Two of the most-clicked posts on this blog have been Paul Holmer: How literature functions and Umberto Eco on theory and narrative. The common theme between the two might be that storytelling is not only necessary, but also of greater value than systematized and abstracted knowledge. Granted, the structure of Eco’s quotation seems to give priority to theorizing, but Holmer argues that humans learn more broadly and deeply from stories than from abstract or systematic knowledge.
So a quotation from James K.A. Smith’s book Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, found in this recent review, was a welcome addition to the theme:
“We were created for stories, not propositions; for drama, not bullet points.”
In this context, it’s probably worth remembering that beloved storyteller C.S. Lewis warned against systematizing the Bible.
Posted in Christian Humanism, common grace, literature, philosophy, story, storytelling, theology
Tagged books, bullet points, C.S. Lewis, drama, James K.A. Smith, narrative, Paul Holmer, philosophy, propositions, stories, storytelling, theory, Umberto Eco
“Literature is not a disguised theory, nor an implied didacticism. Instead, it communicates in such a way that, when successful, it creates new capabilities and capacities, powers and a kind of roominess in the human personality. One becomes susceptible to new competencies, new functions, new pathos and possibilities.” — Paul Holmer, C.S. Lewis: The Shape of His Faith and Thought
“…because we have so many theories, philosophies, and theologies, we are sometimes prone to think they are all about equal and that nothing much can be said that will confirm one over another. Logic and facts ‘seem’ to be on all sides or none, as the case may be; and ‘relativism’ and ‘indifference’ look the better part of sophisticated wisdom.” — Paul Holmer, C.S. Lewis: The Shape of His Faith and Thought
I found that quotation in C.S. Lewis on Scripture by Michael J. Christensen, who follows with this (rather neo-Platonic) explication: “Our dilemma is in knowing too many theories about Reality which hinders our intuitive perception of Reality.”