Chapter Six

Logic, language and experience

The logic of question and answer

The foregoing can be framed in terms of the logic of question and answer. Cartesian habits of imagination misrepresent questioning as the act of doubting a concept. However, in truth questioning finds its paradigm in lively encounter with the mystery of God. Here, searching and finding have their most lively, definitive meaning, and interanimate each other. This may subside into quieter forms of questioning: the questioning implicit in skilful performance ,and explicit theoretical questioning. Evasion (in the form both of dismissiveness and submissiveness) presents its own distorted logic of question and answer, which is engaged in redemption.

The logic of language: grammar and speech-acts

Cartesian habits of imagination also lead to a modern misrepresentation of language and symbolic action and their logic. Modern thinking posits a false contrary between (a) grammar and empirical content, and between (b) performative speech-act and statement. However, it is in radical responsiveness to God that these elements of language have their most lively, definitive meaning, in mutual interanimation. Once again, skilful knowledge, conceptual knowledge and evasion and redemption can be outlined in these terms.

The logic of metaphor and paradox

Religious metaphor and paradox cannot be grasped by cartesian habits of imagination. Their true character can be understood only by reference to radical responsiveness before God, when this is taken as paradigmatic knowledge. Their character in this encounter is explored in dialogue with the work of Donald Baillie and Ian Ramsey.


Knowledge of God is knowledge 'by acquaintance'; religious language mediates experience of God. However, cartesian habits of imagination misrepresent experience as subjective. The correction of this is explored in dialogue with P. T. Forsyth, Martin Buber, John Baillie and Denys Turner. Their proposals can be understood by reference to our account of encounter with God in radical responsiveness.


The logic of question and answer

The language of question and answer has run through much of what I have written in this chapter. Talk of clues and solutions have been prominent, as has talk of practical and theoretical questioning and exploration, appraisal, and talk of 'questions arising' in a logical hierarchy. Does our account of knowing in general, rooted in paradigmatic knowledge of God, offer an account of questioning in general?

Indeed it does. Questioning is comprehensive, with its paradigm in radical responsiveness. In Christian tradition, related to seeking; to 'longing'; to hope. And indeed the matter of questioning arises as comprehensively as does the matter of knowing - even though questions are less often explicit or indeed specifiable than is knowledge.1 We may put the matter thus: all knowing has a from-to character, and one way of thinking about this from-to character is to think of knowing as having the structure of question and answer.2

But such an account of question and answer will take us far outside the picture of these which is generated by cartesian habits of imagination. Just as our knowledge of God (once acknowledged as paradigmatic) yields an account of knowledge which differs from that which relies upon cartesian habits of imagination, so to our experience of questioning God yields an account of questioning which differs from the cartesian account. For cartesian habits of imagination, to question is to doubt the truth of a statement.3 To question a statement and to know it to be either true or false are held to be opposites. On this opposition is founded the apparatus of formal logic, its reasoning and proofs. However, in a more comprehensive setting, the relation between questioning and knowing is more varied than this, and eludes formal logic.4

The cartesian account of questioning, like that of knowledge, is not misleading within certain limits in matters of conceptual questioning and knowing. However, it cannot faithfully describe questioning and knowing as they arise more comprehensively. [? rooted in their most vital personal form in radical responsiveness]

This more comprehensive account must start with the experience of questioning and knowing God. As we saw in Chapter Four, this has a different logic from the cartesian idea of questioning as theoretical doubt. The same is true of all knowing insofar as it participates in the vitality of such knowledge; and this applies even to conceptual knowledge and reasoning itself in its actual practice. And it is different again in our exercise of skills, and in our evasion of knowledge. Let us sketch each of these in the light of what has preceded in this chapter.

Lively questioning and knowing. Knowledge of God is, we have seen, our most lively knowledge, in which clues and their solutions arise together in a most demanding act of personal self-disposal. Here questioning and our apprehension of answers interanimate each other as clues and solutions. Questions arise for us as a matter of response, but asking them - owning them, indwelling them - is, in the paradox of grace, a matter of self-disposal of a most lively personal kind. Such questioning constitutes our most radical enquiry, by the grace of God. Receptivity is receptivity to the merging of questions and answers in tacit knowledge from which the world is practically seen; appraisal is appraisal of answers to questions, as a matter of focal attention. Other kinds of knowledge in general arise as the vital interanimation between questions and answers subsides in one way or another.

