Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Robert Jenson, in 1969, on the narrative character of personal identity

Before Hauerwas's "From System to Story" (1977) and MacIntyre's After Virtue (1981):

"There seems little doubt what criterion of personal identity the gospel proposes. If our true self is what we are not yet but will be, then the unity of our lives must be like that of the plot of a drama, it must be a dramatic coherence: a life coheres in the way it leads up to its conclusion, its resolution and denouement. This means, of course, that only from the end can I know who I am—that only if there is a resurrection can my identity be something I myself experience. Yet even during the course of life we can meaningfully predict that life will cohere, just as during the course of a play we can, moved perhaps by confidence in the playwright, predict that it will 'all work out' even though we are unable to predict what will happen to work it all out."

—Robert Jenson, God After God: The God of the Past and the God of the Future As Seen in the Work of Karl Barth (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1969, 2010), p. 163