A Musical Case For Typological Realism Part 1

The first of a four part series of mine presenting an argument for typological realism through the lens of the conceptual metaphor of music has just been published over on the Theopolis Institute.

Begbie takes the statement of Jacques Attali as a starting point for his project: “Music is more than an object of study: it is a way of perceiving the world. My intention is . . . not only to theorise about music, but to theorise through music.”[2] Begbie’s theological project is an attempt to propound the potential of music as a conceptual metaphor for theological reflection, demonstrating that much Christian truth will come into crisper focus when viewed through such a lens.

In particular, Begbie highlights the value of music for thinking about time. As human beings we find ourselves in a world shaped by many temporal patterns operating concurrently—the movement of the planets in their courses, the starting and ending of planetary epochs, the waxing and waning of empires, the creaturely movement from birth until death, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, weekday work and Sabbath rest, evening and morning, waking and sleeping, breath and heartbeat. The heavens, the earth, human societies, individual creatures, and our very bodies are deeply temporal—profoundly musical—realities.

Read the article here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian Experience, Creation, Guest Post, Hermeneutics, Liturgical Theology, Revelation, Sacramental Theology, Scripture, The Sacraments, Theological, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Musical Case For Typological Realism Part 1

  1. Paul Baxter says:

    Off topic: if I have a question to pose to Mere Fidelity, should I post it here? email it to you? send it somewhere else?

    (I’ve been catching up on the podcasts lately, and my minor nitpick is that Derek often says “send us your questions” but never specifies how to do so.)

  2. Jeremy Begbie. What a musician. I once helped move a piano for him.

    At first I didn’t notice the “1” in the title of this piece, and at the end thought to myself: “Man, he didn’t come close to making a case for typological realism.”

    I enjoyed everything you wrote. I look forward to seeing what you do with all of the pieces you were putting in place. When you were giving examples of architectural language used in conceptualizing our own thinking and you ended “etc., etc.” I found myself wondering if you actually had a number of other examples up your sleeve. The list seemed pretty thorough to me.

    Alastair, while I’m commenting, I’ll be passing through Durham this summer. Any recommendations?


    • There are three parts yet to come: this is only the introduction!

      There are many more examples of architectural imagery. For instance, we might speak of undermining someone’s position, or the compartmentalizing of our thinking. I’ll leave you to think of some other examples…

      The cathedral and the castle are really worth a visit if you are in Durham (I might even be working in the cathedral as a volunteer guide when you visit). If you are passing through Durham, drop me a line, and I can show you around a little.

      • I enjoyed part two; looking forward to three and four. Touché for coming up with more architectural imagery. I imagine thinking of examples of different metaphors made writing the article relatively fun.

        Careful. I might actually take you up on it, and reach out to you while I’m there. Though I’m realizing now that I’m not sure how I would do that, other than to comment in your most recent article.

  3. mnpetersen37 says:

    This looks like a very interesting series. My wife and I may have to read some of Begbie’s work–she’s a vocal performance major.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.