Idea of revelation in modern Christian thought
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CitationAvcı, B. (2018). Idea of revelation in modern Christian thought. In Hanna Rog (Eds.), Social Sciences, (163-173 pp.). Ankara: Akademisyen Kitabevi.
If we understand theology as faith seeking understanding, the concept of revelation should be considered as the primary source of theology and one of the main categories in theological thinking. It principally has three dimensions: cognitive, ontological and ethical. In the Bible, revelation in general means “unveiling” “unmasking” of what was previously unknown. The Hebrew and Greek terms in the Bible that refer to revelation vary from theophanies to apocalyptic events, from historical deeds to God’s grace in the human heart. Although there was not a fully articulated doctrine of revelation in the pre-Enlightenment period, the idea that God’s communication with the humanity and humanity’s access to the divine has always been present. During the first centuries of Christianity and throughout the Middle Ages, the fact of revelation was hardly challenged. The fullest medieval statement on revelation was realized in the Fourth Lateran Council (1215). According to the Council, the doctrine that leads to salvation is mediated first through Moses, then the prophets and others; at the end it reached its fullness in Christ (Latourelle, 1994, pp. 923- 924).As a result of the Enlightenment, the possibility of supernatural revelation, its existence and object were widely discussed. The Enlightenment, as Pannenberg notes, destroyed the old concept of revelation which belonged to the 17th century orthodox dogmatics, namely the identification of revelation with the inspiration of the Holy Scripture in addition to the understanding of revelation as the transmission of supernatural and hidden truths (Pannenberg, 1969, p. 4). Consequently, modern Christian theology proposes varying categorizations, or models of revelation which will be the topic of this chapter. In what follows, I will initially introduce the biblical account of revelation in relation to the theme of covenant. Further, I will give an overview of the concept of revelation as it is understood in modern Christian theology.