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Identity and Change in the Christian Tradition


Marcel Sarot and Gijsbert van den Brink

In at least two respects the position of religion and Christianity in the Western world has changed in recent years. Firstly, there is a growing plurality of and pluriformity within religions. And secondly, religions tend to change and develop faster and on a larger scale than they used to. This gives rise to the questions of change and continuity of religious traditions addressed in this volume: What function does the conceptual system or 'language game' of religion fulfil within the context of human thought and life? In what ways and under what circumstances do such conceptual systems require innovative changes in order to remain adequate for fulfilling this function? How are the continuity and change within religious traditions related to these issues? What is the nature of this continuity and of such changes within traditions? What role can theology play in initiating and directing such changes? In answering these questions, most contributions to the present volume focus on the Christian tradition.
Contents: Dewi Z. Phillips: Introduction. Reflecting on Identity and Change - Vincent Brümmer: The Identity of the Christian Tradition - Wybren de Jong: The Finality of Christ and the Authenticity of Creative Developments - Santiago Sia: The Function of Religion in Human Life and Thought. A Whiteheadian Exploration - Marcel Sarot: Religion, Meaning and Imitation. The Christian Ideal of Imitatio Christi as a Way of Making Sense of Life - Keith Ward: Christianity and Evolution. A Case Study - Michael Scott: The Implications of Darwinian Explanations - Paul Helm: Does the Authority of a Tradition Exclude the Possibility of Change? - Luco J. van den Brom: Religious Tradition, Change and Authority - Christoph Schwöbel: Rationality, Tradition and Theology. Six Theses - Gijsbert van den Brink: A Plea for Inverting the Hermeneutical Relation - David Brown: Tradition as a Dynamic Force for Positive Change - Hendrik M. Vroom: Can We Change the Fatherhood of God? The Hermeneutical Implications of Change in the Tradition of the Interpretation of the Bible.