Sapiential Theology – Knowing & Loving the Truth

Sapiential truth [i.e. “engaged knowledge that emotionally connects the knower to the known” p. 4] is unintelligible to the modern secularized construal of truth. Modern epistemology not only fragmented truth itself, privileging correct information over beauty and goodness, it relocated truth in facts and ideas. The search for truth in the modern scientific sense is a cognitive enterprise that seeks correct information useful to the improvement of human comfort and efficacy rather than intellectual activity employed for spiritual growth. Knowing the truth no longer implied loving it, wanting it, and being transformed by it, because the truth no longer brings the knower to God but to use information to subdue nature. Knowing became limited to being informed about things, not as these are things of God but as they stand (or totter) on their own feet. The classical notion that truth leads us to God simply ceased to be intelligible and came to be viewed with suspicion.

Ellen Charry, By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine [Oxford, 1997], 236).


2 thoughts on “Sapiential Theology – Knowing & Loving the Truth

  1. The “scientification” (I love the fact that theologians are given the license to create new words) of epistemology speaks to our human need (in most) for order and definition. It kinda follows the idea that a knowable (in an intellectual sense) God is much easier to believe in that a mysterious God. I believe this is where the eastern church has a significant salvo to throw into the western theological arena.

    For myself, I am trying to unprogram myself a bit to allow for the mysterious, or as your post puts it, a sapiential truth to inform me in my experience or “abiding” in Him.

    Does this resonate?

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