Publication details for Prof Paul D MurrayMurray, Paul D. (2007). Theology 'Under the Lash' Theology as Idolatry Critique in the Work of Nicholas Lash. New Blackfriars 88(1013): 4-24.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0028-4289, 1741-2005
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-2005.2006.00131.x
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
‘It has, in these postmodern times, become a little easier to win a hearing for the suggestion that Ideologiekritik is always, in the last analysis, critique of idolatry.’
‘[T]he critical dimension of the theological task is to be sought in the direction of the critique of idolatry – the stripping away of the veils of self-assurance by which we seek to protect our faces from exposure to the mystery of God.’
For Nicholas Lash, theology is best understood as the critical theory of faith; as a process of ‘critical reflection on Christian practice.’ This paper explores the way in which Lash has increasingly treated of this under the category of idolatry. There are three broad movements to the discussion. The first explores Lash’s understanding of the proper role of criticism in theology. The second focuses in on the suggestion that his recurrent references to idolatry can be taken as a hermeneutical key to understanding the core concerns in his writings. The third then considers his understanding of the specific education in right desiring and right worship that is to be found in the school of Christian discipleship. The essay draws to a close by reflecting on the specifically ecclesiological implications of this and the ways in which Lash’s concerns might appropriately be taken forwards.
This essay was commissioned for publication in "Idolatry", edited by Stephen C. Barton, (London & New York: Continuum, 2007) wherein it will be duly published. The editor of "New Blackfriars", Dr Fergus Kerr O.P., so much liked the essay when he read it that he has requested permission for it also to be printed in that journal immediately prior to it being published in the book. This permission has been granted.