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The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 31 dic 1984

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Copertina flessibile, 31 dic 1984
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Amazon.com: 4.0 su 5 stelle 16 recensioni
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Cognitive Propositional! 4 dicembre 2011
Di Michael - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Lindbeck categorizes doctrine as one of the following three:

Cognitive Propositional. This is the understanding that doctrines make truth claims about objective reality. Propositionalism finds certitude in Scripture and emphasizes the cognitive aspect of faith and religion. This has been the traditional approach of Orthodox Christian belief. Synthesizing these Scriptural truths and doctrines is also a part of this method. Thinkers in this group remain critical of post-foundational approaches.

Experiential Expressive. This method, which emphasizes religious feeling, was thought to have found universal objectivity for religious truth. While it was presupposed that all religious feeling had a common core experience, it was discovered that there was no clear evidence that this was the case. Further difficulty with this approach was found in specifying distinctive features of religious feeling, such that “the assertion of commonality becomes logically and empirically vacuous” (18).

Cultural Linguistic. This is Lindbeck's method. It's design is ecumenically minded but has fostered a larger discussion pertaining to its use in theological method. At the risk of sounding too reductionistic it might be said that this alternative seeks to understand religion as a culture or a semiotic language. Religion shapes the entirety of life, not just cognitive or emotional dimensions. A religion is a “comprehensive scheme or story used to structure all dimensions of existence” (21). And “its vocabulary of symbols and its syntax may be used for many purposes, only one of which is the formulation of statements about reality. Thus while a religion's truth claims are often of the utmost importance to it (as in the case of Christianity), it is, nevertheless, the conceptual vocabulary and the syntax or inner logic which determine the kinds of truth claims the religion can make” (21).

In terms of measuring religions for truth, categorical truth is what is to be accepted, which may or may not correspond to reality (37). Truth, in this regard, is what is meaningful (34). Lindbeck uses a map metaphor in which the knowledge provided by the map is only “constitutive of a true proposition when it guides the traveler rightly” (38). This dynamic understanding of truth is not answerable to static propositional truth claims. Religioin must be utilized correctly to provide ontology, or meaning (38).

The possibility of salvation as solus Christus is said to conform to this approach. “One must, in other words, learn the language of faith before one can know enough about its message knowingly to reject it and thus be lost” (45). Lindbeck has in mind here fides ex audit and envisions a post-mortem offer of salvation.

In readdressing propositional truth, it is said that religious sentences have first-order or ontological truth or falsity only in determinate settings (54; recall the map metaphor). Understood in this way, the Cultural Linguistic approach proves to successfully supply categorical, symbolic, and propositional truths.

Rule Theory maintains that what is “abiding and doctrinally significant” about religion is not found in inner experience or their propositional truth, but “in the story it tells and in the grammar that informs the way the story is told and used” (66). In order to make sense of religious experiences they must be interpreted within an entire comprehensive framework.
Lindbeck presents a softer view of doctrine, which is less truth-claiming, and more about community rules. Doctrines, thus, may be reversible or irreversible, unconditional or conditional, temporary or permanent.
24 di 25 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Coined the term 'Postliberalism'... 19 maggio 2002
Di W. Owens - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
This work is a small classic in the `postliberal' movement which originated under the influence of Lindbeck and Hans Frei. Other theologians who bear some of the same characteristics include Placher, Hunsinger, Thiemann, Tanner, Kelsey, and Hauerwas. Postliberals emphasize the specificity of Christianity (and all religions) and a Christological and intratextual method of theology that finds the meaning of Christian language within Scripture. This meaning is given in the praxis of the church and the task of the systematic theologian is to give a normative self-description of the community as well as to discern deficiencies and distortions in communal practices. New proposals are primarily pragmatic in that they aim to `build up the body of believers.' Accusations of relativism and fideism naturally follow the postliberal denial of a universal ground of knowledge and their stress on internal description over external description (usually philosophy). However, Lindbeck believes the cultural/linguistic model will generate more conversation with other disciplines than the usual models (cognitive and experiential) since many historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers also employ approaches that utilize a cultural and/or linguistic scheme. Postliberal theology is open to rational testing, but reasonableness is assessed by its ability to provide an intelligible interpretation, in its own terms, of the relevant practical and cognitive data of Christian believers. Ad hoc apologetics is preferred over systematic.
The main argument of this book is twofold: religion (Christianity included) as a cultural/linguistic community and a regulative view of doctrines. The religion provides a frame of interpretation that shapes life, thought, and actions of the believer. Basic patterns of the religion are interiorized through worship, proclamation, and instruction. Doctrines serve as rules that regulate the communities' discourse, attitudes, and practices. Lindbeck's work reflects aspects of Wittgenstein, Geertz, and Peter Berger among others. One word of warning: this book is meant to be provocative and not definitive. If you are not already sympathetic to the cultural/linguistic approach (or unsympathetic to the cognitivist or experiential approaches) you will probably not be convinced. The Nature of Doctrine initiated an ongoing conversation and simply seeks to establish the viability of a cultural/linguistic framework and rule theory of doctrine for ecumenical, interreligious, and non-religious discussions.
What follows are some points in the book that I found interesting.
A religion is described as one large proposition. Does it as a whole (discursive and nondiscursive symbols, practices, action, etc.) correspond to God's will (for Christians)?
The basis for interreligious dialogue is that other religions may contain potential actualities and realities explored that may not fall within the scope of Christianity but nevertheless be God-willed, God-approved aspects of the coming kingdom.
Just as Cyprian said there is no salvation outside the church, Lindbeck states that there is no damnation outside the church either. One must know the language of faith before one can ultimately reject it. He also speculates of a post-mortem encounter with Jesus.

