The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age an understanding of doctrine that will aid ecumenical discussion, Lindbeck sketches in this. In addition to his account of the nature of religion, George Lindbeck also addresses the relationship between Christianity and other religions, the resolution of. Friday 16th November GMT – Sunday 18th November GMT: Payment facilities will be unavailable on Taylor & Francis Online during this period due.

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The Nature of Doctrine by George A. Lindbeck

Log Tje Sign Up. Religion and Theology in Postliberal Age Edition: A Critical Review David Muthukumar. Lindbeck was born in China to American Lutheran missionary parents. After his doctoral degree in Theology, he continued in Yale as a professor till his retirement. His earlier books, The Future of Roman Catholic Theology and Infallibilityand several articles in academic journals reveal his concern and linfbeck to the doctrinal reconciliation between different confessions.

The popular notion that doctrinal reconciliation is not possible without doctrinal change has challenged him to identify an alternative approach. He begins by discussing the traditional approaches to religion and theology.

George Lindbeck, Nature of Doctrine Critical Review Essay | David Muthukumar –

In this approach, religious meanings and significance vary while doctrines remain the same, and also conversely, meanings remain same while doctrines undergo alterations. He contends that if we can devise an alternative approach so that can make sense of the intertwining of variability and invariability of doctrines, then it will be conducive for ecumenical purposes.


In this cultural-linguistic approach, religion behaves like a semiotic-linguistic system circumscribed by its internal grammar for the purpose of grasping and expressing reality within the particular time-space context. Reversing the relationship between the inner religious experiences to the outer world the subjective emphasis of experiential-expressivists who call external symbolism as mere expressions – to that of an outer world as the source for such inner experiences, Lindbeck counters the relativizing tendencies in the other model liberal experiential-expressivism.

Ritual, prayer, and example are normally much more important. To use the linguistic analogy, doctrines reflect the grammar and its vocabulary comprises of symbols, concepts, rites, injunctions etc.

He makes a distinction between doctrines and the terminology and conceptuality in which they are formulated in order to show the unconditionality and permanence of the classical creeds. Firstly, the monotheistic principle; Secondly, the principle of historical specificity; Thirdly, Christological maximalism that accords highest possible importance to Jesus that is consistent with the previous principles. If the conception of Augustinian original sin demands that Mary as theotokos should be sinless then it is affirmed, else it is reversible.

This enables him to discuss both the intra-confessional reconciliation and interreligious dialogue. And this ecumenical and broadly interreligious concerns is the starting point for his methodology. Kuhn has argued in reference to science, and Wittgenstein in philosophy, the norms of reasonableness are too rich and subtle to be adequately specified in any general theory of reason or knowledge.

The Nature of Doctrine

These norms, to repeat a point often made in this book, are like the rules of depth grammar, which linguists search for and may at times approximate but never grasp. Thus reasonableness in religion and theology, as in other domains, has something of that aesthetic character, that quality of unformalizable skill, which we usually associate with the artist or the linguistically competent.


His primary critique is against the liberal experiential-expressivists paradigm in its generalizing universalizing of variegated religious expressions through a common core like love or Ultimate and relativizing of difference through subjective emphasis.

His critique against propositionalists is their preoccupation for certitude, which according to Lindbeck is not possible on this side of human existence.

It also addresses the need for a dynamic interpretation of lindbeco Text in the changing context. In this, Lindbeck seemed to have succumbed to the relativizing tendencies that he is set to counter.

But he concludes that in terms of ecumenical applications it scores above the other models.

Relation to Christian tradition and contemporary theology: His attempt to take the Text and tradition seriously is evident in his method. His ad hoc use of extra-biblical resources from contemporary sociological and philosophical literature for the theologizing purposes is commendable. Remember me on this computer.

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