HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
VELDSMAN, Daniël P.. Interdisciplinary re-imagining of the concept of revelation. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2009, vol.65, n.1. ISSN 2072-8050.
For the postfoundationalist Wentzel van Huyssteen, the James I McCord Professor of Theology and Science at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA, the problem of rationality has been the dominant and persuasive theme of his scholarship for more than three decades. 'To understand understanding' can be the shorthand description of his scholarly quest. In his published Gifford Lectures, Alone in the World? (2006), he explores from an interdisciplinary perspective the concept of human uniqueness and the imago Dei - an exercise in transversal reasoning as he calls it. It is an exercise that according to Van Huyssteen, stems from the conviction that evolutionary epistemology creates a natural space for postfoundationalism, and that transversal reasoning represents the performative praxis of postfoundationalism. The question immediately arises from this exciting and promising interdisciplinary exercise, if and how the concept of revelation which represents (in most religions) a constitutive element of religious experience can be understood from a postfoundational perspective as an exercise in transversal reasoning. Against the background of a limited overview of contemporary influential models of revelation, as well as brief notes on natural theology, I will make use of Ricoeur's a-religious understanding of revelation as theological interlocutor for this critical dialogue with Van Huyssteen. Finally I will formulate a tentative framework within which the concept of 'revelation' can be re-imagined from an interdisciplinary perspective so that it can be part of the post-modern theology-science conversation in such a manner to maintain its identity without retreating to an esoteric world of private, insular knowledge claims.
Keywords : revelation; postfoundationalism; evolutionary epistemology; transversal reasoning; religious experience; religious awareness; rationality; imagination.