Friday, June 5, 2009

Ben F. Meyer on Critical Realism and Truth

"Admittedly, once truth is reached, it is intentionally independent of the subject that reached it: that is self-transcendence and the goal of inquiry. But the ontological home of truth is the subject. The goal is not reached apart from a demanding process, as the drive to truth reveals itself in wonder, converts wondering into questioning and questioning into question-answering, solicits reflection on the answers, and climaxes in the act of judging them to be certainly or probably true or false. All of these are activities of the subject and there is no objectivity without all of them. Truth, in fine, ripens on the tree of the subject, and objectivity is the fruit of subjectivity at its most intense and persistent." - Ben F. Meyer, Critical realism and the New Testament(Allison Park, PN: Pickwick, 1989), 139-140.
In contemporary New Testament scholarship my impression is that "critical realism" is now most closely associated with N.T. Wright. (See, for example, The New Testament and the People of God [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992], 32-37.) I prefer the late Ben F. Meyer's presentation in Critical Realism and the New Testament (Pickwick, 1989), which is itself dependent on Bernard Lonergan.

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