Question and answer within the exercise of a skill The performance of a skill may be seen as a way of interrogating the world. To ride a bicycle is a continuous process of interrogation aimed at seeing the world from the viewpoint of successfully cycling. Here clue and solution, question and answer merge in tacit address of the world through a skilful performance. One way of explicating this is to consider the nature of the statement (uttered perhaps with gleeful pride by a child) 'watch me cycle: so!', where the cry 'so' accompanies a successful attempt to cycle. Here, the core statement 'I cycle' is not a report of something being done, but a verbal explication of my performance. In this sense it is a 'performative' statement.5

Question and answer within conceptual thinking In conceptual knowledge, the vital interanimation of question and answer subsides in such a way that the question of further receptivity to q and a arising together subsides into an established conceptual meaning, and the question which remains is one of critical judgement. In such an act of questioning, that upon which we rely (presuppositions, assumptions, conceptual meanings) is not questioned.

The original relation of question to answer, here where they emerge in distinction from each other, is one of logically antecedent and logically subsequent.[footnote on logical hierarchy] However, now this corresponds practically with question and answer co-existing in the same logical space established by presuppositions and meanings. this gives rise to categorical thinking...

and cartesian habits..

Question and answer in evasion:

(a) dismissal. Here the question is not truly asked, in a personal way; it is only theoretical. Here there is closure upon what is known; we live only by questions we can habitually ask and answer, as if this sufficed. Meanwhile we are haunted by a question which is essentially unanswerable.

(b) submission Here we take the 'essentially open, unanswerable question' into ourselves, in a paralysed 'search'. Our engagement with the world is no longer personal or integrating, but dis-integrated into impulsive, compulsive enactments of fusion of question and answer.

Redemption: Jesus holds the question open in extremis, resisting both premature assumption of fulfilment of question/seeking/hoping, and premature assumption of non-fulfilment of question/seeking/hoping. This is itself victory, in a practical form.

The logic of language

We have specified the 'from-to' character of knowing in a variety of terms. Some of these find expression in language. Thus we typically think of concepts as bearing linguistic labels, and questioning as involving the framing of a question in language. As Polanyi notes, the words of language are the most pregnant carriers of meaning. Now there are two pairs of terms widely used in the philosophy of language which can be incorporated into our account of the from-to character of knowing. The first arises when differentiation is made, within language, between 'grammar' and 'empirical content'; the second arises when differentiation is made between speech-acts ('performative' speech) and statements. Whereas cartesian habits of imagination tends to drive a wedge between the former and latter terms of each pair, in radical responsiveness they mutually interanimate each other in a most lively way, and all language can be understood by reference to this paradigm. Let us consider each in turn.

(a) grammar and empirical content (first define)

Cartesian habits of imagination prompt us to think of language as having a grammar which offers a way of framing the world. Having mastered this, we are in a position to turn to the world and use it in the world. However, when we learn our mother tongue, we do not first learn a language; rather, we learn about the world and in the process learn our mother tongue. It is true that, once we have mastered well our tongue, we can bring it to bear upon the world in a way which is often routine; however, this is a matter of vitality lapsing, not of moving beyond a transient stage. In the case of encounter with God, this always remains the case, and it is paradigmatic: it is in discernment of God that we find the grammar of our language unfolds ever more deeply.

(b) speech-acts and statements [first define: Austin, performatives and constatives, then locutionary and illocutionary force).

Here again, cartesian habits prompt us to think of speech-action as a subjective action, whereas statements aspire to speak of the world 'beyond subjectivity'. However, in the case of encounter with God, these two interanimate each other in a lively way. Our speech-action is lively without qualification, but it is responsive: we raise the question, but fundamentally it is rather raised for us by God's self-revelation. What we think of as autonomous actions arise from a deeper embedding in responsiveness to the good, calling for embodiment in good action (the purpose of action). It is in this way that our speech acts upon others, or rather, mediates the action of God by awakening radical responsiveness. [perhaps include Urmson here rather than earlier?]

[John MacMurray's arument for the primacy of the personal agent has an integral linguistic and symbolic dimension here. However, just as MacMurray wished that Kant started over again from his end-point in practical reason, so we would wish MacMurray start over again not from the individual personal agent but from the agency of God in which we participate in our liveliest act in communion with him and other people.