Theological assertions are true only in context i.e. `when speaking religiously.' He gives the example of Luther who says `I can only say "Christ is Lord" when I make him my Lord.' Ontological truth happens in the context of existential participation in proclamation, praise, and prayer not in the abstract.
Lindbeck advocates a modest cognivitism he finds in Aquinas. `God is good' is true but we do not know how it is true.
The scriptural world "absorbs" the universe. Scripture gives the world meaning rather than vice-versa. He states that Aquinas, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and even Schleiermacher used this method to varying degrees.
A couple aspects I would like to see given more rigorous treatment are the relation of intrasystematic to ontological truth and a theological treatment of the church as a cultural/linguistic community. If anyone knows if this has been done please contact me. An aside: Unlike other reviewers I am not a masters student in theology only an educated layperson but I had little difficulty in comprehending the vocabulary employed in the book. If you are used to reading theology you will not have much trouble with Lindbeck's book. Also, one wonders that if you admittedly had trouble understanding the concepts in a text if you are then able to adequately critique that same text. Anyway, if you are interested enough to come here and read reviews you are interested enough to read the book. Enjoy. PIC
5.0 su 5 stelle The Nature of Doctrine 2 maggio 2014
Di Rev. Ron Hooker (Yale Graduate) - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Professor Lindbeck's timeless work is experiencing a bit of a revival. It is a great book for
well-educated Clergy and Lay Scholars. I was fortunate to have had him as a Professor. He was one of most outstanding at Yale. I shall always be thankful that for three decades,
I was able to read and re-read this great book! Rev. Ron Hooker (Yale Graduate)
Not often is such a great Reformation Scholar, Professor, and Faithful Christian, to be
found in one person. He is one of the last Vatican II Official Observers still living.
10 di 11 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Postliberal approach to religion and theology 10 dicembre 2008
Di Ben Kickert - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Ben Kickert. Review of George A Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine: Religion Theology in a Postliberal Age (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1984).

In 1984 George A. Lindbeck presented a new approach to viewing religion and doctrine in his book The Nature of Doctrine. As the subtitled indicates, it was his desire to provide a "framework for discussion" (10) that was compatible with the emerging postliberal movement. What he came up with is non-theological approach that advocates a cultural-linguistic view of religion and a rules-based understanding of doctrine. He then evaluates his proposal in light of various test cases. This review will assess the usefulness of this approach and evaluate the book as a whole.

The author makes his personal religious convictions clear. He is a Christian, with a great interest in unity in the midst of diversity (7-8). He wants to be able to adequately address not only divergent beliefs, but the dynamic nature of beliefs (9). In order to do this, he calls for a paradigm shift on behalf of theologians and students of religion (8). Lindbeck admits the approach he lays out is mostly theoretical, but invites others to evaluate it (11). The book is laid out in 6 chapters. The first serves as an introduction while chapters 2-3 address the cultural-linguistic approach. Chapters 4-5 deal with rules theory of doctrine while chapter 6 outlines a larger theological framework.

In his introductory chapter, Lindbeck critiques the approaches to religion that were dominant in his day. He describes two major methods: the cognitive and the experiential-expressive. The former focuses on truth claims as the primary determinate of religion while the later uses experiences. The author also looks at a third approach that seeks to synthesize these two. In light of his goal, the author rejects these and turns instead to an understanding that views religion in terms similar to culture or language. He expands this discussion in chapter 2 and argues for the superiority of a cultural-linguistic approach. The non-theological framework he presents contends that like culture "religions produce experience" (33) rather than being the explainer of experience. Furthermore, like language, it must be learned and interiorized; only then can a person full participate through expression and experience (35-37). This is a complete reversal of the experiential-expressive model. Chapter 4 evaluates whether this non-theological theory of religion can be religiously useful by looking at the concept of superiority of religions, their interrelationship, salvation for non-adherents and the overarching concepts of religious truth. The author concludes a superior religion is categorically true, rightly utilized, and corresponds to ultimate reality (52). From here religions can regard themselves as different without judging superiority. In regards to the salvation question, Lindbeck take a universalist approach.

