Wednesday 14 October 2009

On Don Cupitt

The next St Mary's Barton-upon-Humber In Depth Group paper is ready. It about the phases and biography of Don Cupitt. The reason it is ready early is because of other things to write and because I wanted to send it to Don Cupitt on paper by post (which I have - slight changes made since!) in that I wanted to offer the possibility of a contribution towards his 'projet fleuve', and so he can see where I am coming from.

It is a critical piece, despite coming to pretty similar conclusions myself as he has. The negative criticisms are my remembering what he wrote in 1989 about weak liberal Churches and yet his 'first truly radical Church' sounded like just one of those - and now in 2009 he has gravitated to one of those existing ones, namely the Society of Friends. Basically, you can choose your denomination. Other negative criticisms are the absence of social science and anthropological material that would firm up some of his conclusions (much centres around the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sociology of Religion) and that his writing has involved much repetition even when moving on, the moving on often being a part of a book.

My theology and sociology background have brought me pretty much to his position, in that I cannot nor want to believe what is implied in Anglican 'promises', plus the encouragement of the Church of England and wider Anglicanism itself with its unethical stances regarding classes of people (as a start). Obviously I still knock around locally but I stopped participating in the Eucharist and I do think that's it now on that one.

Don Cupitt in the Macfarlane interview notes himself that what looked like change begins to look similar, at least viewing each end. It is why I think he has moved from non-realism. Clearly there are the same philosophical and non-empiricist points, but so there are with many people who are semi-realists or critical-realists. The reason why I say this is that Cupitt insists upon the main secular narratives and not any old tosh that people can believe, and secondly his latest Jesus and Philosophy book by all impressions (before I get to see it) looks like a return to doing history, which previously was lost into multiple Jesuses in multiple texts - an insistence on which he would now call 'puritanical'! Now we are back to that last days rabbi, and Cupitt uses the Jesus Seminar as his guide. So as he pulls away from the formerly normative Western Churches that he thinks will go the way of the Russian Church, he writes a book about Jesus.

So here is the website version of my paper which will be discussed next Tuesday.

No comments: