Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Primacy of Narrative Theology

In The Triune God: An Essay in Postliberal Theology, William Placher briefly makes the case for the primacy of narrative theology:
Of course, the Bible contains more than stories--hymns, sermons, theological essays, laments, laws, and prophecies...It is a complex collection of books, and no one category can do it justice.  Nevertheless the category of "story" or "narrative" does seem to have a certain priority: it seems more important to say, of each of the other biblical genres, that they derive part of their meaning from their relation to an overarching story than the other way round.
The Triune God, p. 46

It seems a fair point.  All the action on the stage involves a script, and the both the little stories and big story have narrators who are telling the story (all of which means that narrative theology must go hand in hand with speech acts).

Narrative theology only has real primacy if and when the "Narrator" with a capital "N" is telling the story and speaking within it.  Or, in other words, you can't really have narrative theology without the Canon, Inspiration, and Inerrancy all being woven indelibly into the story.

Besides which the devil has his own version of narrative theology (Gen. 3; Matthew 4:1-11), with an alternative script, plot line, principal actors and closing scenes.

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