth as transformation always involves truth as disclosure; speaking the truth is never separable but is distinguishable from doing the truth.�?
It has become fashionable in some Christian circles to deride the need for theory or to disabuse the importance given to doctrinal orthodoxy as a poor substitute for living faith. Indeed, it is claimed that preoccupation with doctrinal orthodoxy leads to judgmentalism. Hence, the favourite slogan “From Absolute to Authentic”.
I think these criticisms are unfair. Do contemporary theologians view right doctrine as substitute for faith? Do theologians really offer their doctrinal formulations as absolute truth? For that matter how can Christians be authentic if they reject belief in absolute truth (which admittedly is fully grasped only by the omniscient God)? In any case, clarity is needed since contemporary theologians and critics differ on how the word ‘absolute’ is significant for Christian faith and understanding. Continue reading “Hermeneutical Circle: Inseparability of Theory and Praxis”