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Document Details :

Title: A Risk Observed
Author(s): HAERS, Jacques
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 21    Issue: 1   Date: spring 1996   
Pages: 46-60
DOI: 10.2143/LS.21.1.542235

Abstract :
Catholic theologians do not always have the best of reputations in matters of openness to human experience, to the world, to culture, to literature, to arts ... Some of them may very well seem like bulls in china shops, attempting to proclaim certain dogmas in a univocal and merely descriptive language. Of course, theologians know how important language is, and how difficult or even impossible it is to speak about God or about transcendence, without making skilful use of literary devices such as poems or metaphors. They do not always like to admit this, however. They, too, can fall prey to the temptation of providing a clear-cut so-called exact theological language. This would then constitute a body of unquestionable doctrine and preclude any further exploration of religious experiences. Even when theologians make allowance for a kind of fuzziness and creativity of language with regard to transcendence, and therefore also for a dimension of growth and complexity in religious experiences, even then, they still very often seem to imply that they know what they are talking about, that the transcendent and God lie within the grasp of their intelligence, like an object “out there.” Then, of course, language and literature become mere means at the service of what those theologians already know and want to communicate, without any possible misunderstanding, to those who do not know.

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