From Word Alone to Word and Spirit

Jason A. Springs

in Toward a Generous Orthodoxy

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395044
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866243 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

From Word Alone to Word and Spirit

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Chapter 7 clarifies and sharpens the cogency of Frei’s claims about the plain sense and literal reading of Scripture, the topic on which Frei’s thinking was most in progress at the time of his death. This chapter administers sustained attention to the difficulties produced by Frei’s increased emphasis upon context, practice, and tradition in his account of Scripture’s meaning. This chapter initiates a response to the following questions that occupy the remainder of the book. If Frei articulated a historically and socially situated conception of God’s revelation, how did he avoid compromising the objectivity of that revelation? How can attention to the contingencies of cultural context and the formation of divine revelation within social practices avoid rendering God’s revelation a function of historical human understanding? Insofar as Frei utilized insights from Wittgenstein’s so-called “linguistic turn”—the turn to the irreducibility and inescapability of linguistic social practices—how did he avoid sliding down the slippery slope into linguistic idealism?

Keywords: Wittgenstein; linguistic turn; plain sense of scripture; literal reading; rule of faith

Chapter.  11608 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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