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Irony, innocence, and myth: Douglas C. Macintosh's untraditional orthodoxy

By Gayle Gudger Grubbs


This study analyzes the relationship of Douglas Clyde Macintosh to the time in which he lived using the concepts of irony, innocence, and myth. By employing these concepts, the author identifies four significant moves that Macintosh made to break with philosophical idealism. The author explores Macintosh's relationship to an older, reigning Ritschlian liberal theology, and the development of neo-orthodoxy by his students H. Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr. This Yale strand of neo-orthodoxy is relevant to the "new historicism" as described by William Dean. The author explores the relevance of Macintosh's work to the developing new historicism including neopragmatism in philosophy, radical empiricism, the American evasion of epistemology, and the role of apologetics in inter-religious dialogue. Macintosh's Yale strand of empirical theology emerges as a significant critique of the new historicist position. In response to the social, intellectual and religious crisis of modernity, Macintosh moved to recover objectivism in theology, attempted to rehabilitate the apologetic arguments for the existence of God and the reasonableness of religious belief, employed the Radical Method in theology to define and to defend an essence of Christianity, and employed the Anselmian apologetic tactic of leaving Christ aside to prove his necessity for human salvation. His use of the Ritschlian Radical Method in theology produced differences in Macintosh's and Ritschl's theological content. The author also analyzes the criticisms that H. Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr leveled against Macintosh. Eight reasons are presented for the eclipse of Macintosh's empirical theology in scholarship

Topics: Theology, Philosophy of Religion, Religious history, Philosophy
Year: 1996
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