The logic of metaphor and paradox

Another linguistic embodiment of the from-to character of knowing is found in metaphorical speech. We think of such speech in general as referring to one thing in order to speak of another; technically we use one referent - the 'vehicle' - to indicate another - the 'tenor'. Now cartesian habits of imagination prompt us to drive a wedge between these two elements, and to understand metaphor as simile: a matter of subjectively comparing one thing with another. However, in radical responsiveness they mutually interanimate each other in a most lively way, and all metaphor may be understood by reference to this paradigm.

Janet Soskice has described well this character of metaphor in religious language. That which is known in the mutual interanimation of vehicle and tenor cannot be reduced to that known beforehand in what is now the 'tenor'. Thus metaphorical reference to God is a matter of 'irreducible' metaphor.6 'It is only by seeing that a metaphor has one true subject which tenor and vehicle conjointly depict and illumine that a full, interactive, or interanimative, theory is possible.' [p.47; enlarge, perhaps, with other material immediately following in P&P]

Now the 'irreducibility' of religious metaphor does not imply that only metaphorical language can refer to God. Rather, the property of 'irreducibility' is characteristic of all talk of God in its context; it is just that in the case of metaphor the context is specifiable in the form of vehicle. Thus, talk of God cannot be taken out of its context, which it engages and breaks open even though it may not be explicit; it relation to context is irreducible.

Another slant on religious metaphor is offered by William Alston. He approaches it via the familiar experience that metaphors can 'die': thus we refer in a routine and perhaps casual way to the leg of a table or the root of a problem without retaining an awareness of the original meaning of 'leg' or 'root' with its moment of illumination. In the case of religious metaphor, however, we have 'undying' metaphor: the vital interanimation of vehicle and tenor cannot be lost without us losing their intended referent7.

Once again, the 'undying' vitality of religious metaphor does not entail that only metaphorical language can refer to God. Rather, the property of 'vitality' is characteristic of all talk of God. And such vitality is not an affair secondary to language; rather it is present in the very acquisition of language in the first place, and metaphor functions to revive this [as do wonderlands - recall Chesterton's golden apples and rivers running with wine...)

Metaphors can be said to take a meaning and, by seeking it through another, open it up to renewal. [open us up to receptivity to new meaning, involving self-reference]

An extreme case of this is found in religious paradox. We have acknowledged throughout the present book that God draws us into personal knowledge of, and participation in, the mystery of himself. Now the character of God as mystery shows itself often in Christian faith in the form of explicit paradox. Central are the paradoxes of Trinitarian Doctrine, of The Incarnation, and of the cross as God's final victory. But to cartesian habits of imagination, such paradoxes are simply contradictions - the statement of two contradictory claims. How is religious paradox properly understood, by reference to radical responsiveness as paradigmatic knowledge of God?

A sketch of this will follow the same lines as that of metaphor. Paradox is a matter of attending from one pole to another.8 In encounter with God, the two poles interanimate each other within a disposition of radical responsiveness, and this interanimation is irreducible and essentially lively.

Crossan on sailing close to the wind.9

Again, as we have noted with respect to metaphor, the irreducibility of religious paradox does not entail that God can only be spoken of in explicit paradox; it is the from-to character of knowledge of God which is irreducible, and in a given case the former pole may be implicit. This is not to deny that if the former pole can be made explicit, the resulting explicated statement will turn out to be paradoxical.

Similarly, the 'undying' vitality of religious paradox does not entail that only paradoxical language possesses the required vitality to refer to God. Rather, all talk of God is vital, and this need not take the form of explicit paradox; it may speak of God in terms which find their paradigmatic meaning precisely in reference to him. Such is 'doxological' language.10

The practice of speaking in religious paradox confronts, more immediately than does speaking in religious metaphor, cartesian habits of imagination. It brings into the open the religious challenge either to dismiss religion as self-contradictory nonsense, or to allow religion to reveal unacknowledged assumptions on its own part and allow these to understood within a renewed world. Let us therefore dwell a little further on the matter of religious paradox. We shall do so by entering into in dialogue with two Christian authors who have written in terms relevant to this: Donald Baillie and Ian Ramsey.

