Verbum et Ecclesia (Aug 1999)

Postmodernism and the hermeneutical challenge: some theological reflections

  • G.J. Pillay

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 20, no. 2
pp. 399 – 413


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How can one achieve the critical tension between contextual relevance in a post-modem world and "responsibility before history"? What is the justification for theological method as critical reflection within a tradition? What is the relation between ground texts that have historical authority (Scripture), the infonning tradition of interpretation of these texts (Church History), and the interpretive communities that read them (context)? Raising these questions, the article argues that for all its useful insights, postmodemism fundamentally challenges theological (and historical) reflection. Theology has always contextualised itself ever since its origins. What is different in this encounter is that we are dealing with an intractable ideology that not only undercuts the fundamentals but disallows the "long view" (the infonning and continually renewing tradition) and the communicativeness of theology (proclamation).