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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Professor Mike Higton

Higton, Mike (2014). Reconstructing The Nature of Doctrine. Modern Theology 30(1): 1-31.

Author(s) from Durham


It is now thirty years since George Lindbeck provided, in The Nature of
Doctrine, an epitome of his approach to ecumenical dialogue, and an affirmation
of related ways of studying religion and practicing theology.1 The
approach that he set out was one that had been growing on him through two
decades of involvement in ecumenical dialogues, and the book was intended
as a brief prolegomenon to a much longer work that would summarise those
dialogues’ achievements and prospects.2 Despite its brevity and its introductory
nature, however, the argument of the book is unexpectedly knotty: its
various strands require careful teasing out, and the ways in which they are
woven together are sometimes difficult to unravel. This article is an attempt
to do this teasing out and unravelling: to reconstruct the argument of The
Nature of Doctrine, both by offering a redescription of its overall shape, and by suggesting clarifications and reorderings that can untangle some of its most significant knots.