Between Similarity and Non-similarity Cover Image

Between Similarity and Non-similarity
Between Similarity and Non-similarity

The Nature of Theological Language in the Thought of Peter Abelard

Author(s): Damian Wąsek
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, Theology and Religion, Systematic Theology
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Papieskiego Jana Pawła II w Krakowie
Keywords: Abelard; faith and reason; theory of similarities; hermeneutics; theological language; theological method

Summary/Abstract: The aim of this paper is to answer to the following question: How should theologicalpropositions, originating from the language used to describe creatures, be understood so as to avoid idolatry, that is reducing God to the category of contingent entities?Using the theory of similarities formulated by Peter Abelard, I pointed out that the risk of committing theological errors decreases when language formulas are treated as models, and their meaning is understood in a figurative way. Such an attitude enables us to acknowledge the fact that language can be only partially adequate to the subject under discussion, and makes us aware that we describe only one aspect of a given theological phenomenon, as the chosen model may not correspond to other aspects. Such understanding of the theological language calls for a constant reinterpretation of theological propositions. If images used in theology are linked to thestructure of  the world, each change in  the scientific understanding of  this structure brought by  empirical sciences, should lead to  changes in  the language used by theology. Lack of such changes in the system of religious beliefs will lead to a decrease in the credibility of theology and push its truths towards the category of myths and fables.

  • Issue Year: 4/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 75-87
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: English