In his classic work God was in Christ, , in Chapter Five, Donald Baillie turns his attention to the paradox of the incarnation. This, he writes is 'the supreme paradox'; 'But', he adds:

'this is not the only point at which we are beset with paradox in our Christian belief: this is rather the point at which the constant and ubiquitous paradox reaches; its peak... The mistake is not to assert the paradox in the doctrine of the Incarnation, but to miss the paradox everywhere else...'(p.l06-7)


'The reason why the element of paradox comes into all religious thought and statement is because God cannot be comprehended in any human words or in any categories of our finite thought. God can be known only in a direct personal relationship, an "I-and-Thou" intercourse, in which He addresses us and we respond to Him. As it has sometimes been put, God cannot legitimately be "objectified". ' (p.l08)

Baillie goes on to quote statements by Sergei Bulgakov about the mystery of God {critique these], then remarking:

'Father Bulgakov goes to the root of the matter when he says that while the mystery cannot be stated in words without contradiction, it is actualised and lived in religious experience, that is, in the direct faith-relationship towards God.' (p.l09)

Indeed the only justifiable paradox in theology, according to Baillie, is that which is experienced and lived within this relationship of faith:

'There is great danger in falling back too easily upon paradox in our religious thinking... there should always be a sense of tension between the two opposite sides of our paradoxes, driving us back to their source in our actual religious experience of faith... no paradox in theology can ever be justified unless it can be shown to spring from what H. R. Mackintosh called "the immediate utterances of faith"; for since a paradox is a self-contradicting statement, we simply do not know what it means or what we mean by it unless it has that direct connection with the faith which it attempts to express.' (p.ll0)

'Now it seems to me that Christian faith, when thought out, conceptualised, and put into human language, runs into paradox not only in the doctrine of the Incarnation, but at every vital point' - 'these paradoxes are peculiar to Christian theology, and distinguish it from the various dualisms and pantheisms which beset it on either side.... These paradoxes come of thinking out the religion of the incarnation.. (p110) Baillie demonstrates this in the cases of the doctrines of creation and of providence, before turning to 'the central paradox' pointing to the paradox of the incarnation:

'A far greater and deeper paradox than those which we have been considering lies at the very heart of the Christian life and vitally affects every part of it. It is what we may call the paradox of Grace.

Its essence lies in the conviction which a Christian man possesses, that every good thing in him, every good thing he does, is somehow not wrought by himself but by God. This is a highly paradoxical conviction, for in ascribing all to God it does not abrogate human personality nor disclaim personal responsibility. Never is human action more truly and fully personal, never does the agent feel more perfectly free, than in those moments of which he can say as a Christian that whatever good was in them -was not his but God's.' (p.114)

How respond? Baillie's book is a classic, and so deserves engagement. His recognition of the incarnation as the central paradox is vital, and we shall return to this later under 'the person'. His recognition of the paradox 'at every vital point' is important, and its relation to personal encounter with God, both echoed in our own reflections. However, in the light of these reflections, we want to clarify the nature of paradox, of encounter with God, and the relation between them. [paradox is not antinomy, but from-to [Crossan on sailing][footnote on contradiction, using Strawson: even this is from-to...]11

Again, language is not alien to direct experience, but explicates it, mediates it, and draws us into it (illustrate from Buber's 'you can only address him'].

Further exploration of the logic of religious language including religious paradox is offered by Ian Ramsey. Ramsey characterises religious language (following John Wisdom) as 'logically improper'. This reflects the fact that it is currency for the odd situation which religious people claim to speak about. This situation is marked by a characteristic discernment and commitment. In his book Religious Language, Ramsey describes such discernment as about 'perception and more', in which situations become distinctively different as when - to use range of metaphors - the light dawns, the ice breaks, the penny drops. This provokes, he says, a commitment to what is discerned which is at once total and comprehensive in scope. He compares this to the commitment we show when in conscience we yields to the claims of duty, and to the devotion which we show to persons, communities and nations to which we belong.

Ramsey goes on to illustrate the distinctive logical behaviour of religious language. He takes three groups of examples of such language. His third group of examples - comprising 'models' qualified in a 'logically odd way' - presents most explicitly the logical oddness of religious language, and for this reason (as he says himself) helps us most of all when we ask how oddly theological phrases use ordinary words. Let us therefore consider his account of this group of examples first.

[introduce 'qualified models']............. First cause, infinitely wise, infinitely good, creation ex nihilo, and eternal purpose. In each case, he demonstrates, we start with a familiar situation (represented by the 'model', and then qualify this in an odd (extreme?) way which leads us into another situation which lies beyond all such familiar situations and cannot be reduced to them, which talks about a mysterious situation which is 'what's seen, what talked about in familiar language, and more.'12

Ramsey takes two other groups of examples of religious language and teases out their odd logical behaviour in the same way: the attributes of negative theology, and attributes such as 'unity' and 'simplicity' which make a more positive language claim. Although, as Ramsey says, each group of examples displays a different logical behaviour from the others, they each function in their own way to evoke the discernment-commitment of the religious situation.

