Date of Award

Fall 2000

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dabney, D. L.

Second Advisor

Rossi, Philip

Third Advisor

Hinze, Bradford


This dissertation explores the hermeneutical substructure to George A. Lindbeck's notion of catholicity. With ecumenism serving as a major theme in Lindbeck's career as a theologian, he was preoccupied with the theological diversity within Christendom that has impeded reunification of the church. At mid-career, he took up the postmodern epistemology, believing that this may offer a way past the logjam in ecumenical research and provide a way towards a visible rejoining of the plethora of ecclesial bodies that constitute Christendom. By making this move, Lindbeck has been accused of taking up antirealism and reintroducing foundationalism into his new hermeneutical setting. Two theologians, Alister E. McGrath and Miroslav Volf, make this charge based on Lindbeck's principal literary work, The Nature of Doctrine (1984). McGrath argued that Lindbeck mis-characterized metaphysical realism by generating a strawman fallacy of the system (i.e., failing to give adequate consideration of the role of interpretative frameworks in his presentation of cognitive-propositionalism and experiential-expressivism and instead presenting them as systems of direct correspondence) and thereby concluding that metaphysical realism is hopelessly flawed. This, then, opened the door to metaphysical antirealism as the only viable prolegomena from which to theologize. McGrath, however, argues that metaphysical antirealism is the system that is hopelessly flawed and that the proper solution is a reassessment of metaphysical realism. McGrath's reassessment shows evidence of Kantian categories...



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