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The Historical Christ and the Jesus of FaithThe Incarnational Narrative as History$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263975

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019826397X.001.0001

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Is the Incarnation Logically Possible?

Is the Incarnation Logically Possible?

Chapter:
(p.116) 6 Is the Incarnation Logically Possible?
Source:
The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith
Author(s):

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019826397X.003.0006

Previous chapters have argued that the historicity of the incarnational narrative matters and makes sense from various viewpoints, but none of these arguments has much weight if the events did not occur, or, if they did, it is impossible for us to have knowledge (or at least justified true belief) of them. If either of those conditions hold, then it would appear either that Christianity should be rejected, or that peace be made with the loss of the historicity of the narrative. To show that it is unnecessary to take either of these options it needs to be shown that the events did occur and that we can know or justifiably believe that they did occur; for practical purposes, these two tasks cannot be sharply distinguished. Showing that such knowledge is possible is not easy, and there are also substantial arguments that such knowledge is not even possible, several of which centre around the notion of special acts of God in history. The other type of argument against the possibility of such knowledge that is considered in this chapter, rests on the claim that the fundamental concept embedded in the narrative is logically incoherent. If the incarnational narrative embodies logical contradictions at central points then it cannot be a true, historical account. The defender of knowledge of the incarnational narrative must show that the narrative is logically coherent when considered in the traditional ontological manner, or at least that we are justified in believing that is coherent.

Keywords:   belief, coherence, events, historicity, incarnational narrative, incoherence, knowledge, logical coherence

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