Longing to Know and the Complexities of Knowing God

Tradition and Discovery 31 (3):29-43 (2004)
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This response to papers on my 2003 book, Longing to Know, presented at the Polanyi Society’s November 2004 meetings, addresses two primary concerns about the book’s argument: first, that the book’s argument depends on an inappropriately unquestioned commitment to the authority of Scripture that falls short of the adjustment required by modern higher critical biblical scholarship; and second, that the book’s argument implies a religious exclusivism that overlooks the fact that the model of knowing it defends suits competing religious positions equally well. I argue that LTK’s strategy is more sophisticated than has been represented, and that the commitment to Scripture as an authoritative guide in knowing God, as over against the commitment to modem higher critical scholarship, may be reasonably justified as a consistent elucidation of the Polanyian model of knowing. I argue that, indeed, the Polanyian model of knowing may be applied to or by competing religious claims, where the claim that we must treat all such claims as having equal validity must itself be treated as a religious claim. In fact, Polanyi’s argument about competing scientific claims makes more sense of how we may (yea, must) maintain the rightness of our own position while acknowledging respectfully the disagreements of others



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