Monday, March 28, 2011

John Milbank on Christian apologetics

John Milbank's fresh look at the old subject 'Christian apologetics'.

He points out the 3 famous apologies in western history: First, Socrates' apology before the court; second, Christ's apology before Pilate; third, apostle Paul's apology before Festus and Agrippa.

From these 3, Milbank draws out that the theological significance and dimension in apologetic is deeply connected with the political. "In all three cases, then, "apology" turns out to be theologico-political in some fundamental sense."

"Apology as narrative, argument, confession and imaginative witness by the human person in the name of divine personality against the impersonality of the city - that is the very heart of Christian theology. This is why it began with Paul, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus as "apologetics" - not just against pagan accusations and misconceptions, but also in continued expansion of Paul's defence of the God-Man, the infinite personality made flesh, before a human jurisdiction."

To him, apologetic is initially a "world-refusal" that "turns out to be a compassionate world-understanding that is yet more ultimately a world-transfiguring."

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