21 June 2012

Culver on deconstruction

by Dan Phillips

I am reading through R. D. Culver's Systematic Theology.  Treating of the truth of God, Culver stepped aside to deliver this salvo, and I thought you'd enjoy it:
A diversion into recent theories of language analysis and of hermeneutics at this point would show how scepticism, denial that anything anyone speaks or writes is true in any important sense, has imported Pilate’s skeptical question wholesale to the academy. Recently these theories have invaded all university departments except the hard sciences. The public has been made aware of this disastrous development as ‘deconstructionism’.

Deconstruction uses figures, tropes, neologisms, irony and philosophy to sever any connection between an author’s true self and what he has written. The motives of these literary dogmatists apparently are chiefly to create an elite of critics who have their own club. The strength of this syndrome is an informal connection of ambitious professors and their admirers, supported by tenure rules that deliver the star performers from necessity of constructive labour.

[Culver, R. D. (2005). Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (100). Ross-shire, UK: Mentor.]
Yow.

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18 comments:

Manfred said...

"Yow." is right, except it needs an exclamation point! Most excellent insight into the cultural paradigm (to jump back in time to 1980's corporate-speak) that has clobbered most post-moderns.

mikeb said...

Good quotes. How does this ST compare to your other ST favorites? Shall we expect a future review?

Chris Nelson said...

If you can understand this, deconstructionism is stupid.

Bill said...

Dan...could we logically, not using deconstructionism of course, now say the academic game is rigged? I think so.

Rob Bailey said...

It has been a while since I read this ST, but I seem to remember Culver using a very similar strategy himself to promote his own presuppositions about a figurative creation account.

DJP said...

Mike, I'm enjoying it so far. He's well-read, articulate, and always tries to anchor what he says Biblically. I'm not very far into it, though, only a bit over 100 pages. His Daniel and the Latter Days was amazingly splendid, so I'm hopeful.

I don't exactly have a favorite right now. I've profited from Reymond, Berkhof, Grudem. Most disappointing recent read (because of high expectations, not at all because it was horrid) was McCune's, which I still have to review.

Robert said...

Yet more evidence that the educational system is stocked with elitists instead of humble servants searching out the truth so that they can learn from it teach it to others. Sadly the masses are happy to follow these elitists and not think for themselves.

DJP said...

Are you talking about the educational system, or blogdom?

mike said...

Sometimes I think deconstructionism is advanced in a more subtle way by some who may denounce it but are selective about when they will and won't accept the plain meaning of a text. For example, it seem many evangelicals apply some of the same methods when they claim Genesis 1-2 is not really meant to be a literal creation account, or Matthew 24: 29-31 isn't really talking about the Second Coming.

Bill said...

Wrt Dan's question to Robert; education system, almost always. Blogdom, often.

Robert said...

DJP,

Could easily apply to both. In fact, one could say that blogdom just feeds the frenzy in most cases. It is almost like this generation has replaced learning from the TV with learning from the blogs. I used to tag the MTV generation as those watching rich, spoiled kids on TV and thinking that is how life is...now I'm thinking we have the blog/social network generation. And people think we are evolving???

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Is there a relationship between Deconstructionism and the various Historico-Critical hermeneutic methods favored by Liberal Protestant theologians and pastors?

Aaron Snell said...

Way to stick it to 'em, Dr. Culver.

Dan, have you worked through Shedd's?

Nash Equilibrium said...

It's always easier to tear something down than to create something.

Halcyon said...

I remember when I first studied "deconstruction" throughout college and grad school. Once I figured out that it was a form of absolute skepticism that eventually dissolves itself in its own acid...well, it made classroom discussions "interesting," to say the least.

BTW, most secular Arts & Sciences profs are still deconstructionist fanboys, but I did notice (in grad school) a slight disillusionment beginning to creep in. I take it as a good sign. Deconstruction may have cracked their brains, but at least some fresh air is getting in.

chrislie said...

Hi Dan, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for a while... Just wanted you to know about a website i started ReadYourBiblesChurch.com... It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless! Jenn.

Bill Honsberger said...

Excellent point. Having watched the train wreck at the University (My last formal class was called "Beyond Deconstruction" - the point was now that everything was deconstructed what do we do with our time!) I thought it was humerous that all the deconstructionists were completely lacking in self awareness to notice that they never would deconstruct Derrida or Riccour or Lyotard, Jamison, Foucoult, and absolute still all of the managed to worship at the feet of the eminently modernist Marx and likewise Darwin.
This of course was all right before the emerging church jumped onboard... sigh...

Randall Cue said...

It was nice to see Dr. Culver's quote. I have known him for quite some time as he is the father of my sister's husband.