My interests in Milbank and the other authors who come together as "Radical Orthodoxy" particularly involve the ways in which they narrate history, their engagements with postmodernism, their retrieval of the premodern, and how their work might interface with that of other thinkers, from Caputo to Hauerwas.
But two overarching concerns of mine are how Radically Orthodox thought connects with the text of scripture (after all, I'm a Presbyterian) and how it might express itself in terms of parish life and Christian formation.
Margaret has begun our discussion by reference to Milbank's chapter on forgiveness in Being Reconciled, a great place to start on all counts. As Margaret notes, Milbank is building on what he understands to be Aquinas' account of forgiveness.
But the way in which Milbank builds his exploration gives us some clues as to how it might relate to the life of real existing Christian communities. While many may find the categories and vocabulary of Radical Orthodoxy daunting--all this talk of ontologies and participation and analogy--Milbank's text can be seen, I think, not so much as the generation of an abstruse philosophical apparatus, but as a discursive exposition of what must be the case ontologically (and the like) if we take Christian practices of forgiveness, worship, community, and so on to be normative.
Thus, part of the way we can approach Milbank in relation to issues of parish life and Christian formation, is to see the ways in which he explains and builds upon traditions of theological reflection (Augustine, Aquinas, etc.). But these very traditions, in turn, emerged from scripture and the events of redemption as they came to inform and be enacted within the liturgical, sacramental, and communal life and practices of the premodern church.
I think here, in particular, of the way in which Milbank suggests that Augustine's rethinking of time and evil as privation was disclosed within his own personal journey to Christ and the later re-narration of that in the Confessions in the form of prayer.
Since the premodern church stands in analogy to the (post)modern church, part of the question we can ask ourselves when reading Milbank is whether our present practices of parish life, liturgy, engaging scripture, and so on, would, upon reflection, bring us to similar conclusions about who God is and how God relates to the world in Christ and by the Spirit, in creation and redemption.
That's enough to begin. I'd like later to look at some of these suggestions in a bit more detail, engaging Milbank's text more closely, particularly the five aporias he presents regarding the (im)possibility of forgiveness. Fertile ground, that.Posted by joel garver at January 20, 2004 06:22 PM