Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Liberalism versus PostliberalismThe Great Divide in Twentieth-Century Theology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

John Allan Knight

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199969388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969388.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 November 2020



Navigating the Divide between Liberal and Postliberal Theology

(p.265) Chapter tenConclusion
Liberalism versus Postliberalism

John Allan Knight

Oxford University Press

The concluding chapter connects the concerns of liberals and postliberals with their respective positions on religious and theological language. Liberal theology is driven to a descriptivist or truth-conditional understanding of meaning by its concern to defend the truth of religious or theological assertions via criteria that are truly public. Conversely, postliberal embrace of the later Wittgenstein is driven by the concern to vindicate the particularity of God’s self-revelation in Jesus, thus avoiding vulnerability to Feuerbach’s critique. Such concerns are frustrated by the Hobson’s choice between descriptivism and Wittgenstein. The chapter thus points to developments in philosophy of language that can move theology past the liberal/postliberal impasse. These include the development of theories of meaning-as-use, by philosophers like William Alston that incorporate a Kripkean view of direct or causal reference. The chapter describes how such developments could be put to use in correcting liberal and postliberal shortcomings in theological method. The chapter closes by suggesting areas in which further work could be done on meaning, reference, interpretation and truth—the four elements of theological method mentioned in the introduction. In all these areas, recent analytic philosophy could prove to be a fruitful conversation partner.

Keywords:   Alston, William, epistemic justification, interpretation, Kripke, Saul, meaning, reference, truth

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .