Concept, Image and Story in Systematic Theology

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Abstract

This article enquires about the place of ‘aesthetic theology’ within the conceptual enterprise of systematic theology. If narrative theology is to be of any help in answering the question, it will have to include an appeal to extra-biblical images and stories in its method, and will also need to relate metaphor to some kind of analogy and metaphysics (carefully defined). Working from a theological basis in doctrines of revelation and canon, poems and novels outside the Bible may thus be seen to contribute to systematic theology in at least three ways: in deciding between concepts, in enabling connections to be made between concepts, and in developing the Christian story for the present age. Finally, the concept of God as ‘relational being’ is explored as an example of aesthetic forms of theological discourse, connecting everyday religious speech to systematic theology with an ‘analogy of relations’.

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