Chapter 4 moves to the issue of doctrine within religions. It is here the author lays out his approach. He contends, "a rule theory not only is doctrinally possible but has advantages over other positions" (73). The result is a view of doctrine that operates like grammatical rules rather than absolute faith statements. This allows for differences within religions and between religions to stand without the need to reconcile them. This theory is tested in chapter 5 by evaluating three contentious issues: Christology, Mariology and Infallibility. He concludes what matters is not conclusions, but rather what lies behind them; this provides reconcilement for the first two issues, but not the later. For the author, a rules based approach to doctrine is best utilized in relation to behavioral requirements.

The final chapter of this book serves to place cultural-linguistic theory and a rules-based approach to doctrine within the larger framework by evaluating their implications. These views push for an intra-systemic (or intra-textual) approach to meaning wherein the religion gives meaning rather than describes meaning. Within this system, religious text are formative within the communities that adapt them. Religions and sacred texts hold the power to shape communities. This, the author concludes, is a necessary part of the wider society and culture. Lindbeck is essentially arguing for a relativistic view of religions while advocating religious communities resist relativism so they can teach the culture and language of religion. His ultimate conclusion is that the theories he has presented in his book are valuable, but in the end each religion must be true to its roots and message.

In evaluating Lindbeck's proposal, the first issue that must be considered is his approach. He is clear in pointing out that his theory is non-theological. As such, his primary purpose is not to provide a tool for Christians to evaluate their belief systems. Instead, it is his desire to offer a theory of religion that allows an observer to judge and understand a system of beliefs entirely on their own merit. Therefore, before any judgment can be made on conclusions, this method should be evaluated. Since the author is clearly writing from a Christian perspective, one could expect a theory that supports the claims of orthodox Christianity. This book does not set, nor achieve this goal. Lindbeck is much more concerned about unity than about orthodoxy. However, from a non-theistic approach to understanding religion, the approach the author employs is exceedingly useful and relevant.

The primary advantage of Lindbeck's approach to religion lies in its ability to study and evaluate religions intra-systemically without having to evaluate ontological correctness. In effect, each religion can stand alone and be evaluated on it own merits. This is extremely helpful when viewing faith systems objectively, especially from an anthropological viewpoint. In addition to providing a non-judgmental way to evaluate religions, the cultural-linguistic articulated in this book provides fresh insight and perspective on the role religion plays in communal formation and spiritual development. It is certainly important to ask questions about how experiences can be explained through religion, but just as important is an understanding of how religions shapes and informs those experiences. This framework allows individuals to better appreciate the contributions and unique features of a religion. Additionally, the rules based approach to doctrine allows for the dynamicity apparent in most religions. Rather than seek to reconcile transitions, Lindbeck's approach embraces these.

The Nature of Doctrine is not without its limits and shortcomings. In emphasizing ecumenical and interfaith unity, the book has lost some of its value for evaluating and informing traditional, orthodox theologies. For instance, the universalism he argues for is outside the scope of orthodoxy for many evangelical traditions. It could be argued that Lindbeck misses the goal of being religiously useful. This is perhaps most apparent in the concluding chapter; here the author admits his framework explains the assimilation process, but does little to convince those who "share in the intellectual high cultural" (124). In effect, he is concluding cultural-linguistic theory and rules theory of doctrine can explain religions, but may not bolster them. A final shortcoming of the books is one readily admitted to by the author. At the time of it's writing the approach presented was largely untested and thus relied heavily on theory. It is almost as if Lindbeck was throwing out an idea for others to try. Considering the brevity of the book, it seems a more thorough treatment would have possible and useful.

The contributions of Lindbeck cannot be overlooked and should be applauded. The ideas outlined in the pages of this book continue to reverberate 24 years later. The lens the author provides his readers is innovative and practical; however, its practicality is primarily found in external evaluations of religion. One could assume that Lindbeck expected his theories to have been accepted or rejected by this point in history. However, the tension still remains between modern (especially evangelical) thinkers and postmoderns (or postliberals as Lindbeck calls them). Where ever a person falls on that continuum, they would be well served to join the discussion spurred by this book. We may not agree, but hopefully we can better understand each other.
8 di 9 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle the new edition 29 dicembre 2011
Di Jeremiah Gibbs - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
The previous reviewer does a fine job of summarizing the argument. I don't think he got everything right, but you should read the book yourself if you want more nuance than he gave.

I mostly just want to recommend this edition. After 25 years of vibrant scholarly debate, Bruce Marshall wrote an introduction for this edition and Lindbeck wrote an afterward. Lindbeck's afterward is mostly about some clirifications from Chapter 3...one of the most contended sections of the first edition.

Marshall's introduction is worth the price of the new edition if you are a new reader to Lindbeck. Some veterans will appreciate Marshall's summary comments as well. While Lindbeck intended to write one sort of book (about ecumenism and a model for futhering dialogue), the book has largely been taken to be another sort of book (a book on epistemology and theological method). Marshall helps illuminate some of this history.