MIHI QUAESTIO FACTUS SUM (“I HAVE BECOME A QUESTION TO MYSELF”, AUGUSTINE: CONFESSIONS X. XXXIII):
FICTION AND TRUTH-SEEKING IN THEOLOGY.
This article explores a suggested radical instability of knowing human persons – selves and others – and the perennial undecidability of claims about what may be true with respect to them, by employing the novels of Philip Roth and E. L. Doctorow. If persons fundamentally are construed as questions to themselves, as Augustine says, then definitive assertions of what is true about being human are profoundly problematic. Within the history of both philosophy and theology, declarations of an or the irrefutable truth about inceptive and final purpose and ultimate meaning often have been asserted. A reflection upon Lambert Zuidervaart’s (2017) recent “critical retrieval of truth” prompts invoking Shakespeare’s Lear to intimate that, at least within theology, oracular and peremptory pronouncements upon the conclusive and objective intention and telos of being human and of the created order, may themselves undermine the essential vocation of Christian theology.