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Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology (Clarendon Paperbacks) Paperback – January 4, 1990


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Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology (Clarendon Paperbacks) + Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church: Exploring the Formation of Early Christian Thought (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future)
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Product Details

  • Series: Clarendon Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 4, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198261969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198261964
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"A most learned, well-written, and provoking book, with some surprises for all."--Expository Times


"Very appealing. Louth is a superb scholar who should be a standard participant in the current 'conflict of interpretations.'"--Theological Studies


"A provocative essay which raises crucial questions about the nature of contemporary theology."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion


About the Author

Andrew Louth is at University of London.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By G. Bestick VINE VOICE on May 6, 2005
Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
In her monumental survey of monotheism, A History of God, Karen Armstrong says of Discerning the Mystery, "Highly recommended. A slim volume that goes to the heart of the matter."

The matter under discussion in this well-reasoned and clearly-written book is the way we search for truth. Louth starts by examining the legacy of the Enlightenment, which biases Western civilization to accept uncritically the benefits of rational thought. Using the arguments of Vico and Dilthey, Louth makes the case that the imaginative moral reasoning we use in the humanities has just as much validity as the type of reasoning we use in rational analysis. If rationality is concerned with external truths that we must seek out empirically, the truths of the humanities (and, by extension, theology) are more accessible to us because all humans experience the human condition - those truths exist within us, awaiting extraction.

He then marshals the arguments of the philosophers George Gadamer and Michael Polanyi to question the notion of scientific objectivity. Gadamer argues that all knowledge occurs within a context of historical tradition and personal prejudices, and that the scientific method is but one way of decoding reality. Polanyi sees scientific observation as involving a "tacit dimension" which includes the assumptions - often unacknowledged - of the observer. This tacit dimension creates a subjective viewpoint that affects the outcome of the observation. Thus the pervasive belief in the modern scientific method as the most effective and legitimate way of discovering truth rests on a shaky foundation: the biased observer.

Louth makes an important distinction between solving problems and grappling with mysteries.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Pankey on August 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
FYI. This volume is available at Eighth Day Books at a much lower price ($25 as of 8/15/08).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BlueCanary in the Outlet on March 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book, by noted patristics scholar Andrew Louth, examines the question of modern Biblical interpretation and compares it with ancient/medieval (i.e. precritical) exegesis, raising the question of whether scholars would be benefit from using allegory once again on Biblical texts. Allegory has become a much-maligned word in modern Biblical exegesis, but it used to be a very accepted method of interpretation. Louth points out the benefits that can be gained from this approach.
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