Saturday, September 3, 2011

On Imagination

As I wrote elsewhere, the role of critical imagination is important in biblical interpretation:

“We will need a critical imagination that engages both history and theology seriously in Paul’s texts and contexts. The use of critical imagination can be explained by the following illustration. Suppose that a person wants to fly like a bird, which is a good and necessary imagination, and so jumps off from the mountaintop in an attempt to fly. That person will be killed because of his or her naïve imagination. But if a person devises a fyling machine, then he or she can fly; this exemplifies that a critical mindset and creative imagination should work together.” Yung Suk Kim, A Theological Introduction to Paul’s Letters (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011), 5.

Similarly, Amos Wilder cautiously emphasizes the role of imagination:

“Imagination is a necessary componment of all profound knowing and celebration; all remembering, realizing, and anticipating; all faith, hope, and love. When imagination fails doctrines becomes ossified, witness and proclamation wooden, doxoligies and litanies empty, consolations hollow, and ethics legalistic … Then that which once gave life begins to lull and finally to suffocate us.” Amos N. Wilder, Theopoetic: Theology and the Religious Imagination (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976), 2.