Narrative theology and the use of the Bible in systematic theology


Abstract
An important development in Christian theology during the second half of the twentieth century was what we might call the ‘narrative turn’—i.e. the idea that Christian theology’s use of the Bible should focus on a narrative representation of the faith rather than the development of a set of propositions deduced from the data of revelation. This paper inquires, first, whether and to what extent a narrative approach to systematic theology is incompatible with a ‘referential account’. It is argued that a referential account of theology is compatible with narrative theology. Second, the author elaborates on the nature of reference in narrative by scrutinising three popular maxims of narrative theology, namely, that narrative expressions do not have the universal pretensions of propositional expressions of faith; that references in narrative always remain implicit in the story whereas, in propositional expressions, they are always explicit; and that narrative forms of expression are typically associated with the ‘ambiguity’ of reference, whereas propositional forms are typically associated with lack of ambiguity
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