How respond? Ian Ramsey's account of religious language is pioneering, I believe, and has not been built upon as it deserves - perhaps partly because this demands the same difficult conversion from cartesian habits of imagination as is demanded by Michael Polanyi's work if its potential is to be decisively grasped. In the light of our own reflections, three responses:

First, his identification of the commitment-discernment character of the religious situation parallels our own identification of the poles of receptivity and judgement in encounter with God. in particular, the 'penny dropping' reflects well the liveliness of knowledge of God. However, response of commitment isn't secondary upon penny dropping. Rather, it is already there. By paradox of grace, lively discernment is a response, reflecting passion given. This is hinted at by Ramsey's acknowledgement that 'whether light breaks or not is something that we ourselves cannot entirely control... that would be semantic magic.' And he asks 'is not this only what has been meant by religious people when they have claimed that the 'initiative' in any 'disclosure' or 'revelation' must come from God?'13 And as it involves openness, so it continues: the penny doesn't drop and rest. The liveliness of disclosure cannot subside. There can only be indeterminate waiting.

Second, his account of the logical behaviour of religious language parallels our own description of the irreducible from-to character of knowledge of God. This is apparent as he explains this behaviour by leading us from a 'model', by means of a qualifier, to the situation in which God is disclosed. It is not a contradiction/antinomy.

However, our own reflections shed further light on what is happening here, as follows. The model from which we start is typically a familiar concept. Every routine qualification of the model presupposes this concept (more precisely: presupposes our apprehension of this concept, as a 'way of seeing'). When the qualifier works to point us beyond every routine apprehension of its occurrence, until a 'sense of the unseen' or a 'sense of mystery' dawns, we would say that it revives the question of the meaning of the model in the first place. That is to say, the question 'is this a cause?' presupposes a meaningful conception - 'cause' - such that the question arises 'is this a cause?'. However, a qualified model opens up the question 'what is a cause in the first place?', which we address in radical responsiveness. It awakens us to self-involvement and self-reference. This further elucidates Ramsey's point that disclosure claims for 'God' a distinctive logical place presiding over all language of cause. It is not that we need to be led to this odd situation from one which is not odd; rather, our 'routine' situation is provisional and problematic; the 'religious situation' is about awareness of our actual situation.

Third, accordingly, the account which Ramsey offers of the distinctively religious situation and of religious language is not to be understood as a second-order, observational account of something within a wider world, so to speak. Rather, it testifies to what is primary. The characteristics of religious language are themselves known in responsiveness or critical receptivity through it. Ramsey's own language belongs inescapably to such testimony. The expression 'logically odd' is itself logically odd; it is a qualified model, in which the qualifier 'odd' leads us beyond what is logical in a odd way evoking a religious situation. Similarly, the expression 'qualified model' is itself logically odd; it is itself a qualified model, in which the qualifier 'qualified' lead us beyond all instances of the 'model' in an odd way evoking a religious situation. It is not clear that Ramsey was self-aware of this. We need to draw attention to it, in order to further honour the paradigmatic nature of religious knowledge.

[....the present account of knowing clarifies the sense in which these qualifiers are properly to be understood. And they point beyond themselves (we have to look with them to see their meaning), they are enacted, and they are responsive.]


Knowledge of God is knowledge 'by acquaintance'; religious language mediates experience of God. However, cartesian habits of imagination misrepresent experience as subjective. The correction of this is explored in dialogue with P. T. Forsyth, Martin Buber, John Baillie and Denys Turner. Their proposals can be understood by reference to our account of encounter with God in radical responsiveness.

