Critical History and the Supernatural

C. Stephen Evans

in The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198263975
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600579 | DOI:
 Critical History and the Supernatural

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A variation on the epistemological objection to special acts of God (miracles) investigated in the previous chapter is the claim that such acts cannot be recognized by anyone who is committed to critical, historical investigation. This kind of argument, which rests on the nature of historical knowledge and critical historical method, is considered in this chapter. If the incarnational narrative necessarily includes such divine actions, then the argument claims that we cannot have historical knowledge of it. The different sections of the chapter are: rationalism about religious knowledge; can the rationalist conception of religious knowledge be defended?; Hans Frei and the character of the biblical narrative; the assumptions of the ‘critical historian’; Troeltsch’s principles of correlation and analogy; and the sociology of knowledge and appeals to authority.

Keywords: acts of God; critical historical objections; critical history; epistemological objections; Frei; incarnational narrative; miracles; rationalism; religious knowledge; sociology; Troeltsch' principles

Chapter.  12718 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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