Modern Theology 23 (3):393-413 (2007)

Authors
Jason Springs
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
This paper explores the “cultural-linguistic” dimensions of Hans Frei’s theology. I make the case that several of the pragmatic and sociological concerns usually identified as distinctive marks of Frei’s later theology of the 1980s are, in fact, central to his work as far back as the early 1960s. Moreover, I demonstrate that such “cultural-linguistic” insights present important continuous threads in the development of his theology from early to late. Attending to this dimension illuminates the trajectory of Frei’s thinking as consistently Wittgensteinian in sensibility, and deeply indebted to his career-long conversation with Karl Barth’s theology. If successful, this reading should clarify the ways in which Frei’s early work is more innovative, and his later work less derivative, than is often recognized.
Keywords Hans Frei  Ludwig Wittgenstein  Karl Barth  cultural-linguistic  postliberal theology  biblical narrative
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0025.2007.00389.x
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