John N Veronica I've mused about these evocative questions since I first saw them.

One way to think about theology in our era: WITHIN our interpretive communities, we witness - not only a transformation BY, but also - a transformation OF the symbols we engage, sometimes augmenting, sometimes diminishing, their informative and performative values. BETWEEN such communities, then, it would not be unreasonable to expect similar dynamics of symbolic engagement (i.e. transformation "by" and "of" the symbolic)? What, then, would happen to theology once we are persuaded that God has revealed Godself in another tradition by way of our participation in its practices and symbolic engagements? Perhaps theology would have to follow these emergent "living" symbols around and report back on their value-realizations and valuefrustrations? And, should differences in transformative (soteriological) trajectories be encountered, those might suggest that Barth's "concrete relationship" definition would have to be broadly conceived beyond the Christocentric to also include both pneumatological and trinitarian dimensions, as the poly-praxic and poly-pathic might suggest the poly-doxic. ~johnboy 20 minutes ago · Like John N Veronica I was also thinking of how important communal identity seems to be for the more confessional approaches & how they might critique a dynamic account. Again, regarding Barth's "concrete relationship," if the Christian story was only a narrative of how that community was transformed by the symbols it engaged, its identity could perhaps be sufficiently described using static, essentialist and substantival concepts. As any other interpretive community, though, Christianity, from its beginning thru now, continues to return the favor, which is to recognize that it also transforms the symbols it engages. While we would thus need to describe the community with more dynamic, fluid and processive concepts, this wouldn't subvert, as some might fear, its continuity of identity. Still, the interpretive community's identity might better be described as "nonstrict" (a concept introduced by Hartshorne in another context) or as somewhat of a moving target, not just because of our epistemic fallibilism (negatively speaking) but because we are created co-creators (positively speaking). Maybe analogous to the concept of noself being considered as adjectival not ontological, at least as some would approach it, we could still very much enjoy an empirical-practical, even if not robustly metaphysical, notion of self/community identity. It seems like we need more than a dialectical critical realism & fallibilism for comparative models, that our epistemology must be pragmatic, semiotic, axiological, participatory, existential and so on.


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