Claritas Scripturae, Theological Epistemology, and the Phenomenology of Christian Faith

Steven Nemes

Abstract


The doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture maintains that the meaning of Scripture is clear to those who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit through faith. But this definition provides no way to know whether one has true faith or has been so enlightened by the Holy Spirit, a problem accentuated by persistent disagreement among persons who claim to be Christians of good will. This is a specific instance of a more general problem afflicting “closed” theological epistemologies. This essay provides an exposition of Kevin Diller’s synthesis of the “closed” theological epistemologies of Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga and critiques it on phenomenological grounds. It then concludes with a phenomenologically redefined description of Christian faith which entails rejecting the doctrine of the claritas scripturae and motivates an “open” theological epistemology.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12978/jat.2019-7.181913130418

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The Journal of Analytic Theology is a publication of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

ISSN 2330-2380 (online)