By Andrew Louth
This publication examines the effect of the Enlightenment on theology, arguing that its legacy didn't profoundly impact the significance of culture; that the methods of older theology carry a shocking relevance; and that the harmony among theology and spirituality is once more discerned.
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Additional info for Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology
Against this, theology has to proclaim that the God who reveals himself in the Christian Church is not a God who is simply given, but a living God, who reveals himself, One who comes. A philosophy of idealism, on the other hand, seeks truth, and (p. 50 ) the danger here is that God will be apprehended as the ultimate ‘beyond’ of human thought: as a kind of ultimate limit towards which human thought is constantly approaching as it fashions more and more adequate syntheses of its knowledge and experience of the world.
We can only perceive it superficially and can have no idea of what goes on within it; but our knowledge of other people’s psychic life is infinitely greater; we are better able to grasp it and to penetrate more immediately into it…The vision of another person’s countenance, the expression of his eyes, can often be a spiritual revelation. ’ 19 Polanyi gives several other examples of this phenomenon. The diagnosis of a disease, for instance, is something that is often unspecifiable in detail. One learns by experience to recognize the pattern of symptoms, while finding it difficult to explain in what the pattern consists—difficult to explain, because it is not a matter of listing symptoms, which may not all be present on each occasion.
Put like that, it may sound very humdrum, but this is far from the case. The solving of problems involves the exercise of imagination in posing the problems in such a way that they suggest ways of solution. Though methods can be developed here, what is much more important is a kind of imaginative insight into the pattern the problem presents. And indeed in the solution itself one looks for order, symmetry, even, one might say, for elegance, and not simply for any sort of answer. The pure mathematician, the pure (p.