You may recall from an earlier post that Roger Haight's book Jesus Symbol of God was one of the books we were scheduled to read in my Christology class (by way of critique, of course). Well, we've been reading it for a few weeks now, and I thought it would be helpful to make a series of posts with some of the juicier statements from the book. For those who, for whatever reason, can't read the book, this series will at least give you some idea of what we are dealing with here.
p. xii: The apologetic intention of this christology leads to a method that is frequently characterized as "from below."
p. xiii: Because this is a christology from below, Jesus is called "Symbol of God," for although this symbol is a sacrament and never "merely" a symbol, "symbol" is the broader and more recognized interdisciplinary category.
p. 6: Negatively, the final criterion for Christian theological interpretation cannot lie in another theological interpretation. The "orthodoxy" of a particular theological position cannot be another theology, because all such interpretations are human projects, historically conditioned, and in themselves relative to the encounter with God's presence that they express and mediate. Positively, however, the measure of orthodoxy must be said to lie in the faith of the community.
p. 7: One may assume the negative stipulation that scripture cannot be used in such a way that the mere citation of a pasage is enough to establish a theological position.
p. 11: From different perspectives faith both changes and remains constant in history, across time and cultures; belifs, too, may change and still consistently reflect a perduring faith. Existential faith gives beliefs their realism; changing beliefs give faith a flexibility to engage new cultures.
p. 14: In the light of these two premises, that all faith and revelation are historically mediated, and that symbols can be divided into conscious and concrete symbols, we can state in a straightforward way the place of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion: for Christians, Jesus is the concrete symbol of God.
p. 30: If the term "valid" were used ina more practical sense to connote apologetically sensitive, communicative, engaging, credible, and successful, it might well be argued that christology from above is precisely not valid today.
p. 35: The logic governing this hermeneutical theory intends that interpetation be faithful to the intrinsic meaning of the past, in its particularity and circumscribed by its situation. At the same time interpretation breaks open that particularity and grasps its universal relevance in an expanded meaning that has a bearing on life today and is accompanied by a claim to truth.
p. 39: But it is becoming increasingly clear through Jesus research that some later New Testament interpretations and, afortiori, dogmatic interpretations were not part of Jesus' self-understanding. [. . .] History appears to undercut the imaginative portrait of Jesus that has accompanied certain dogmatic conceptions of him.
p. 40: Jesus continues to mediate the presence and consciousness of God to the Christian community for its salvation. Thus one can see repeated in the life of the community, and in its understanding of who Jesus Christ is, this formal genetic structure of Jesus being the historical mediation of God to human existence.
p. 49: This christology will attend to the data about Jesus proposed by Jesus research.
More to come in Part 3...