1 The key point is that, just as our grasp of the nature of knowledge must incorporate practical knowledge, so our grasp of questioning must understand the nature of practical questioning. The comprehensive place of questioning was recognised by R. G. Collingwood, who made this foundational for his philosophical proposals. He urged the principle 'that a body of knowledge consists not only of "propositions", "statements", "judgements", or whatever name logicians use in order to designate assertive acts of thought (or what in those acts is asserted: for "knowledge" means both the activity of knowing and what is known), but of these together with the questions they are meant to answer; and that a logic in which the answers are attended to and questions neglected in a false logic'. (R. G. Collingwood, An Autobiography, 1939, p. 30). Collingwood is referred to by Hans-Georg Gadamer who urges 'the hermeneutical priority of the question'. 'The structure of the question is implicit in all experience', he writes (Gadamer, Truth and Method, 1975, p. 325). In response to the spoken word, 'the person who seeks to understand must question what lies behind what it said. He must understand it as an answer to a question' (ibid, p. 333). [Strawson?]; illustrate from statue, architecture, natural selection (cactus)

2 Strictly, I am choosing 'from question to answer' as one characterisation of the from-to character of knowing, like 'from meaning to truth' or 'from referent to proposition'. I am not adopting it as an essential characterisation. Thus I allow that a question may be a matter of our focal attention, and equally that we may rely in our subsidiary awareness upon an answer.

3 The cartesian idea of questioning takes the experience of conceptual knowing and of questioning by reference to this, and counts its paradigmatic for all knowing and questioning. We may understand the historical setting of cartesianism, firstly, by reference to the setting of rapidly changing medieval society and in particular the failure of what was most deeply trusted to be trustworthy: the church and its doctrines. (quote Gadamer) However, it was misguided in (1) imagining to be able to leave behind trust in favour of certain knowledge, and (2) failing to grasp that the experience of trust let down did not invalidate trust in God, but rather purify what it means to trust in God: it does not mean to trust in a sacral culture and cosmos supposedly upheld by God in a particular, immediate way. Trust in God involves more costly exploration of what it means to be radically responsive to a personal, sovereign God who works within and changes the world.

4 Thus when John Wisdom investigates the 'logic of God', he writes: '.....' I do not see this as providing a mandate to set aside matters of formal logic as irrelevant to faith, however. Rather, I believe we can provide a more comprehensive account of logic rooted in our encounter with God. We can take seriously the concerns of logical empiricism and not dismiss them, while exposing challenging their presuppositions by reference to a more comprehensive framework of understanding rooted in radical responsiveness.

5 J...Urmson's definition of a 'parenthetic verb' would seem to extend to this. Just as the verb 'know' in the statement 'there are, I know, many people who choose not to own a television' is not a report about an act of knowing but about.. so 'watch me cycle: so!' is not a report about an act of cycling but about imaginative 'owning' the cycling itself.

6 Janet Soskice, Metaphor and Religious Language,

7 William Alston, .......

8 This is expressed, for example by Pannenberg when he writes: 'Jesus' unity with god is not to be conceived as a unification of two substances, but as this man Jesus is God'. (Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus God and Man, (eng) SCM Press, 1964, p. 283.

9 John Dominic Crossan offers this as a parable for religion in The Dark Interval. We might note that he presents here a truer grasp of the nature of religious language than he does in his more well known parable for religious language and in particular what has happened to the classical paradigm:

'Once upon a time there were people who lived on rafts upon the sea. The rafts were constructed of materials from the land whence they had come. On this land was a lighthouse in which there was a lighthouse keeper. No matter where the rafts were, and even if the people had no idea where they actually were, the keeper always knew their whereabouts. There was even communication between people and keeper so that in an absolute emergency they could always be guided safely home to land.'

But now, Crossan proposes,

'…there is no lighthouse keeper. There is no lighthouse. There is no dry land. There are only people living on rafts made from their own imaginations. And there is the sea… One moment. If there are only rafts and these rafts are really language itself, what is this sea which is 'outside' language because it is beyond the raft? Maybe there is no sea either? If there is only language, then God must be either inside language and in that case... an idol; or he is outside language, and there is nothing out there but silence. There is only one possibility left, and that is what we experience in the movement of the raft, in the breaks in the rafts structure, and, above all, what can be experienced on the edges of the raft itself. For we cannot really talk of the sea, we can only talk of the edges of the raft and what happens where'.

His comparison of language with a raft leaves us back in a cartesian account of conceptual meaning, rather than one in which our linguistic experience is revived in encounter with God.

10 Ninian Smart, Pannenberg (analogy and doxology) Also (perhaps) refer to the engagement with Platonism implied here - when doxology loses its paradox it becomes like those 'pure forms'... C. S. Lewis....

11 contradiction has a from-to character: it is about stating something, then denying it, and the denial effects the contradiction (P. F. StrawsonX). And again, this is not adequately described in terms of looking between two opposed statements, but from one to the other.

12 Ian Ramsey, Religious Language, SCM Press, London 1957, p.62.

13 Religious Language, p. 79