By J. Spencer Trimingham
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Extra resources for Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times (Arab Background Series)
At this point, Brunner pauses to reflect on the nature of the believing human agent, and how this agent recognizes, accepts, and responds to divine revelation. If human “receptivity” (Offenheit) is to be considered as a pre supposition for faith, how is it to be understood? Brunner suggests that this takes the form of a human consciousness of “vital need” (Lebensnot), which is also a consciousness of guilt. This, he argues, is a negative Berührungspunkt – a “point of contact” – for God’s self-disclosure.
Brunner had made himself a controversial figure at Zurich, partly on account of an article he had published in 1920, calling into question the methods of academic theology and its relevance for clergy. Although Brunner had originally suggested the somewhat pedestrian title “The Theological Preparation of Clergy and the Question of the Reform of the Theological Curriculum” for this three-page article, the editor of the journal to which he submitted it changed it to the somewhat more 69 Jehle, Emil Brunner, 62–7.
If human “receptivity” (Offenheit) is to be considered as a pre supposition for faith, how is it to be understood? Brunner suggests that this takes the form of a human consciousness of “vital need” (Lebensnot), which is also a consciousness of guilt. This, he argues, is a negative Berührungspunkt – a “point of contact” – for God’s self-disclosure. ”26 Later in the work, the vocabulary changes, moving from “contact” to “attachment”.