Theological critical realism
In theology, the term critical realism is employed by a community of scientists turned theologians. They are influenced by the scientist turned philosopher Michael Polanyi. Polanyi's ideas were taken up enthusiastically by T. F. Torrance, whose work in this area has influenced many theologians calling themselves critical realists. This community includes John Polkinghorne, Ian Barbour, and Arthur Peacocke. The aim of the group is to show that the language of science and Christian theology are similar, forming a starting point for a dialogue between the two. Alister McGrath and Wentzel van Huyssteen (the latter of Princeton Theological Seminary) are recent contributors to this strand. The Anglican bishop and New Testament scholar N. T. Wright also writes on this topic:
... I propose a form of critical realism. This is a way of describing the process of "knowing" that acknowledges the reality of the thing known, as something other than the knower (hence "realism"), while fully acknowledging that the only access we have to this reality lies along the spiralling path of appropriate dialogue or conversation between the knower and the thing known (hence "critical").
Wright's fellow biblical scholar, James Dunn, encountered the thought of Bernard Lonergan as mediated through Ben F. Meyer. Much of North American critical realism—later used in the service of theology—has its source in the thought of Lonergan rather than Polanyi.
- Losch, Andreas (2009). "On the Origins of Critical Realism". Theology and Science. 7 (1): 85–106. doi:10.1080/14746700802617105. ISSN 1474-6719.
- Wright, N. T. (1992). The New Testament and the People of God. Christian Origins and the Question of God. 1. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-2681-5.
- Losch, Andreas (2016). "Wright's Version of Critical Realism". In Heilig, Christoph; Hewitt, J. Thomas; Bird, Michael F. God and the Faithfulness of Paul: A Critical Examination of the Pauline Theology of N.T. Wright. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 101–114.
- McGrath, Alister E. (2001). A Scientific Theology. London: T&T Clark.
- Meyer, Ben F. (1989). Critical Realism and the New Testament. San Jose, California: Pickwick Publications. ISBN 978-0-915138-97-5.
- Page, James S. (2003). "Critical Realism and the Theological Science of Wolfhart Pannenberg: Exploring the Commonalities". Bridges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, Theology, History and Science. 10 (1/2): 71–84. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Polkinghorne, John (1991). Reason and Reality: The Relationship between Science and Theology. London: SPCK. ISBN 978-0-281-04487-0.
- ——— (2010). Oord, Thomas Jay, ed. The Polkinghorne Reader: Science, Faith and the Search for Meaning. London: SPCK. ISBN 978-0-281-06053-5.
- Wright, N. T. (2016). "The Challenge of Dialogue: A Partial and Preliminary Response". In Heilig, Christoph; Hewitt, J. Thomas; Bird, Michael F. God and the Faithfulness of Paul: A Critical Examination of the Pauline Theology of N.T. Wright. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck.
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